At elevations below 6,500 feet the dominant vegetation community is the mixed conifer forest. Ponderosa and Jeffrey pines, sugar pine, and white fir form the forest canopy for this rich community that also includes species of manzanita, gooseberry and ceanothus. Common wildflowers include iris, spotted coralroot, pyrola, violets, and lupine.
Above the mixed-conifer forest is the major community of the red fir forest. Between elevations of 6,500 and 8,000 feet, red fir, western white pine, mountain hemlock, and lodgepole pine dominate a community less diverse than the mixed-conifer forest. Common plants include satin lupine, woolly mule's-ears and pinemat manzanita.
Subalpine areas include the upper limit for the growth of standing trees. From 8,000 feet to treeline, plants are fewer in overall number with exposed patches of bare ground providing a harsh environment. Rock spirea, lupine, Indian paintbrush, and penstemon are a few of the rugged members of this community. Trees in this community include Whitebark pine and Mountain hemlock.
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Did You Know?
The 29 mile Main Park Road was constructed between 1925 and 1931, just 10 years after Lassen Peak erupted. Near Lassen Peak the road reaches 8512 feet, making it the highest road in the Cascade Mountains. It is not unusual for 40 feet of snow to accumulate on the road near Lake Helen.