Friday, September 13, 2013

Kings Creek Cascades and Falls

Exploring Lassen Volcanic National Park by driving the Lassen Park Road from the Lassen Peak trailhead to Summit Lake, you are passing the Kings Creek picnic area and Upper Meadow before you will arrive at the Kings Creek trailhead, where only a few roadside parking lots are available that easily fill up on weekend days. Next to the stairs at the trailhead a panel introduces visitors to the Kings Creek Trails:

Beauty of the Earth abounds along this five-mile loop trail. And meadows, lakes, creeks, waterfalls, wildflowers, and wildlife offer much to contemplate. Kings Creek continues flowing from here, cascading down the mountain into Warner Valley and emptying into the larger Warner Creek. Kings Creek Falls, a 50-foot waterfall, is worth the 2.4-mile round-trip hike to reach it. Hikers wanting to complete the full-loop trail can make stops at Bench Lake, which is more a pond than a lake, and Sifford Lakes, a cluster of six lakes. The first lake in the Sifford cluster offers a chance for a midsummer dip. Backpackers or distance hikers can also use this trailhead to connect with Warner Valley trails, which offer several unusual hydrothermal feature destinations.

Lassen Volcanic definitely provides an astonishing trail network—as I eagerly have alluded to in my Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center post. The Kings Creek Trails are right in the middle of it. The map below will help you to integrate the mentioned five-mile loop into your hiking plan, including side trips to Bench Lake and the Sifford Lakes .

If you are mainly interested in waterfalls, the Kings Creek Falls trail is the one to hike. Not only is its destination a waterfall, but along the trail you will hear and overlook water cascading its way downcreek towards Warner Valley—as seen in the pictures above. Due to extremely hazardous hiking conditions, the short Cascades Foot Trail has been closed. But you'll find cataract vistas off the Horse Trail to the right. Descend this trail to the creek and follow the 0.2 mile path along Kings Creek with water spilling over rock steps at several points until you arrive at the overlook of Kings Creek Falls (upper right picture on my Lassen Volcanic overview page). 

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