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gem icon Cinder Cone [Suggest Edits]

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Description

Cinder Cone is a volcano that rises above Butte Lake and offers amazing views of the Fantastic Lava Beds, Painted Dunes, and Lassen Peak. As the Cinder Cone comes into view from the Nobles Emigrant Trail, you can see how the landscape has been shaped by volcanic activity. You can see part of the Painted Dunes, the Fantastic Lava Beds, and the barren landscape that surrounds the cinder cone. Cinder cone volcanoes are built by gaseous lava particles violently ejected high into the air from a single vent, similar to a popcorn popper. The lava shatters into small fragments that solidify in the air and fall as cinders around the vent. As the cinders accumulate, they pile up to form a circular or oval shaped cone.

To get to the top, it is best to take the first access trail, as the southern access trail is much steeper. Stay on the trail in order to preserve the fragile nature of the cinder cone area as footprints take years to fade away. The trail that climbs the side of Cinder Cone is steep, but when you get to the top the views are worth it. On a clear day, Lassen Peak is visible in the distance. By walking around the upper rim of the Cinder Cone, the Painted Dunes stretch out below you. Looking back toward Butte Lake, you can see how vast the Fantastic Lava Beds really are.

Inside the cinder cone, you can see how life struggles to survive in this harsh environment. For those who want to descend further into the heart of the cinder cone, there is an inner ring and a trail that drops to the bottom and offers a unique perspective. Take the time to walk around at least the outer ring of the Cinder Cone to enjoy the varying landscapes found here. Once you've enjoyed the views and taken your photos, you can either descend via the north trail, or take the steep southern access trail back down. The southern trail offers a closer view of the Painted Dunes and more views of Lassen Peak.

Short Run: The Butte Lake campground and area are typically closed in the winter due to snow. Check the park website to see if the area is open. The trail to the top of the Cinder Cone can be accessed by taking the Nobles Emigrant Trail roughly 1.4 miles from the Butte Lake parking area. After traveling 1.4 miles, the trail forks and by staying to the left, you approach the base of the Cinder Cone volcano. The trail climbs steeply for roughly 1/3 miles from here to the top, which is very loose and feels like walking on sand. Once you are on top, great views of Lassen Peak and the surrounding areas come into view. By following the trails, you can descend into the center the Cinder Cone volcano. It is important to stay on the established trails in order to prevent damage to the Cinder Cone and allow others to enjoy its beauty.

Gem Type: Geologic Feature

Shared by:
David Hitchcock

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Shared by David Hitchcock on Jun 14, 2020. All Page Views: 169. Last Month: 2.