CA – Shasta-Trinity and Lassen National Forests . . . winter play

Welcome to 2019, Jan style!

That’s right, I wanted to witness the first sunrise of the year, so good morning Mt Shasta! 

Happy New Year Burney Mountain and Hatchet Ridge, home of the infamous wind turbines. 

Cheers to another of my good friends, Lassen Peak. 

Hike #1 – PCT, Cache 22 Trailhead

It was a frigid 13F degrees overnight. My all time low! Regardless I was up at dawn to catch first light and then warmed up with hot coffee and cereal. The few mile hike back to my car did little to warm me up but I was happy to celebrate the turning of the calendar doing what I love.

Date(s) Hiked: December 31, 2018 – January 1, 2019 (no stats)

Hike #2 – McArthur-Burney Falls State Park, Falls Loop Trail

Since I was in the vicinity after my overnight on the Hat Creek Rim, I decided I’d add 1.5 miles to my earlier jaunt.

Date Hiked: January 1, 2019 (no stats)

Hike #3 – Sacramento River Bend Area, Yana Trailhead

The Carr Fire destroyed most of my winter snow-free trails so this nearby option is better than hiking through burned trees. 

Date Hiked: January 12, 2019






Hiked #4 – Lassen, Sulfur Works

I introduced a friend to snowshoeing on this short trek from the visitor center to Sulfur Works, a hydrothermal area featuring boiling mudpots and steam vents. 

Date Hiked: January 14, 2019






Hike #5 – Mt Shasta, Sand Flat Trailhead

Following a week of storms, I had to find some powder. I knew there was a risk of finding ice as the storm had included warming temperatures with rain. Forecasters dubbed the day, “blustery.” Well, I went prepared to stay in the trees and away from wind slab avalanche areas. 

Date Hiked: January 21, 2019








Hike #6 – Castle Lake

Snow conditions were perfect for an ascent up Left Peak. 

Date Hiked: January 23, 2019







Hike #7 – Lassen, Mill Creek Falls and Ridge Lakes

I’d been dreaming of seeing these falls in the winter for a few weeks. Well those dreams didn’t turn into reality on this day. You gotta pick your risks and this one wasn’t worth it to me. That’s about 7 feet of snow on the bridge and no alternate options to be found. 

Plan B was a good climb on a near perfect day to Ridge Lakes. 

Date Hiked: January 25, 2019






What Else?

To combat winter blues and maintain fitness, I set a goal for 2019 to be active outside a minimum of an hour 20 days per month.  I’m happy to report I met that objective in January. Here are a few extra credit photos from my daily wanderings. 

The local flora is primarily manzanita and oak; finding hearts is a reward. 

The Carr Fire severely changed our landscape and available trails. 

When all else seems wrong, this message in a neighbor’s front yard is right. It’s my mantra!


CA – Shasta-Trinity and Lassen National Forests . . . falling into winter

Not only did I spend time this fall in Lassen Volcanic National Park (link), but I also found a few other favorite places in far Northern California to jaunt. 

Hike #1 – Castle Lake Trailhead

Castle Lake 

Little Castle Lake 

Mt Shasta Views 

Castle Crags and Lassen Views (on a smoky day) 

Hiking Date: October 21, 2018





Hike #2 – Trinity Alps, Stuart Fork Trailhead 

Hiking Date: October 28, 2018


Hike #3 – Lassen, Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center 

Ridge Lakes 

Date Hiked: November 30, 2018

Hike #4 – Mt Shasta, Bunny Flat Trailhead 

Black Butte 

Date Hiked: December 2, 2018

Hike #5 – Castle Lake Trailhead 

Date Hiked: December 6, 2018 (no stats on this date)

Hike #6 – Mt Shasta, Bunny Flat Trailhead 

Sierra Club Horse Camp Cabin 

Date Hiked: December 10, 2018



Hike #7 – PCT, Dog Trailhead 

Date Hiked: December 13, 2018

Hike #8 – PCT, Twin Bridges Trailhead 

Date Hiked: December 19, 2018


Hike #9 – Mt Shasta, Southeast Wanderings 

The bears were still wandering around. 

Date Hiked: December 22, 2018

Hike #10 – PCT, Cache 22 Trailhead

Final sunset of 2018

Date Hiked: December 31, 2018 (no stats)

Instead here’s my cheer to you for a fantastic 2019 filled with adventure, good health and plenty of smiles.

And that my friends is a wrap for 2018. Below is my year in review video.


Lake Eiler – Thousand Lakes Wilderness

One of the lesser known areas near Lassen Volcanic Park is the tiny 16,000 acre Thousand Lakes Wilderness, assumedly named due to the many very small ponds and lakes, albeit no where near a thousand. As one can imagine, these ponds are mosquito magnets making visits to this area much more attractive during the fall and winter months.

Lake Eiler is the largest lake, with a back drop of Freaner Peak (not to be confused with Fredonyer Peak). I find the geology of this split mountain interesting.

Barrett Lake with a backdrop of (I believe) Magee Peak to the right and Fredonyer Peak to the left.

One benefit of winter hiking is finding out what critters share the trail.

Finding the beauty in the unusual on a winter day is another benefit.

Hard not to stop by Lassen on the way home, especially when lighting is good and it finally has a little white.

At this time of year, I’m normally snowshoeing Chaos Crags.

Jan’s Tips:

PCT – Hat Creek Rim

HOT, hellish, horrific . . . are but a few terms used by hikers of the PCT to describe the Hat Creek Rim. June and July are prime time for those hiking the entire 2,650+ miles, from Mexico to Canada, in a single season (April thru September).

There are many reasons not to hike this section, including the fact that it’s rocky, dry, hot and barren, but for those who dare venture out on a clear, cool, blue-sky day, you’ll be treated to 360-degree views, interesting geology, plenty of scat and tracks to identify, and possibly even some aeronautic entertainment (hang gliders and birds soar the thermal drafts).

The view to the west includes Burney Mountain and several peaks in the Thousand Lakes Wilderness.

Mt Shasta to the north. On a clear day Mt McLoughlin and the Crater Lake Rim are also visible.

To the northwest is the parade of wind turbines along Hatchet Ridge

Looking south toward Chaos Crags, over Lost Creek Canyon, and onward to Grassy Lake and the southerly section of the Hat Creek Rim.

From Lost Creek Canyon looking west into Hat Creek Valley and toward Burney Mountain and the Thousand Lakes Wilderness.

The “high” spot along the rim is this communications tower and former home to a fire lookout, which paradoxically burned down.

This is a water cache, maintained by local volunteers, to help the long-distance hikers who may not have carried sufficient water. Please do not leave food or garbage nor take water unless you are in desperate need.

Welcome to hell on earth!

Jan’s Tips:

  • For day hikes, consider accessing the Rim from the Overlook (to hike north) or  Road 22 near the Lookout (to hike south).
  • For day and multi-day access points along the PCT, I recommend the book, “Day Hikes on the Pacific Crest Trail – California” by George and Patricia Semb.
  • For details about the Hat Creek Rim section of the PCT, I recommend the book, “Lassen Volcanic National Park – A Complete Hikers Guide” by Mike White.
  • Information about the PCT can be found on my PCT Love page.
  • Additional blog postings about related hikes I’ve taken can be found in my PCT Hikes category and the Lassen National Forest category.

Hiker Stories: