CA – Lassen Volcanic National Park, Nobles Trail, Hat Creek Section (July 2021)

The Nobles Trail is an old wagon route with a few remaining sections in the park. “it was used by emigrant parties from the east as a shortened route to northern California. It was pioneered in 1851 by William Nobles, who discovered an easy shortcut between the Applegate Trail in Nevada and the Lassen Trail in California. The trail was extensively used until the 1870s, when it was superseded by railroads. The 24-mile section of trail within the boundaries of Lassen Volcanic National Park was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 3, 1975. The section within the park is maintained as a hiking trail.” Source: Wikipedia

We chose the trail for creek access knowing it would be another hot day, but I was reminded that maps lie and creeks aren’t always as accessible as depicted. So instead it became a day to find beauty and change as the land regenerates from the 2012 Reading Fire.

We were happy to see many new trees.

The wildflowers were flourishing with all the extra light.

Especially the Lassen Paintbrush.

This section of the Nobles Trail is still in use by Park vehicles providing access to the Hat Creek Patrol Station.

The trail becomes less defined after the cabin but is still relatively easy to follow. Just look for the log cuts and piled clearings.

The first creek crossing is via a bridge where you have to work a bit to gain access to the water. This is the second access point. Plan on getting your feet wet. Notice all the new growth aspen trees. We found quite a few patches and one giant mother that survived the fire and was now surrounded by her children.

This trail also provides access to the Pacific Crest Trail.

We found large meadows of blooming balsamroot near this junction.

This was the third creek access point, just a short distance off the trail, and our turnaround for the day.

I found a perfect hole to cool off in preparation for the return trip.

The highlight of my trip was finding a few large patches of Ranunculus aquatilis L., white water buttercups. I’d seen photos of these in Warner Valley and I really wanted to see myself. They grow in floating mats of algae or something similar.

The wildlife was back! We saw tons of deer prints, this bear print, and enjoyed watching the squirrels and birds.

The Reading Fire was massive and changed this landscape. It won’t recover in my lifetime so I’m trying to learn to appreciate what remains. While many trails in the Park are heavily used, there are still some like this one with low to non-existent traffic. On this day, it was all ours.

More jaunts in Lassen (link)

5 thoughts on “CA – Lassen Volcanic National Park, Nobles Trail, Hat Creek Section (July 2021)

  1. Looks like a lovely day! Thank you for sharing a part of the parks history, both from the past and more current! Your posts are always informative!

  2. We just put in a new footbridge at the second crossing on Monday, July 26. I’m sure it’ll get washed out just like the previous 2. 😉

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