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Crags Lake - Not!

Lassen Volcanic National Park

July 16th, 2013

4.1 miles
920 vertical feet
Total Time: 2:36

Starting elevation
5927 feet
Max elevation
6750 feet

Rating: 6/10

Directions: From Redding, take Highway 44 east to Highway 89. Turn right onto Highway 89 and enter Lassen Volcanic National Park (there is an entrance fee). Less than a mile later, just past the Loomis Museum, turn right toward the campground. Before you reach the boat area or store, turn left into the gravel pullout on the left as the road bends right. There is a small trailhead sign here, with space for about 4 or 5 cars.   View Driving Map

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GPX File

There was only one other car at the trailhead when we started, and that guy was headed elsewhere. So we pretty much had the trail to ourselves. The trail starts out flat, in the open, but soon enters the forest and starts a very gradual climb. The trail climbs to about 800 feet higher than the trailhead, but it's spread out over 2 miles.

Start of the trail

After climbing about 180 feet, the trail dips about 60 feet before climbing from there to the top. Along the way, we passed through an area of forest damaged from a previous forest fire. The forest then begins to open up as it climbs higher.

Through a burned area

Through a burned area

Hiking up toward Chaos Crags

After about 2 miles, we reached the top and crossed over the ridge looking forward to seeing the lake. We saw a hiker sitting on a rock in front of us, and we asked him where the lake was. "That's a good question," he said. It turns out that the lake was completely dried up. I had read that it often dried up in September, but I figured it would be ok in mid-July. Unfortunately, it had been a very dry winter and the lake was already gone.

Chaos Crags

Crags Lake would normally be right there at the bottom

We found a place to settle down and have lunch. At least we had good views of Chaos Crags rising above where the lake would be below us. We were obviously a bit disappointed, but it wasn't a tough hike. After lunch, we headed back down and were quickly back at the trailhead.

View from the trail

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