• Lassen Peak from Hat Creek

    Lassen Volcanic

    National Park California

Hiking Kings Creek Falls Trail

Kings Creek falls

Start: Kings Creek Falls Trailhead
Round Trip Distance: 2.4 along creek
3.0 miles along horse trail
Round Trip Time: 2 hours
Terrain: gradual 700 foot descent along horse trail, steeper rockier descent via creek edge
Elevation: 7300 feet

 

The Trail

There are two ways to reach the falls from the trailhead, via the horse trail or along the creek. The trail along the creek is steep and rocky and should not be attempted if you aren't prepared to scramble across large rocks along the creek. The horse trail route is a slower and steadier descent, much easier on the knees. Hiking boots are recommended for both routes. The trail continues past the falls and can be used to access the Warner Valley via the Pacific Crest Trail.

The Scenery

The Kings Creek Falls trail leads to a large roaring waterfall draped in ferns and other green plants which thrive off the mist generated by the falls. Depending on the time of year you hike to the falls you may see Fawn Lilies or Satin-leaf Lupines in full bloom. As you get closer to the falls notice the deep bending of many of the large California Red Firs (see gallery below). Due to its elevation the Kings Creek Falls trail can be covered in 15 feet or more of snow in the winter, the immense weight of this snowpack bends the trees as they grow upwards towards the sun. As this snow melts the abundance of water in the area supports many difference species of plants and animals. The Kings Creek Trail is a great area to catch a glimpse of Lassen's various wildlife such as Clark's Nutcrackers and Mule Deer.

 

Did You Know?

View of devastated area from Main Park Road.

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.