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Trail through the forest from Butte Lake to Snag Lake, two large backcountry lakes in Lassen Volcanic National Park.

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Point to Point

6,352' 1,936 m


6,054' 1,845 m


571' 174 m


496' 151 m



Avg Grade (2°)


Max Grade (19°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife


Butte Lake to Snag Lake Trail (East) is found at a trailhead sign at the east side of the Butte Lake parking area. The trail starts off flat heading east on the grass dotted with pines along the lakeshore. However very soon the trail enters forest and climbs to a great overlook at the 0.65 mile mark. From this overlook the trail drops very steeply to Butte Creek, the seasonal outlet of Butte Lake, and crosses this creek.

After crossing the creek and passing a picnic table, pick up Butte Lake to Snag Lake Trail (East) as it follows the lake's shoreline. For the next 1.4 miles the trail is wooded as it runs right along the shoreline. The views to the west across Butte Lake are awesome - Prospect Peak, Cinder Cone, and Lassen Peak, as well as the Fantastic Lava Beds -the islands in the lake and far shoreline.

At the 2.2 mile mark Butte Lake is left behind and the Widow Lake to Snag Lake Trail junction is passed. Stay to the right (west) here to continue on Butte Lake to Snag Lake Trail (East). For the next 2.8 miles the trail is in beautiful fir forest. Flat at first, it climbs over a forested hill starting at the 2.5 mile mark. Reaching the hill top at the 4.2 mile mark, the trail descends and Snag Lake comes into view ahead, through the trees.

Snag Lake is reached at the 5.0 mile mark and continuing in the forest, Butte Lake to Snag Lake Trail (East) runs along Snag Lake's east side, very close to the lake in places, and further away to avoid wet areas in other places. Although further away, Prospect Peak, Cinder Cone, and the Fantastic Lava Beds can all be seen to the north-northwest across Snag Lake. Snag Lake also has some nice beaches here on its east side.

Butte Lake to Snag Lake Trail (East) veers away from Snag Lake at the 6.6 mile mark and ends about a quarter mile later at a trail junction with Juniper Lake to Snag Lake Trail.

Flora & Fauna

Beautiful pine forest with low ground cover. Wildflowers. Shy deer as evidenced by their tracks.


Shared By:

Joan Pendleton

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote


in Butte Lake


  4.0 from 1 vote
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Trail Rankings


in Butte Lake


in California


3 Views Last Month
336 Since Jun 19, 2020
Easy/Intermediate Easy/Intermediate



Rising above Butte Lake (left to right) are Sunrise Peak, Ash Butte, and Mt. Hoffman. The islands and boulders on the right shore are fantastic lava beds from slow cooling lava of cinder cone eruptions. Looking south from the north end of Butte Lake.
Jun 19, 2020 near Chester, CA
The view from the trail is amazing.  You can see where the Fantastic Lava Beds come right up to Butte Lake.
Jun 12, 2020 near Chester, CA
Butte Lake
Jun 27, 2020 near Chester, CA
Cinder Cone and Prospect Peak are across Butte Lake. The black boulders that make up the far shoreline and islands are all part of Fantastic Lava Beds, formed from slow cooling lava from Cinder Cone eruptions.
Jun 20, 2020 near Chester, CA
Left to right in the distance across Butte Lake are Fairfield Peak (7,272 ft.), Cinder Cone (6,907 ft.), snowy Lassen Peak (10,457 ft.), and part of Prospect Peak (8,338 ft.). The black boulders forming the far shoreline are Fantastic Lava Beds.
Jun 20, 2020 near Chester, CA
Prospect Peak, 8,338 ft., is the forested mountain in the distance. In front of Prospect Peak's right shoulder is Cinder Cone, and in front of Cinder Cone are the black boulders of Fantastic Lava Beds. Seen looking northwest across Snag Lake.
Jun 20, 2020 near Chester, CA



Current Trail Conditions

Add Your Check-In


Jun 16, 2020
Joan Pendleton
Jul 16, 2016
Chun Yang
Aug 29, 2011
Scott Salas

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