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Kings Creek Falls

Kings Creek Meadow, Lassen Volcanic NP (10/9/18) Shanda Ochs

Kings Creek Meadow, Lassen Volcanic NP (10/9/18) Shanda Ochs

Kings Creek Falls, Lassen Volcanic NP (10/9/18) Shanda Ochs

Kings Creek Falls, Lassen Volcanic NP (10/9/18) Shanda Ochs

Kings Creek Falls, Lassen Volcanic NP (10/9/18) Shanda Ochs

Kings Creek Falls, Lassen Volcanic NP (10/9/18) Shanda Ochs

The hike to Kings Creek Falls in Lassen Volcanic National Park begins with lacy meadow grasses that grow throughout Kings Creek Meadow, then it rises through a textural blend of yellow Lemmons willow and a mix of hot pink and scarlet shrubs, to the wispy white falls that are embraced by Tolkienesque-like willow.

If ever there is a middle kingdom in California, it is Lassen Volcanic at this magical time of year.

Shanda Ochs hiked there this week and suggested that there are so many unusual and vibrant plants to see along the trail that one might want to carry a pocket field guide to identify them.

One of the difficulties of identifying plants in the Shasta Cascade is that field guides written for the Sierra Nevada or other parts of Northern California don’t often work.

That’s because the volcanic soil, deep snowfall, climate and other conditions have encouraged the evolution of different native plants than are found in the Klamath range, Sierra Nevada, or nearby Sacramento Valley.

Part of the joy of hiking at Lassen Volcanic and on Mt. Shasta, is that you’re always finding something unexpected and new.

For a guide to the Kings Creek Falls Trail, CLICK HERE.

At Manzanita Lake at the northwest entrance to Lassen Volcanic NP, Shanda said the willow that ring the lake, are “about done, with alder still in change. The cottonwood is also about 75% with some almost bare, to others about half changed.”

It’s always difficult to rate an area when some species have peaked, others are peaking and still others near peak, but we’ll classify it at peak, as it isn’t going backwards. 

Kings Creek Falls (7,300′), Lassen Volcanic National Park – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!

Manzanita Lake (2,900′), Lassen Volcanic National Park – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

Kings Creek Falls, Lassen Volcanic NP (10/9/18) Shanda Ochs

Manzanita Lake, Lassen Volcanic NP (10/10/18) Shanda Ochs

Manzanita Lake, Lassen Volcanic NP (10/10/18) Shanda Ochs