Lassen Volcanic National Park is one of the least visited of California’s nine national parks, especially for people in Southern California. I hadn’t gotten a chance to spend much time there myself, so when my friend Wendy from Wild Beginning Adventure Company invited my wife and me to explore for three days, we jumped at the chance. Her company leads guided trips in Lassen National Park and the Trinity Alps, and she has decades of hiking experience, so if you are looking for a guided backpack trip to the area, this is a good choice. Here is what we did on during our three days.
After spending the night in Red Bluff, we woke up and drove into the park, meeting Wendy at noon and getting all our gear ready for backpacking. Wendy provides all of the equipment except for clothes, so we pretty much just showed up and packed up our stuff with the gear she brought. Our packs ended up being around 30 pounds with everything we needed for the two days, including food (we all split the weight of the food).
From there, we caravaned to the King’s Creek and set out on the 3 mile trail to Sifford Lakes.
The hike was a great way to get an introduction into backpacking as it was only three miles, and it was mostly downhill, but it still felt very remote when you got to the campsite. We picked a spot between four of the lakes, with some tree cover, and set up camp. *Wendy had already gotten permits for this.
One of the best things about Wendy’s company is that she takes the backcountry cooking seriously. We ate so well while we were at camp, with everything from pancakes in the morning to pasta at night, it made the backpacking experience a lot more relaxing.
After setting up camp, we spent the rest of the day exploring the Sifford Lakes area, eating dinner, and photographing sunset before hanging out in our tents and relaxing until going to sleep, ending our first day in the park.
We woke early with Wendy delivering us coffee in our tent, how do you beat that?? Then ate breakfast and set out from camp back to the main road. This trip was initially designed by Wendy to take down the two tallest summits in the park. I had hurt my ankle previously though, so we had to modify it and only do one.
From the road, we got in the car and headed to Lassen Peak’s trailhead. It was a 5 mile and 2,000 foot hike to get to the summit of this impressive mountain. It is one of my favorite, approachable day hikes in California, and you can read more about it here.
After making it back down, we headed over to Helen Lake to eat the lunch that Wendy brought of crackers, cheese, and meat. It was a great way to celebrate our summit and relax with such a fantastic view.
From there, we spent the rest of the day stopping at a few more places to do photography before hiking back to our campsite, completing an around 8 mile day.
Wendy made a fantastic dinner once again of a pasta, bean soup, and we headed to bed after drinking hot chocolate and hanging out.
For our last day in the park with woke with coffee again, which was nice after a cold night of rain and wind.
After packing up the camp, we hiked all of our gear back out to the car and said goodbye to Wendy so we could start our way back to Southern California.
Here is a video I made of the trip as well.
If you want to get into backpacking, then you really should consider going on a trip with Wild Beginnings Adventure Company; everything from the food to the gear is top-notch, and you can find more about it here. It is not just for beginners though, as Wendy has a lot of more intense hikes as well. Check it out and see more of my favorite spots to explore in Lassen National Park here.