Monday, August 6, 2012

Mt. Lassen Peak

In 2008, a collapse of rocks led to the death of a nine year old boy on the Mt. Lassen Peak Trail.  Since that time it has been essentially closed while it undergoes a reconstruction.   Until the work is complete, the entire trail is only open of a few days each year - check the website for details.  The trail should be fully open in 2015.
The Lassen Peak Trailhead

The vehicle entrance fee is $10.00.

It is only open for three short periods this year.  My nine year old son and I climbed the peak on August 5, 2012.  We saw a number of families on the trail with kids of all ages, including an 18 month old carried in a backpack.  My son led the pace and needed to numerous short breaks, but he did fine climbing to the edge of the caldera.  We decided not to climb the scree covered pinnacle, as the day was ending.

The round trip distance is five miles and there is a 2000 elevation gain to the summit at 10,457 feet.  At this altitude there is 69% of the oxygen available at sea level according to

On Sunday, August 5, we left Sacramento at about 10:45 a.m. and hit the trail at 2:45 p.m.  It took us four hours and 40 minutes to complete the hike up and back.    The NPS notes that you should allow four to five hours to complete the hike. 
Section of the trail showing new work.  
View of the peak, with smoke from the Lassen fire in background

We set up camp that night at about 8:00 p.m. and it was getting dark.

The two closest campgrounds to the Lassen Peak Trail are Summit Lake and Southwest.  Southwest is a walk-in only campground with only 20 spaces.  We previously reserved a space at the Summit Lake campgrounds, which has a very attractive lake.  The north side campgrounds have flush toilets and south south side has pit toilets).  Cost a this campsite was $16.00 a night paid through

The next morning we hiked the Bumpass Hell Trail and went back home.  Plan to spend about three hours on this trail.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Training Hill to Cool - ASRA

On April 14, 2012, I did a nine mile loop from Training Hill (Pointed Rocks Trail) to Olmstead loop to the small town of Cool.  The trail ends at the Knickerbocker Trailhead parking lot.   I had and "endless" salad bar lunch at American River Pizza and Grill.  The salad was fresh and I would stop there again.

See this printable map
The green grass of spring.

Lots of spring runoff
The small town of Cool. 


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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Redbud Trail - Cache Creek Canyon BLM

The Redbud Trail hike was listed in the November 2010 issue of Backerpacker Magazine as a great hike out of Sacramento.  Local hiking clubs were asked for their hiking recommendations and Alan from the Sacramento Hiking Meetup offered up this trail  along Cache Creek Canyon.   Alan led the Meetup hike I attended on January 28, 2012.  

A view of erosion that looked like the product of strip mining.
The highlight of the hike was seeing migrating Bald Eagles fly above the canyon. When Alan led the hike on the previous week, they saw none, so we were lucky.  A birder who was along on the hike confirmed three sightings of immature Bald Eagles, which do not have white heads.  From the distance I saw them, they were clearly large raptors.  The weather was perfect.  This trail is too hot in the summer and in the spring the creek can rise to an uncrossable level.  

A migrating immature Bald Eagle in the distance.

Approaching Cache Creek on the return.

The drive is pretty straightforward from Sacramento.  Take I-5 North to Highway 20.  When you get to Williams, turn left on Highway 20.  After 31 miles, you will pass over a bridge and immediately see a sign on the left that reads Cache Creek Management Area. 

View Larger Map

Crossing in the spring can raise the creek 5 feet higher.  
The Bureau of Land Management controls the land.  They have a webpage with a map of the Rosebud Trail and a link with additional maps for the Cache Creek Natural Area.  There is a parking area with two pit toilets.  A small display stand give some cultural and natural history information about the area.  The trail is well marked down to the creek.  Crossing the creek can be difficult in the spring, but with the recent lack of rain, it was easy to cross across stones and a couple of downed logs.  I did bring water shoes in my pack, and used them to cross, but did not use them on the return.

There are multiple paths after crossing the creek.  This is where our experienced guide was useful.  The map didn't seem to show these multiple branches and there was no clear trail markings.