Cinder Cone is a small volcanic
mountain in the northeast corner of Mt. Lassen Volcanic National
Park. We hiked along the lava beds, up the mountain, and around
the crater at the top. This was my favorite part of the whole
Mt. Lassen trip.
Whoever named this place didn't have much imagination. The cinder
cone hill was named Cinder Cone, and the nearby fantastic lava beds
were named Fantastic Lava Beds. The multi-hued volcanic dunes by the
mountain are called Painted Dunes.
To get to Cinder Cone from the main road through Lassen Volcanic
Park (Highway 99), you must exit the north end of the park, drive
Highway 44 to Old Station, head east towards Susanville, and then
turn south on a dirt and gravel road into the northeast corner of
the park. The dirt road ends at Butte Lake.
From the edge of the lake, you can immediately see an immense wall
of dark, rocky lava that has flowed into and filled a large part of
the lake. The lava has absolutely no vegetation and looks like it
could have arrived just a few years ago, although it is actually
hundreds of years old.
The trail to Cinder Cone starts at the parking lot, goes around the
right side of the lake, and follows along the edge of the massive
lava flow. You can walk right up to the lava and climb on top of it.
The trail goes about a mile and and half through a pine forest. As
you get closer to Cinder Cone, the soil changes to a kind of sandy
volcanic ash, and the forest thins out. Below is a view of Fantastic
Lava Beds as you approach Cinder Cone. The Painted Dunes and the
base of Cinder Cone can be seen on the right.
This is a panoramic photo, which I made by splicing together two