Hike Date: May 25, 2013
Distance: ~ 3.5 miles
Trail(s): Unnamed loop trail
Where’s it at? Lassen National Forest


During Memorial Day weekend several of us went to a rustic cabin situated on Silver Lake in Lassen County, east of the Caribou Wilderness. Silver lake is a fairly small lake lined with pine and fir trees, with a number of cabins circling it. There is a single track trail that skirts the lake for the most part, climbing above it on the southwest side where the shore becomes a cliff of jumbled rocks.

We decided to do a hike around the lake which didn’t seem like it would be as long as it was, though it was by no means a long hike. For the most part you are at lake level and right next to the lake on a single track trail. There are a few swampy meadows to cross along the way. Toward the southeast side the trail is primarily a fire trail/dirt road. Apparently this area is a good starting point for a number of longer backcountry hikes but we only skirted the lake.

The best part is when you get to the rocky cliff section and start climbing. We saw a tree that had been struck by lightning on the way up. The trail here gets a little faint but there were plenty of ducks or cairns marking the trail. Someone in our group mistook these for Buddhist stone piles and I kept my mouth shut as it seemed a cooler interpretation! I have been on a few trails where these ducks were absolutely necessary to stay on track…most clearly at Desolation Wilderness where the trail is on rock-hard granite where you see no trace of previous hikers.

On the plateau above the lake you get some nice views of the entire lake and the surrounding hills and peaks. There was one gigantic tree there, marked with a sign: “Sacred Tree”, that had nonetheless had numerous initials scraped into its bark. The tree was a really old Western Juniper. It resembled a giant bonzai tree, or should I say, the look that you try to duplicate more quickly when growing a bonzai. It was definitely a very old and very large tree that stood out. Continuing on you pass a few areas where you have to climb small boulders to continue on, and a few seasonal small ponds were up here as well, one of which had a number of tree trunks laid side by side to offer a bridge for crossing it.

All in all this was a great hike. It would be pretty out of the way to make a trip just to do this hike, but if you’re in the area and have an hour and a half or more to spare, this was a great hike.

Photos from Silver Lake Loop Trail (click to enlarge)

Hiking the Loop Trail around Silver Lake in Lassen County Hiking the Loop Trail around Silver Lake in Lassen County Hiking the Loop Trail around Silver Lake in Lassen County
Hiking the Loop Trail around Silver Lake in Lassen County Hiking the Loop Trail around Silver Lake in Lassen County Hiking the Loop Trail around Silver Lake in Lassen County
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Hiking the Loop Trail around Silver Lake in Lassen County Hiking the Loop Trail around Silver Lake in Lassen County Hiking the Loop Trail around Silver Lake in Lassen County
Hiking the Loop Trail around Silver Lake in Lassen County Hiking the Loop Trail around Silver Lake in Lassen County Hiking the Loop Trail around Silver Lake in Lassen County

Directions to Silver Lake


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