Manzanita Lake Area Winter Routes

 

The Manzanita Lake Area (5,800 elevation) consists of gentle slopes and scenic lakes. It offers the easiest routes for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the park. Vehicle access in the park is limited to the Southwest and Manzanita Lake Areas in the snowy winter and spring seasons (usually December through April). A parking area is located adjacent to the Loomis Plaza, which offers 24-hour restrooms with water. There are no visitor services in the Manzanita Lake Area November through early May. Bring your own equipment; there are no rentals in the park.

Play it Safe

Reduce your risk in winter conditions at high elevation in this remote area by:

  1. Plan for winter driving conditions including ice or snow hazards.
  2. Be prepared for winter conditions at high elevation in a remote area.
  3. Choose a route that is appropriate for your skill level and ability.
  4. Practice avalanche safety if traveling beyond established routes or in steep terrain.
 

On This Page Navigation

 
 

Manzanita Lake Area Beginner Routes

Manzanita Lake Snowshoe Loop

This route is not recommended for skiing
Distance: 1.8 mile loop
Elevation: 5,800 to 5,850 feet
Average Time: 1.5 hours
Begin near the Loomis Ranger Station and circle the lake in either direction. This route provides excellent views of Lassen Peak and Chaos Crags. Please stay off lake ice, it is unstable and shores may be difficult to recognize under snow.

Reflection Lake Snowshoe Loop

This route is not recommended for skiing
Distance: 0.5 mile loop
Elevation: 5,800 feet
Average Time: 30 minutes
Begin at the shore across the highway from the Loomis Museum and circle the lake in either direction. It may be necessary to follow the park highway for a short section of the lake edge closest to the road. Please stay off lake ice, it may be unstable and shores can be difficult to recognize under snow.

Manzanita Campground Loop

Distance: 1.5 mile loop
Elevation: 5,800 feet
Average Skiing Time: 1.5 hours
Cross the footbridge by the Loomis Ranger Station, turn right and follow the road to the campground for approximately a quarter mile to where it turns to the right through a set of large rocks. The route covers a half-mile loop through several sections of the campground.

 

Manzanita Lake Intermediate Routes

Chaos Jumbles Area

Distance: 1.2+ miles round-trip
Elevation: 5,900 to 6,187 feet
Average Time: 1+ hour
Head up the park highway for 0.6 mile to an open area of stunted trees. Veer to the right up toward Chaos Crags. Here, the undulating topography slopes up into the bowl of the Crags. The terrain is easy to moderately difficult with excellent views at the higher elevations.

Chaos Crags Route

This route is not recommended for skiing
Distance: 4 miles round-trip
Elevation: 5,900 to 6,650 feet
Average Time: 3-4 hours
Cross the footbridge by the Loomis Ranger Station, turn left and follow the road to the Chaos Crags Trailhead sign. Follow yellow tree markers as the route climbs steeply up to a ridge. If you decide to descend to Crags Lake, beware of potential rockfall and high winds.

Nobles Emigrant Route

Distance: 5.2 miles round-trip
Elevation: 5,875 to 6,275 feet
Average Skiing Time: 3-4 hours
Pick up the route north of Reflection Lake or at the trailhead off a service road west of Reflection Lake. Follow the orange tree markers along the base of Table Mountain. The trail climbs over a flank of Table Mountain into fir forest and rejoins the park highway at Sunflower Flat. Return the way you came or via the park highway to make a loop.

Manzanita Creek

Distance: 7.5 miles round-trip
Elevation: 5,850 to 7,100 feet
Average Skiing Time: 6 hours
From the Loomis Ranger Station, cross a footbridge, then turn right onto the Manzanita Lake Campground road. Travel through the campground to the Manzanita Creek trailhead sign. The route is mostly a gradual climb. Beware of avalanche chutes off of Loomis Peak that may reach the upper end of the route.

Additional Park Highway Destinations

The park highway route begins at the road closure gate just beyond the Loomis Plaza parking area. Destinations beyond Lost Creek Campground area are recommended for overnight trips only.

Sunflower Flat
Distance: 2.5 miles one-way
Elevation: 5,995 feet
Estimated Time: 2 hours

Lost Creek Campground
Distance: 4 miles one-way
Elevation: 5,628 feet
Estimated Time: 3-4 hours

Hot Rock
Distance: 6.7 miles one-way
Elevation: 6,157 feet
Estimated Time: Overnight

Devastated Area
Distance: 8.7 miles one-way
Elevation: 6,456 feet
Estimated Time: Overnight

Last updated: January 8, 2021

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Mailing Address:

PO Box 100
Mineral, CA 96063

Phone:

(530) 595-4480

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