The trail to Kings Creek Falls in Lassen Volcanic National Park probably sees more hikers than any other route in the park during the warmer months. A 3-mile roundtrip walk on the path includes jaunts through peaceful woods, a stroll around wildflower-speckled Kings Creek Meadow and the main attraction, tranquil Kings Creek Falls. For a short hike, it offers a lot of different scenery.
If you’re a novice hiker or just getting to know Lassen, you should head to the Kings Creek Falls trailhead.
From the trailhead, you start down a wooded slope before reaching flat, open Lower Kings Creek Meadows. Soon, you reach the junction with the Bench Lake loop. Continue left on the main path. As you go further, the trail remains somewhat level, and you’ll spot Kings Creek meandering down a number of chutes and small falls. Near this point, a short offshoot appears that leads to the Upper Cascades Viewpoint.
You’re soon forced to take Horse Loop to the left as the alternative Cascade route is closed until the summer of 2018. At the loop, the trail diverges from the creek for about a quarter mile. The path then converges with the creek again. Continue less than a quarter mile and you’ve reached Kings Creek Falls overlook. Feel free to scramble down to the base of the waterfall.
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.
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.
The Kings Creek Falls trailhead can be accessed from the Kings Creek parking lot, which is nearly equidistant from the North and South entrances to the park. Head about 15 miles from the north or south entrance, and pull into the Kings Creek parking lot on the south side of the road. It has plenty of parking.
For more about the hike to King’s Creek Trail, go here.
Here are some of our favorite photos from King’s Creek Falls:
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Have fun chasing waterfalls!
Northern California’s Outdoor Digital Newsmagazine