There are still trails in Lassen I haven’t hiked, including this one to Mill Creeks Falls. When a friend called with an invite I said YES!
I’d seen photos of the falls before and knew they weren’t WOWtastic but I figured with it being early season, they’d be at peak. What I wasn’t expected was to find peak blooms of Woolly mule’s ears and Arrow leaved balsamroot.
I have a hard time telling them apart in photos. In person I know the mule’s ears have soft and fuzzy leaves. My botany friend told me these in the photo below are Arrow leaved balsamroot.
Bleeding hearts and stickweed (NOT hounds tongue as I incorrectly assumed) were also in abundance.
California Stickweed (Hackelia californica). There was a lot. Initially I thought it was popcorn flower but looking closer I was sure it was the white version of hounds tongue. But I was wrong on that count also.
First view of Mill Creek Falls with a little paintbrush in the foreground.
Mill Creek Falls, much more impressive in person than this photo shows. According to my guidebook “this is a 75-foot drop and it’s the tallest in Lassen Park. It consists of 3 separate falls: East Sulphur Creek and Bumpass Creek tumble 25-30′ into a swirling pool before their combined waters plunge another 50′ to the base of Mill Creek Falls.”
We found a nice shady area next to the creek to cool off and enjoy lunch before working out way back to the trailhead. There are only about 3-4 areas along the trail with water access. The yellow blooms tried to steal the show.
Wooly Mules Ears with Brokeoff Mountain and I believe Mt Diller.
Nothing FLAT about this trail. You can see on the profile those steep areas that were super challenging for me at this point in my rehab. It was hard to believe the hike was less than 4 miles and less than 700 feet of elevation gain/loss. I’d always had this on my EASY list thus mostly avoiding it. I found out upon returning home it’s really considered moderate because of the incline and rocky terrain. For those looking for a bigger challenge or who have two vehicles to shuttle, the trail continues another 3.5 miles to Kings Creek Picnic Area. The bonus is seeing Cold Boiling and Crumbaugh Lakes as well as Conard Meadows.
Other jaunts at Lassen Volcanic National Park:
- CA – Lassen Volcanic National Park, Flowers, Ice and So Much More (May 2021)
- CA – Lassen Volcanic National Park . . . fall adventures
- CA – Lassen Volcanic NP, Chaos Crags . . . and so begins my Spring 2017 Jaunt
- Lassen – Bumpass Hell, Cold Boiling and Crumbaugh Lakes (07/15)
- Lassen – Brokeoff Mountain (10/14)
- Lassen – Hat, Terrace and Shadow Lakes
- Lassen – Brokeoff Mountain Snowshoe
- Bears of Lassen
- CA – Lassen Volcanic National Park, 8 Lake Loop