Manzanita Creek Trail

Lassen Volcanic National Park, California 96063

Elevation Gain1,339ft
Trailhead Elevation5,928ft
Elevation Min/Max5928/7147ft
Elevation Start/End5928/5928ft

Manzanita Creek Trail

Manzanita Creek Trail is a hiking trail in Shasta County, California. It is within Lassen Volcanic Wilderness and Lassen Volcanic National Park. It is 3.5 miles long and begins at 5,928 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 6.9 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,339 feet.

Manzanita Creek Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"Manzanita Lake is a busy place, but you can escape its relative hustle and bustle by hiking into the upper reaches of the Manzanita Creek drainage on this relatively unused route. The Manzanita Creek Trail has a meditative beginning, in a quiet woodland where footfalls are muffled by a sandy cushion on the forest floor. Toward its terminus, however, it takes on a different persona—one active and vibrant. The headwalls of the valley in which Manzanita Creek is born are steep and imposing. On the north is Lassen Peak, the Crescent Cliff dominating its lower reaches. Scanning southward, Eagle Peak, Vulcan’s Castle, and sprawling Loomis Peak reach for the heavens, their pink summits harboring cups and creases of glittering snow late into the summer season. Highlights: A hike into the upper Manzanita Creek basin features backside views of Lassen Peak and Loomis Peak."

"Few seem to tread this trail up the canyon of Manzanita Creek to the base of Crescent Cliff, which is a shame, as the wildflower display in the upper meadows is one of Lassen Volcanic’s finest. What the trail lacks in picturesque lakes and sweeping views is more than made up for by the serenity of the lowland forest and the outstanding floral delights of the upper canyon.

A wide, sandy path leads south from the trailhead and soon intersects the course of the old Manzanita Creek Road on a moderate climb through patches of greenleaf manzanita and stands of Jeffrey pine and white fir. Eventually, the trail crosses to the west of a steep-sided gully, switchbacks out of the gully, and then climbs moderately before the grade eases on a pleasant, half-mile ascent to a notch in a morainal ridge. Although views are rare along this stretch of trail, parts of Lassen Peak and Chaos Crags can be seen through the trees."

"Every creek has a beginning, and this route traces Manzanita Creek upward to its high-mountain source—a scenic meadow. Along the way you’ll get awesome views of breathtakingly imposing Chaos Crags, a volcano formed over a millennium ago when viscous lava welled up for more than 500 yards. Part of the way lingers lovingly close to chilly and crystal clear Manzanita Creek, and you’ll also wander in high meadows while checking out mountain views. Chances are you’ll be trekking alongside previously laid cross country-ski tracks, enjoying immense solitude in a remote forest where pine martens are elusive, black bears hibernate, and the great horned owl resembles a big cat in the conifer boughs."

"Along the Manzanita Creek Route, skiers and snowshoers make a pleasant journey through light forest for a few miles to reach the open upper canyon, where views of Crescent Cliff and Loomis Peak provide an ample reward for the mild-to-moderate climb. The trip can be done as an overnighter, but campsites should be located away from the avalanche chutes on Loomis Peak.

After about 2 miles, the route draws nearer to the stream and climbs moderately through a mostly red fir forest. After another mile, the grade eases and the terrain opens up in the vicinity of a series of meadows in the upper drainage."

"A prettier sight than a winter view of Lassen Peak across the crystalline surface of Manzanita Lake after a fresh dusting of snow is hard to imagine.

When the sky is blue and the snow pristine, fortunate winter visitors can revel in the beautiful scenery as they travel the easy, basically ?at, short loop around Manzanita Lake. As an added bonus, visitation is usually lighter here than at the southwest entrance. The Park Service does not recommend this route for skiers."

"Manzanita Lake is one of Lassen Volcanic’s busiest hubs, and for good reason. The easy shoreline access and the relatively short loop trail around the lake are attractive for sightseers, naturalists, anglers, picnickers, hikers, and joggers.

Motorized boating is not allowed on any park lake, which contributes to a peaceful ambience, at least away from the tra?c noise generated from the Main Park Road nearby. On most summer days, a thriving cross section of wildlife, mainly birds, will reward visitors with keen eyes."

"This pleasant and well-used trail affords a delightful romp among the Jeffrey pines and willows that surround Manzanita Lake. From the trail, which never wanders far from the shoreline, you can watch ducks, geese, and a number of fishermen and paddlers in small boats ply the serene green surface of the water. Lassen Peak and the Chaos Crags, looming above the lake to the southeast, provide early morning shade, and glow an otherworldly pink in the light of the setting sun. Highlights: A pleasant romp around a popular mountain lake."

Manzanita Creek Trail Reviews

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It was a pretty easy hike, although the sand on much of the trail made required a little more energy than on harder surfaces. We were on snow on and off for much of the final mile, which was a lot of fun, but we had to rely on other footprints because the trail was covered. If you go this time of year, I recommend wearing boots or shoes with gore-tex, as you can sink in quite a bit at times. It was warm though.

Manzanita Creek Trail Photos

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Trail Information

Lassen Volcanic National Park
Nearby City
Lassen Volcanic Wilderness
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Local Contacts
USGS Lassen Peak, Manzanita Lake
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018