“A short self-guided nature trail loop across the Hat Creek lava flow area to view volcanic spattercone remnants.
— James Landry
A short, family-friendly nature walk located near the Hat Creek campground and the town of Old Station in the Lassen National Forest. The namesake spattercones are fun to hike and climb around, and the higher points give great views of the surrounding mountains and volcanoes, including Sugarloaf and Lassen.
Family Friendly: Short walk, fun rock formations to climb around. Pit toilet and picnic tables available at parking lot.
From the parking lot, hike down a graveled path through Ponderosa and Jeffrey pine forest. The path crosses the Pacific Crest Trail and opens up to the manzanita covered lava flow. At this point, the trail narrows and becomes rocky, but is not too technical.
The loop opens up at a fork just past the Pacific Crest Trail. The north side is a bit steeper and rockier and has the greatest density of sights (this is the way recommended by the Park Service guide pamphlet). This stretch of the trail is sun exposed, so bring water and sun protection, as well as keep an eye (and ear) out for rattlesnakes.
Follow the trail guide to see and learn about a bunch of fascinating volcanic features such as tumulus (lava bubbles that cooled into hollow dome structures) and the namesake spattercones. The spattercones are fun to hike and climb around, and the higher points give great views of the surrounding mountains/volcanoes, including Sugarloaf and Lassen. Follow the loop back to the junction with the Pacific Crest, then back to your car.
Ponderosa pine, Jeffrey pine, chipmunks, manzanita, rattlesnakes.