Backpack Seven Lake Loop in Lassen Volcanic NP

Rate this Adventure 12 miles  - Loop Trail

Added by Taylor Hinchcliff

This 12-mile loop in Lassen Volcanic National Park is perfect for weekend warriors looking for an overnight escape into the beautiful trails of Northern California.

This hike is one of my favorites for when I only have a weekend to get my nature fix. To start off, visit either the Loomis Museum, Loomis Ranger Station, Butte Lake Ranger Station, Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center, Warner Valley Ranger Station, or Juniper Lake Ranger Station and pick up a wilderness camping permit (free of charge).  Also be sure to have your bear canister to store your food in, as they are required for overnight wilderness camping. If needed you can rent a canister at the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center for $10 with a $95 deposit that you get back when you return the canister.

Once you have your permit and your canister, head into the National Park to Summit Lake. While you can park at either North or South Summit Lake Campground (about 7000ft elevation), I usually choose South as they tend to have more open spaces. Once you have your vehicle parked and your gear on, find the Echo Lake/Twin Lakes Trailhead located near North Summit Lake Campground. This four mile trail will lead you past FOUR awesome little lakes, all with spots perfect for throwing up a hammock and relaxing.

Follow the Echo Lake/Twin Lakes Trail until it splits into the Lower Twin Lake South Short trail. Follow that short trail until it intersects with the PCT. This area is beautiful and great for setting up camp for the day if you'd like to do so. Personally I like continuing down the PCT south for about another half mile, until you find Swan Lake. This spot is my favorite to set up camp, and there is fresh water in the form of Kings Creek about another mile down the trail if you feel the need to filter some water for drinking/cooking. This spot is also nice because it is right under Crater Butte, a fun spot for some hiking and climbing during the day complete with a small lake nestled within the crater of the butte itself.

Once you're ready to continue on, head down the PCT for another half mile or so below Swan Lake until the you find the Horseshoe Lake Trail that splits away from the PCT. Follow this trail in the shadow of Crater Butte for just under a mile until you find the Grassy Swale Trail (also a part of the PCT) which follows Kings Creek. You will stay on this trail for just over three miles (3.3 to be exact) and follow the Kings Creek through the trees and beautiful meadow areas.

Eventually the trail will intersect with Kings Creek Trail, which you will then follow for just over a half mile until you will branch off onto Summit Lake trail. If you don't mind putting in an extra few miles, you can choose to continue on Kings Creek Trail until you come to the Kings Creek Falls, which are in awesome form right now. If you choose to do so, simply double back on the Kings Creek Trail until you return to the intersection with the Summit Lake Trail. Then it is a simple matter of following this trail right back to the Summit Lake parking area. All in all you will have: hiked past/to seven lakes, camped under the start in the shadow of Crater Butte, enjoyed the meadows and wildflowers prolific along the Kings Creek trail, and ended up right back where you started. 

Read More


Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area
Swimming Hole


Have you done this adventure? Be the first to leave a review!

Stay Nearby

Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway

Lost Creek Group

Overview Lost Creek Group Campground (elevation 5,700 ft.) is approximately five miles south of Manzanita Lake, and close to the Lost Creek and Devastated areas. Located on the main park road, it ...

Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway

Summit Lake North

Overview Summit Lake North Campground (elevation 6,700 ft.) is conveniently located on the main road of Lassen Volcanic National Park. The campground is within walking distance of the small but sce...

Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway

Summit Lake South

Overview Summit Lake South Campground (elevation 6,700 ft.) is conveniently located on the main road of Lassen Volcanic National Park. The campground is within walking distance of the small but sce...

Chester Juniper Lake Road

Juniper Lake Group

Overview Juniper Lake Group Campground (elevation 6,800 feet) is a remote, rustic facility in the southeastern part of Lassen Volcanic National Park. It is on the eastern shore of Juniper Lake, a p...

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike the Paradise Meadow Trail

    The Paradise Meadow Trail is both beautiful and peaceful, a paradise for hikers and trail runners. Keep your eyes peeled for mule deer and other fascinating wildlife. Bring a snack or a lunch - there are plenty of nice logs in the meadow to take a...

    2.7 miles 597 ft gain

  • Hike to Drake Lake

    The hike starts at the Warner Valley Trailhead and winds up the mountain until you reach the lake. The first 2 miles or so are very pleasant walk through the woods until you reach the last portion which is essentially straight up the mountain side...

    5 miles 1000 ft gain

  • Hike to Boiling Springs Lake

    The hike to Boiling Springs Lake starts at the Warner Valley Trailhead and is only a 3 mile roundtrip hike. It's a fairly easy hike that starts through the valley and then winds up through the forest and eventually opens up to the lake. First thin...

    3 miles 300 ft gain

  • Camp at Warner Valley

    Warner Valley Campground is at the end of Warner Valley Road. It's 16 dollars a night at a first come first serve basis. As far as the campground it self, there are a few bathrooms and each site has a fire ring and a picnic table. There are 17 sit...