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Totally worth the drive

I camped at Juniper Lake twice with my sister, who just passed away from cancer. What cherished... read more

Reviewed July 20, 2017
TravelingMomAndKid
,
San Francisco Bay Area
Beautiful Juniper Lake

We saw Juniper Lake when he hiked Mt. Harkness a few months ago. We saw Juniper Lake while at the... read more

Reviewed October 11, 2016
Evelyn C
via mobile
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All reviews the north end short hike day trip washboard shore sites chester drive lake road campground
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Reviewed September 7, 2017

Juniper is a fairly large lake contained in Lassen National Park, but I always thought is was fairly uninspiring. There's a swimming beach on the north end, but the waters are very shallow and you must wade out quite a bit before you can swim. The campground on the south shore has seen better days---why the Park Service fails to improve the road is a mystery to me. If you want a remote, lakeside campground with few people but still inside the park, then this is the lake for you.

3  Thank Terre2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 20, 2017

I camped at Juniper Lake twice with my sister, who just passed away from cancer. What cherished memories!

The lake is so beautiful and quiet (no motor boats) and the location is just beautiful. I normally require potable water and showers, but this site is an exception because of the serenity.

All sites are a short walk to the water (some are right on the water, depending on the water level at the time), and most sites are roomy. There isn't a lot of privacy between the site, but one of the times we were there, many sites were empty. (The other time, we got the last site available!). Vault toilets are nasty, but what else is new? The toilet up by the ranger station is clean and nice, and might be worth the drive to you.

Don't miss the short/steep hike to Crystal Lake. After you arrive, a dip in the lake is a welcome refreshment. And an easy, short hike leads you to a wonderful panorama.

When they say "no potable water," they mean no running water at all. We brought several multi-gallon containers and were fine. On a 5-day trip, we made one trip out to Chester to buy more ice. Not bad!

My sister did the hike around the lake and declared it beautiful. (I had a little too much altitude sickness to be able to do it.)

The road in is really rough--rutted, washboard, graveled--and you'll drive 5mph at times. Just get zen and let go. It's worth it.

2  Thank TravelingMomAndKid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 11, 2016 via mobile

We saw Juniper Lake when he hiked Mt. Harkness a few months ago. We saw Juniper Lake while at the Look-out looking down. It was decided that we would hike down and visit the lake. It was beautiful and we vowed to come back to camp. And we did. Beautiful campsite by the lake with a view of the tip of Mt. Lassen. We camped, kayaked and hiked Mt. Harkness again. Will go back.

1  Thank Evelyn C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 19, 2016

We visited the primitive camp site last summer soon after opening and spent two nights. It was difficult to find a camp site even at noon on a Friday; this place is not "secret" and the long rough drive doesn't seem to deter many people. The pit toilets were not clean - apparently the rowdy campers seemed to "miss" the target frequently. Definitely take something to wash your shoes off with when you leave the toilet. Quite a bit of garbage lying around, too. We ended up in the only vacant camp site next to a large family that brought every conceivable Walmart camping gadget that exists, as well as scooters, bicycles, and water guns. Not a pleasant camping trip.
On the good side, although the lake itself was very low, the hiking trails were fantastic - they ranged from moderate to difficult and we were able to hike in a large loop with a pretty steep elevation change. Very pretty, not too many bugs, and the loop trail took 4-5 hours.

1  Thank Annette Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 6, 2016

I was not able to spend much time here. My plan is to add Juniper Lake to my "visit again" list. The blue lake against the blue sky was a memory worth a repeat when I have more time.

Thank Shirley G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2015

To get to Juniper Lake, be prepared. The last 7 miles of the road are unpaved. There is one stretch in the middle that is really bad. Even though I have a SUV, I almost turned around. These kind of roads are hard on the nerves. I'm glad I didn't. Juniper Lake is the biggest lake in the park. Nice big beautiful blue lake. Campground on the south end. Day use area at the end of the park road on the north end. There are trails you can take, but this was a peace and quiet day. We did end up walking more than expected just to get our feet in the water. Because of the ongoing drought in California, even these high mountain lakes are lower than usual. Bit strange seeing kayakers have to drive their car out to the shoreline a bit just to save steps from carrying their craft. Still very pretty though. Not sure I would do go out again just because of that one stretch of road. Worth the effort though for first timers.

6  Thank Rainier72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 13, 2015

The road getting to this place is a mess - gravel and lots of ruts and washboard. We weren't sure our Prius would make it, but we persevered. We stayed in campsite 2 which has a beautiful view of a meadow overlooking the lake, but isn't as close to the lake as other sites that we would have liked to go to. However, we encountered a flooded camp road leading to those sites and we didn't think the ol' Prius was up to the wading challenge.

In any event, the lake is warm and beautiful, with spectacular vistas, and the campsite is uncrowded - at least when we were there, which probably had something to do with the recent rains up there. 18 sites, first-come first-serve. No running water; bring a filter. Clean pit toilets.

Take the hike up to the fire lookout station on top of Mt. Harkness. Dave, the lookout guy, was extremely hospitable to us, showing us how he did his job and taking pictures of us. He's a true service to the forest service.

3  Thank Julian C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 24, 2014

we were staying at chester and tried to get to juniper lake, knowingly that it's an unpaved road, but we didn't think it will be that rough. we drove with our Toyota corolla for about 7 miles in the unpaved road (5 more miles to go) before we decided that it's too much, and we might get stuck there. I wish I had a review about the lake to share but didn't get there.

7  Thank amiroi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 4, 2013

It's slow to get here but worth the drive. As soon as you leave the town of Chester, you drive on unpaved road the whole time. When we were there during the Labor Day weekend, we drove through heavy fog and light rain and we weren't sure if it was worth it to continue. By the time we got to the lake, he sun was out. The lake itself is beautiful but the short hike to Inspiration Point was quite memorable. You can see Mt Lassen, Juniper Lake and Mt Shasta at a distance.

4  Thank rickemmanuel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 2, 2013

We were staying at Drakesbad Guest Ranch and made the morning drive along the washboard road to Juniper Lake. A lovely view of Lassen Peak and quiet spot to explore.

1  Thank CindyandJohn90503
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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