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Lassen

The Lassen National Forest lies at the heart of one of the most fascinating areas of California, called the Crossroads. Here the granite of the Sierra Nevada, the lava of the Cascades and the Modoc Plateau, and the sagebrush of the Great Basin meet and blend.

Within the Lassen National Forest you can explore a lava tube or the land of Ishi, the last survivor of the Yahi Yana Native American tribe. Watch wildlife as pronghorn antelope glide across sage flats or osprey snatch fish from lake waters. Drive four-wheel trails into high granite country appointed with sapphire lakes or discover spring wildflowers on foot.

The Lassen National Forest offers a wide array of recreational opportunities and adventures. Fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, bicycling, boating, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and exploring and learning about nature are among the many popular pastimes.

Lassen National Forest offers a number of recreation facilities designed with accessibility in mind for persons with disabilities. Accessible fishing piers, paved trails, specially designed campsites, and accessible picnic tables are all available.

With its varied terrain, dozens of lakes, scenic vistas and numerous trailheads, Lassen National Forest is a hiking, backpacking and equestrian paradise. The Forest has an extensive trail system for winter and summer activities.

As snow blankets the Forest, wintertime adventures are open to all: snowmobiling over miles and miles of groomed trails, cross-country skiing through open forests, downhill skiing on volunteer-operated Stover Mountain, and just plain old-fashion fun in the snow.

Lake Almanor is located in a scenic mountain setting near the town of Chester. At 75 square miles, Lake Almanor is one of the largest man-made lakes in California.

The five-mile long Eagle Lake Trail is ideal for bicycles or just an easy pleasant stroll. Framed by a canopy of pine trees, Eagle Lake is known for its trophy trout averaging three to five pounds.

The Lassen is home to three: Ishi, Caribou, Ten Thousand Lakes.

The Ishi Wilderness is characterized by basaltic outcroppings, caves, and bizarre pillar lava formations. Unique to this area are the pineries, dense islands of ponderosa pine growing on terraces left after rivers cut the canyons.

The Caribou Wilderness is a gentle, rolling, forested plateau with many forest fringed lakes. Reminders of volcanic and glacial origin can be seen throughout these wildlands. Caribou Peaks, Black Cinder Rock, and Red Cinder are points of interest.

Volcanic and glacial formations, rocky ravines, mountain slopes, open meadows, and stands of lodgepole pine and red fir define the Ten Thousand Lakes Wilderness. It is dominated by 8,677 foot Crater Peak, the highest point on the Lassen National Forest, and is a reminder of the glacial action that eroded Thousand Lakes Volcano and created the many small lakes and ponds scattered throughout. The lowest point in the Wilderness occurs at the base of the volcano at 5,546 feet.

Spend the night at McCarthy Point Lookout, which was constructed in 1936 by the Conservation Corps. It was used as an observation point for detecting fires from 1937 to the mid 1960s. McCarthy Point is approximately 3,600 feet above sea level and is located in a very remote area of the Lassen National Forest.

With the advent of World War II, lookout personnel were trained to spot aircraft in addition to watching for fires. This war time occupation was part of the Aircraft Warning Service (AWS), which organized aircraft spotters all along the West coast. This was a regular lookout function until the end of the war.

First-timer’s Adventure

Visit the Hat Creek Area and enjoy the vantage from Hat Creek Rim Overlook. A heritage of the Hat Creek area's past, the Overlook offers magnificent views of Hat Creek Valley, Lassen Peak, Burney Mountain, and, further away, Mt. Shasta.

Nearly 1 million years ago, active faulting gradually dropped a block of the Earth's crust (now Hat Creek Valley) 1,000 feet below the top of the Hat Creek Rim, leaving behind this large fault scarp. This fault system is still alive and cracking.

If you visit between May and October, explore the Subway Cave, an underground cave formed by flowing lava. The lava tube tour is self-guided and the walk is 1/3 mile long. Bring a lantern or strong flashlight as the cave does not have lighting.

Statistics

State(s):

California

Nearest Large Urban Area:

San Francisco

Notes & Conditions:

Research campground locations and amenities at the U.S. National Forest Campground Directory. The Web site is full of pictures and detailed descriptions to help you plan your next trip.

If you want to experience a guided recreation trip in a National Forest, visit Adventure Vacation to learn about whitewater rafting, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, camping, hiking and fishing trips.

Maps:

Visit the National Forest Store to see what maps are available for this Forest and others you may want to visit.