4 - 5
FATMAP difficulty grade
This loop passes several lakes and ponds far from any roads in the central wilderness of Lassen.
It makes a nice long day hike or an easy overnighter, best in late summer for the warmer temps and fewer mosquitoes.
The lakes provide campsites, fishing, flower displays, and views of surrounding peaks.
The way is mostly shrouded in conifer forest, but occasional burn areas offer sunshine and varied scenery on the trail. Start at the Summit Lake day-use area, near the campground.
If parking is full, another trailhead is located a bit farther away at the ranger station.
The first section of the hike goes uphill from Summit Lake, then reaches a junction where the loop portion begins.
The direction you hike the loop doesn’t matter much.
Either way, it’s rolling terrain with a lake every mile or less.
If you do it as a backpacking trip, you can find good campsites at Big Bear Lake, Silver Lake, or Lower Twin Lake.
Lower Twin is near the short section of this loop that’s shared with the Pacific Crest Trail, so you may meet more backpackers there.
Lassen has no designated backcountry sites, but you’ll need a [backcountry camping permit](https://www.nps.gov/lavo/planyourvisit/wilderness-permit-information.htm) for overnight trips. Sources: https://www.nps.gov/lavo/planyourvisit/cluster-lakes-loop.htm http://www.lassenhiking.org/Hike-Pages/Cluster-Lakes/Cluster-Lakes.htm