By Ryan Loughrey
Brokeoff Mountain in Lassen National Park is notorious for being one of the most difficult hikes in our area. The difficulty is mainly due to the distance and rising elevation – we hiked 3.5 miles to the peak with a 2,600 foot elevation gain. That being said, when temperatures approached 102 degrees in Redding, we needed light sweatshirts in the higher elevation of Lassen National Park.
The reward of hiking to the peak, however, is unsurpassable. Due to the popularity of the hike, here are some tips to make sure your trip to Brokeoff is the best it can be:
- Wear lots of sunscreen
Really. We had sunscreen on our faces, our ears, protruding noses, and necks. We all got burned in places we did not expect – for me the tops of the back of my calves got burnt. For one of my friends, his forearm were deep red. For my other friend – her upper back had clear lines around where her shirt straps had been.
2. Bring your camera (or at least your phone with camera capabilities)
After you’ve ensured that you are properly protected from the sun, you will want to bring something to capture the beauty of the sights around you. From the peak, you will have a stunning view of Lassen Peak itself, Mt. Shasta off in the distance, the rolling hills dotted in green forests and even the line of white wind turbines to the northwest. This is also the perfect place to eat some lunch or snacks and just stop and gaze at the majesty of it all.
I would strongly advise filling up water bottles at the Kohm Yah-Mah-Nee Visitor Center before beginning the ascent. There are a few streams along the way where some hikers with filters could potentially fill up, but otherwise you will only have what you carry up. Again, in the heat of the summer staying hydrated is especially important.
4. Bring a light jacket or sweater for the top
The hike up will be warm enough. Although it is shaded in the beginning, the closer you get to the peak the less vegetation and shade there will be. You will more than likely work up an ample sweat and may be inclined to wear the least clothing possible. However, once you are at the top and resting and your body returns to normal temperature, you begin to feel the wind and the elevation. A light jacket or windbreaker were almost a necessity for the day when we went, but keep an eye on weather predictions depending on the time of year and dress accordingly.
5. Go to the bathroom early
Speaking of no vegetation – once again it is wise to make a stop at the Kohm Yah-Mah-Nee Visitor Center for this. The trail itself is moderately popular, and although it is possible to make a pit stop on the side of the hill if necessary, anyone could come around the corner at any moment.
These were my tips. If you have anything I may have missed or any other tips, feel free to share them! As an ever present tip for any trip I write about – be sure to pack out any trash you may pack in. There’s nothing more frustrating then taking the hike to a beautiful spot in nature, only to find the plastic wrapping to an energy bar that was callously tossed out.
If you follow these tips and make the trip – you will not be disappointed. Although the trail can be a little long for younger ones, for those who are able, the views and reward will far outweigh the