Mt. Lassen, an active volcano, had its last eruptive period from 1914 to 1921 when pyroclastic flows created the ‘Devastated Area’ on its northeast face. Now, backcountry skiers and riders devastate fresh powder on this uncrowded backcountry gem.
Its remote location in northeast California means it doesn’t get heavy traffic. Instead you’ll mainly find a local core of backcountry enthusiasts and powder chasers who relish this mountain. The mountain even has its own ski patrol: the Lassen Volcanic Backcountry Ski Patrol.
The snowpack usually reaches 30 feet per year, and powder days are numerous. The terrain includes wide-open bowls above the treeline, glades and more technical terrain such as couloirs and cliff bands. No technical climbing is required to access the summit, elevation 10,457 feet.
Many Mt. Lassen ski routes are readily accessible from Lassen Loop Road, skiable in the winter, and in the spring when the snow melts and the road clears, it’s possible to drive even closer to the trailheads.
Backcountry ski tours on Mt. Lassen range from three to 30 miles, while ascents/descents range from 2,000 to a quad-bursting 5,300 vertical feet.
Classic ski routes on Mt. Lassen include the south/southeast face (intermediate/advanced), northeast face (intermediate/expert) and west/southwest face (intermediate/advanced).
Fly to Redding, Calif.; Mt. Lassen is about 50 miles east of Redding. The nearest major airports are in Sacramento (185 miles) and Reno (152 miles). Most of the Lassen Loop Road is not plowed during the winter months. However, the south Mineral entrance is plowed to the Lassen Chalet and Visitor Center including the relatively large parking lot from where you can ski into the park. To the North, SR-89 is plowed until the Manzanita Lake trailhead from where you can ski in.
MORE BACKCOUNTRY ADVENTURES:
- Mt. Baker, Washington
- Berthoud Pass, Central Colorado
- Tenmile Range/Summit County, North-central Colorado
- Mt. Lassen, California
- Wasatch Range, Utah
- Glacier National Park, Montana
- Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho
- Teton Pass, Wyoming
- Mount Greylock, Western Massachusetts
- Bolton Valley Backcountry, Northern Vermont
- Cardigan Ski Reservation, Western New Hampshire