Hat Creek Trail

Old Station, California 96071

Hat Creek Trail

Hat Creek Trail Professional Review and Guide

"From late April through mid-November, this trail is teeming with anglers, sniffing out the best places to chase the thousands of rainbow and brook trout the California Department of Fish and Game plants each general trout fishing season."

More Hat Creek Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"From late April through mid-November, this trail is teeming with anglers, sniffing out the best places to chase the thousands of rainbow and brook trout the California Department of Fish and Game plants each general trout fishing season. Oh, you’ll see others on the trail, retired folks walking hand-in-hand as they take a break from their recreational vehicle wanderings, teens heading to secret swimming holes, and certainly, dog walkers—and happy dogs who rush from the trail to Hat Creek for a dip or drink. The rushing waters of spring-fed Hat Creek and the canopy of riparian forest bring trekkers here all year, from the crunch of fall leaves, through the crunch of snow in winter and the renewed energy of spring, all the way through the heat of another Northern California summer."

"Follow the raging course of icy Hat Creek roughly from its halfway point to its climax into the Pit River. Hat Creek’s amazing journey begins as snowmelt high on the north-facing flank of Lassen Peak. Its crystal clear waters embellish Paradise Meadows, widen into a marsh that was once Hat Lake, and finally evolve into the powerful force that this route covers. The copious cascades and mini-waterfalls become a robust burst from midwinter through spring over this part of the creek. It’s a constant, loud crash that stirs the senses—toss a stick in and watch it vanish instantly in the surge. Your route traces the creek’s edge the whole way, but often doesn’t have enough snow for snowshoeing. Call ahead for snow conditions. Be ready to do another nearby route described in this book that’s higher in elevation. Even with enough snow, there are parts of the route where you’ll have to carefully negotiate snowshoes over bumpy rocks and twiggy ground covers."

"From its frosty origin in Lassen National Park, sparkling Hat Creek tumbles through broad Hat Creek Valley before merging with the Pit River just above Lake Britton. The stream is well-known for its good fishing and chilly temperatures; anglers use the Hat Creek Trail throughout the season to access their favorite fishing holes, while swimmers tend to venture into their preferred spots only during the oppressing summer heat. The 4-mile path described here is the only stretch of trail outside Lassen Volcanic that follows the sprightly stream, connecting three Forest Service campgrounds (Bridge, Rocky, and Cave).

The trail remains within a stone’s throw of Hat Creek for the duration of the hike, but access to the stream is not always guaranteed, thanks to brushy spots and steep-walled mini-gorges. Mixed forest shades the trail in spots, but a good portion of the trail is subject to open sun—midsummer visitors should plan on hiking during the early morning or early evening hours to beat the heat. The low elevation makes hiking the Hat Creek Trail a marvelous spring or fall experience. Fires have played a major role in shaping the Hat Creek Valley, and you will see such evidence along the trail."

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Trail Information

Old Station
Nearby City
Dog-friendly
Accessibility
8.6
Distance
400 feet
Elevation Gain
Out-and-back
Trail Type
Easy to Moderate
Skill Level
5 hours or overnight
Duration
Year-round
Season
Lassen National Forest, Hat Creek Ranger District
Local Contacts
USGS Old Station
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018