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.

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