along the trail             Terminal Geyser (really a fumerole) & warm creek               blooming Spirea next to Willow Lake

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We hike the trails of Lassen National Park and Caribou Wilderness.  Our maps are free to you, the hiker.


Sacramento Valley
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Willow Creek in-and-back

season:  Aug-Oct (snow Nov-June, mosquitos July)

length:  4.4 miles (some semi cross-country)

elevation gain:  450'

elevation range:  5400-5800'

rules: Lassen National Forest & Lassen National Park


Avenza version

Adobe PDF version

current weather forecast

The National Park Service wants hikers to pass through their entrance stations to pay a fee and receive the rules. This trail avoids entrance stations by starting in the National Forest.  As a consequence, the Park Service has abandoned maintenance on the trail.

But the trail users have kept it open.  It is a gorgeous backdoor way to visit Terminal Geyser (not a geyser, there are none in Lassen.  It is a fumarole).

Willow Lake and the adjoining marshlands are rich in birdlife, including  a few Sandhill Cranes.

The route-finding is tricky, so the Avenza version of the maps is recommended for your iPhone or Android.

There is an excellent beginners backpack campsite 1/2 mile in at Willow Lake. It is good Aug-Sept, but also just after snowmelt (before mosquito season starts) when there are many birds and frogs in the lake.

In 2021 Willow Lake was accessible the day Humbug snow pillow went to zero (there were some snow patches on the road so walked the last 0.8 mile of the road)