Do you have a ‘bucket list’ or a ‘to do list’ for all of the adventures you want to experience in your life? I’m embarrassed to say I have a pretty
crazy, let’s just call it extensive, one. I can’t help it, I’m a shameless list maker and there are so many great blogs out there with amazing travel ideas. My list is broken down into lots of categories from “Someday when I win the lottery” (I guess I should start playing) to “Nearby day trips to take ASAP.” It gives me so much satisfaction when I get to check items off my list, nevermind the fact though that the list keeps growing faster than it gets shorter. I guess that’s what keeps life exciting!
A few years ago we took a trip to Lassen National Park, and unfortunately (we were dealing with a house move at the time) we had to cut the trip short and skip out on a few of my ‘to do’ items. So, when I was planning our trip to Crater Lake and Lava Beds National Monument, it was just the perfect time to include Lassen NP again since it was only about 2.5 hours south of Lava Beds National Monument. I love, love Lassen National Park because it feels like there is breathing room here, places to enjoy solitude and serenity with such gorgeous NP-worthy scenery all around.
This time specifically, I wanted to hike the Bumpass Hell and Kings Creek Falls Trails. Soooooo, … let me just tell you right now this post is NOT about how we were able to do those things. The smoke in the area with the fires that were going on at the time and an extended closure of the Bumpass Hell hike prevented us from attempting either of those, and me from doing any checking off of any list. Oh darn, I guess we’ll have to come back 🙂 However, the two days we had there were still amazing and we left happy to have experienced what the park had to offer.
We stayed at the Manzanita Lake Campground again and had a similar experience as last time. The campground was full, but the sites on the outer edges of the loops still afforded privacy. The campers were very considerate and we had a very good, very quiet night sleep at the campground. This time we chose to stay at site A25, it was pretty similar to the site we stayed in last time, but it was off the campground road a bit more.
We were able to fit in a short hike around Manzanita Lake again, I will never tire of the views of Lassen Peak with the lake in the foreground. Just stunning! This Manzanita Lake hike/stroll remains one of my favorites, it’s only about 1.5 miles and it’s relatively flat with gorgeous views everywhere.
Of course we had to have the soft serve ice cream from the general store after our hike, so good.
We also stayed one night at Summit Lake South campground. We were a bit apprehensive after our stay at Summit Lake North campground the last time (we felt a bit claustrophobic), but the campsites at the Summit Lake South campground seemed a bit more spaced out and the area around the lake wasn’t as congested as the north side. We came prepared this year with an inflatable kayak after seeing many people hanging out on the lake in their inflatables the last time we were here. I don’t know how long the inflatable kayak will last, but we are so happy we brought it! We got some good use out of it and it really allowed us to hang out on the lake and explore. Although they pack down small, bringing more than one would have taken up too much space, so we shared one between the three of us. Summit Lake is not a very large lake, but it still felt large enough to be able to explore the lake on your inflatable. We spent the large part of the afternoon and evening by the lake, taking turns on the kayak, watercoloring and looking out at the gorgeous scenery. This is a place you won’t want to leave, a place that makes you feel like slowing down.
Dinner was quesadillas and marshmallows, separately that is, although now that I think of it, a s’mores quesadilla might not be so bad. We got out the shredded cheese and made an ooey, gooey, cheesy dinner with all of our leftovers.
McArthur Burney Falls State Park
We also spent a few hours at McArthur Burney Falls State Park swimming and floating around on the inflatable kayak. This was a wonderful place to stop. If you haven’t seen the falls, this is a must see, but this time we really wanted a place to take a dip, explore on the inflatable kayak and cool off in the hot weather. When you enter the park and continue past the popular falls area on Lake Road, and then past the campground, you will eventually get to the shores of Lake Britton. Lake Britton is a decent sized lake with people doing various water activities (boating, jet skiing, paddle boarding, kayaking, etc…). We grabbed a spot on the shady banks of the lake and got some relief from the heat in the cool water. The shores are a bit rocky, so water shoes will come in handy.
Both McArthur-Burney Falls and Summit Lake were great places to spend a lazy afternoon on the water. Plenty of shade and clear lake water to cool off in. Keep these lakes in mind if you’re looking for a place to cool off in Northern California.