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Cluster Lakes, Lassen Volcanic National Park

Whether you measure your lakes by quality or quantity, this hike's a winner either way.

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Rating: 4 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 11 miles
Duration: Full day

Overview:  Located four hours north east of San Francisco this Northern California park might be a little out of the way, but it’s a prime... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Trailhead & Summit Lake

The trailhead for this hike is also the location of some great camping opportunities in the park. Summit Lake campgrounds are located right in the middle of Lassen Volcanic National Park and a good place to base your visit to this area.

The hike begins on the north side of Summit lake where you'll find kids from the nearby campground frolicking ... More

2. Junction

Time to make a decision. If we had to choose, we'd say take the trail to the right because you'll soon be happening across lake upon lake, each different than the last and each worthy of a little admiration.

Not that there's anything wrong with the left hand route which takes you on a clockwise journey around this loop trail.

3. Echo Lake

The first of many lakes, which are so numerous that we can't even find names for all of them. Echo Lake is worthy of a name, and we assume that it was give its name because of the small yet steep-sided valley in which it resides.

The trail continues on past at least a couple more anonymous lakes and pools before arriving at Upper Twin Lake.

4. [JCT] Upper Twin Lake

Upon reaching a junction take the path which follows the Northern rim of Upper Twin Lake.

5. [JCT] Lower Twin Lake

You might get a sense of deja-vu when you approach Lower Twin Lake. Another junction, and another decision to follow the North side of the lake - a lake which looks eerily similar to the lake you just left behind you. I guess that's why they call these the twin lakes.

6. [JCT] Pacific Crest Trail

Crossing the wetlands at the north side of Lower Twin Lake brings you to a junction with the Pacific Crest Trail. Head North on the PCT for a short while.

7. [JCT] Leave the PCT

Take the left-hand fork at the signpost towards feather lake, and off the Pacific Coast Trail.

8. Feather Lake

Another mile, another lake! Feather lake's on the small side, so if you're thinking of taking a dip in the waters we suggest holding off for the next lake.

9. Silver Lake

This wide, clear lake is also relatively shallow - making it a perfect place to cool off.

10. [JCT] Return Loop

Assuming you're taking the counter-clockwise route around this trail, you'll want to bear left at this junction.

The pine shaded trail that you've been hiking through continues on the return loop, though becoming a little thin at times.

Also much of the hike has been very flat and level up until this point, and from this point you're going to be... More

11. Big Bear Lake

Log-jams choke up parts of Big Bear Lake. I'd give swimming here a miss if I were you.

12. Little Bear Lake

Little Bear Lake is the last lake you'll be seeing for some time, as after this you head for the uphill scramble up old lava beds which once spewed from the caldera of nearby Hat Mountain.

13. Lake (Anon)

The final lake on the counter-clockwise tour of Lassen's Cluster lakes, sited in a depression in the terrain gives you a great vantage point to appreciate it from.

After this lake, proceed downhill through the thin pine forest. Watch out for some great peek-a-boo views of Lassen Peak on your right.