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FATMAP difficulty grade
Brokeoff Mountain is one of the toughest maintained trails in Lassen, but is a must-do challenge for fit hikers.
The trail goes uphill right away, offering nothing for a warm up.
But the scenery is pleasant, among conifer forest and flower-filled meadows.
The trail alternates between steeper and less-steep sections, usually within sight of a tumbling creek, which it crosses a few times.
Eventually, the trees become noticeably thinner, and determined switchbacks rise toward the timberline.
This section is in a stony valley on the side of the mountain, with an imposing headwall of the peak towering overhead. From there, more switchbacks go up increasingly rocky terrain, and reach a ridgeline armored with toothy boulders.
The trail then cuts across the talus-strewn west slope of the mountain, nearly at the timberline, moving steadily upward.
At one more big switchback, you can pause for a great view of Mount Shasta, then a final and noticeably steeper half-mile gains the summit. On the comfortably sized and mostly level summit, you can safely walk on the rocks and snow to see in all directions.
You'll observe more mountains all around, including nearby Lassen Peak and skylines of the Sierra Nevada and Coast Range.
Be sure to look down the sheered-off north face, for a glimpse of dramatic volcanic and glacial geology. This trail begins just outside the park's entrance station, meaning the fee is not required and the road stays open all year.
Most people save this hike for mid and late summer when it's mostly snow-free, but parts of the trail may still be covered in August.
Outside of the summer season, traction equipment and expertise may be required to safely reach the summit. Sources: https://www.nps.gov/lavo/planyourvisit/hiking_brokeoff_mountain.htm https://www.americansouthwest.net/california/lassen_volcanic/brokeoff-mountain-trail.html