It’s not as tall as it used to be, but Lassen Peak still reaches over 10,000 feet up toward the sky. Even if you’re not up to climbing it, it’s worth stopping at the significant parking lot at the trailhead to crane your neck and enjoy the view.
The craggy broken mountain peak is what’s left after the most recent eruption—hence the lack of much in the way of vegetation. The elevation (more than 8,000 feet at the parking lot) makes the Lassen Peak trailhead cool even in the heat of summer when the temperatures only 1,000 feet below hit the 90s. You may need to break out a light windbreaker or sweatshirt if you plan to explore at length.
It’s not marked on the park maps, but the Lassen Peak trailhead includes a huge parking lot and a spot to rest off the road. You’ll find adequate chemical toilets and a trailer-housed concessionaire in this parking lot.
Head into the store for souvenirs, that sweatshirt you forgot, or a snack. Minimal hot food (hot dogs, mostly) and plenty of drinks are available, and a few picnic tables outside the trailer make a decent spot for a picnic.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition