Other than our camping area by Summit lake, we wanted to visit Bumpass Hell and Cinder Cone in Lassen Volcanic National Park. However, Bumpass Hell was closed due to snow in the area thus we visited Cinder Cone only. Also, we had some car problems in the morning which cost us 3 hours of time and limited our options.
Bumpass Hell is the largest thermal area in the park, however we've been to Yellowstone earlier and we didn't regret of not seeing it. But we definitely wanted to climb a volcano so we headed to Cinder Cone.
Stop 1: Cinder Cone
First complication is 7-mile gravel road leading to the hiking area. Big cars can make it easily but we were driving 25 mph max - this was the boring part.
Cinder Cone hike is 4 miles round trip and takes you to the top of the volcano. Estimated hike time is 3 hours, but we made it in 2. This is what you'll see from the top:
Prospect Peak and Snag Lake:
The Fantastic Lava Beds and the Painted Dunes are clearly viewed:
It feels really cool walking on the edge of the volcano. Even though it was very hot you don't feel it due to the height and wind.
Now, the challenging part is going up on a steep loose volcanic gravel trail. See that small dots at the top? Those are tiny little people. It took us approximately 20 min to crawl up with several stops to catch up breath. We were the fastest among all other people, but even small kids were able to go up. I would say that most people can make it up in an hour.
This is how the first mile of the hike looks like:
Stop 2: Sacramento
As we wasted 3 hours and 200 miles on our car problem fixing we arrived later than planned and decided to rest and save some energy for our last day.