Lassen County
Order Guide
Visitor Guide
CA 0
View Website
Thousand Lakes Wilderness
Hat Creek Ranger District
PO Box 220
Fall River Mills, CA 96028
(530) 336-5521

Located within the southern portion of the Cascade Mountain Range is 16,335 acres of contrasting topography. Thousand Lakes Wilderness is midway between the town of Burney and Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Volcanic and glacial formations, rocky ravines, mountain slopes, open meadows, and stands of lodgepole pine and red fir define the Wilderness. It is dominated by 8,677 foot Crater Peak, the highest point on the Lassen National Forest, and is a reminder of the glacial action that eroded Thousand Lakes Volcano and created the many small lakes and ponds scattered throughout. The lowest point in the Wilderness occurs at the base of the volcano at 5,546 feet. The seven major lakes that lie within the Wilderness valley contain trout. Several species of wildlife make their home in the Wilderness. With a little luck and a good pair of binoculars you might spot some the more permanent residents; black-tailed deer, black bear, pika, pine marten, northern goshawk, spotted owl, pileated woodpecker, and Clark's nutcracker. Even elk have been known to visit occasionally.

Another critter worth mentioning is the mosquito. At times they are thick and hungry. It would be advisable to carry insect repellent in your pack.

The summer use period is approximately June 15 to October 15, although early spring could open up the lower areas by Memorial Day. Your experience will be enhanced and impacts will lessened by avoiding weekends and holidays, and heavily used areas. Snowstorms can arrive unexpectedly, and hypothermia is a concern anytime of the year. Check our Current Conditions page for forecasted weather information.

Trail access is available at three trailheads; Tamarack, Bunchgrass and Cypress. Magee Trail is no longer maintained. Full detailed descriptions of trailhead access are available on a new topographic map. There are smaller road junctions that are not mentioned on this map and new roads due to logging and private property in the area. If in doubt, stay on the main road indicated and continue to watch for intersections at the mileages given. Road signs are not always present.

Things you might want to take along include waterproof matches, extra food, extra clothing, a first-aid kit, flashlight, space blanket (a blanket made of light, heat reflective material), pocket knife, sunburn protection, insect repellant, toilet tissue, candle, compass, and maps.

Maps are the "street signs" of the Wilderness. Bring plenty of them. A topographical map is an essential backcountry orientating tool. The elevation lines tell the story of the land and can give you a mental picture of the area. If you become lost or disoriented, the best way to familiarize yourself with the lay of the land is to climb the nearest ridge or peak. Start by orienting your map to the north, by compass, and pinpointing your exact location. From there continue on your planned course checking your map and compass regularly.

Water Filter: The crystal waters can be deceiving. They look clear, cold, and inviting but should never be taken for safe drinking water. Giardia is the hidden hazard. The best way to protect yourself from the microscopic organism is to carry a water filter with you. Boiling for three to five minutes will also destroy Giardia and other water organisms.

Feed for Pack Animals: Thousand Lakes Wilderness has limited areas for forage. To protect the wilderness, users are encouraged to pack in (certified weed free) supplemental feed for their animals.

Lassen National Forest recommends the use of "NO TRACE" camping techniques. "NO TRACE" camping is an attitude that leads to enjoyment of the wilderness without changing or damaging it. Remember, "in the wilderness, you are the visitor."

The Campsite: As you search for a comfortable site, look for one that won't be damaged. Fragile areas such as lakeshores and damp meadows should be avoided. In order to perpetuate a high quality wilderness, PLEASE camp at least 100 feet away from water and trails.

Campfires: If you do build a campfire in a previously unused site, you can minimize the impact by not building a rock ring and using a small pit dug in sandy soil. Carefully check the ashes by feeling them with the back of your hand to be sure the fire is completely out. Bury the ashes and replace the soil, plants and rocks that you removed from the hole. Fire patrols cannot fully prevent human-caused fires without the help

Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association
1699 HWY 273, Anderson, CA 96007 | (P) 530-365-7500 | (F) 530-365-1258