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At the end of the trail....

Russell Virgilio
Monday, March 29, 2010

Sometimes, the best aspects of a national park are found at the end of the trail. That's the case with Cliff Lake in Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Head down the trail to Cliff Lake and you'll encounter two others, Terrace and Shadow lakes. You'll find the trailhead 9 miles north from the park's southwest entrance on the park road, and 21 miles south from the northwest entrance.

Here's the park's description of this shimmering trio:

These three jewels lie in cirques under the north base of Reading Peak, and are not difficult to reach. For the photographer they present plenty of contrasting colors, for the naturalist a variety of trees, flowers, birds, and animal life.

From the sign at the highway the trail descends rapidly. The trail forks after 0.2 of a mile, the left fork going to Hat Lake and the right fork to Terrace Lake. After Terrace Lake the trail passes along the shore of Shadow Lake, and then through open woods and meadows for over a half mile to the Cliff Lake junction. The branch trail goes towards Reading Peak through a meadow and over a low moraine to Cliff Lake.

Because this trail starts at a high elevation and is largely on the north slopes it is not free from snow as early as many trails in the park.

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