Lassen Volcanic National Park Wildflowers

Leopard lily, Lilium pardalinum ssp. pardalinum

There are many wonderful hikes in Lassen Volcanic National Park where you can find amazing wildflowers, but sometimes it’s nice to be able to just hop out of the car and immerse yourself in nature, without having to hike long distances. Here are a few places were you can see Lassen Volcanic National Park wildflowers right along the roadside.

On this trip we stopped at:

  • McGowan Lake, near the south entrance to the park
  • Brokeoff Mountain trailhead, just outside the southern entrance
  • Kings Creek picnic area
  • Mill Creek, southwest of the park heading towards Lake Almanor

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McGowan Lake

Approaching Lassen Volcanic National Park from the south on highway 36, you will turn onto Highway 89 north. 1.9 miles from this junction you will find Forest Service Road 29N22 on your left (west side of the road). This is the first road you will see after the junction, but it might not be clearly marked. You can view multiple wildflowers from the roadside, but note that the land off of the road may be private property, so you should stay on the road.

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Brokeoff Mountain

Just before the southern park entrance station on Highway 89 you will find the Brokeoff Mountain trailhead. Parking is on the east side of the road, the trailhead is on the west side. If you want to hike the trail, note that it is 7.4 miles round trip and is considered to be one of the toughest hikes in the park. However, the first quarter mile is an amazing wildflower garden, easy to access. It is fed by melting snow running down the hillside, and a branch of Mill Creek.

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Kings Creek Picnic Area

The Kings Creek Falls trail is one of the most popular hikes in the park, and it can be very difficult to find parking at the trailhead. This 2.3 mile loop offers a wonderful waterfall, a very steep return up a narrow stone staircase along the creek, and many wildflowers. A less crowded option is the Kings Creek Picnic Area, which is on a small side road that is just 1.1 miles west of the Kings Creek Falls trailhead. There is a nice wet meadow along Kings Creek, plenty of picnic tables, a restroom, and more parking than at the trailhead. We found an interesting variety of wildflowers right along the access road, as well as down at the creek.

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Mill Creek

Mill Creek runs through the park, and it crosses Highway 89 outside of the southern park boundary. As you head east on Highway 89 (36) towards Lake Almanor you will find a number of roadside seeps and wet meadows, full of bog orchids and leopard lilies. Please respect private property and don’t cross over any fences – there are many locations that are right by the roadside with easy access.

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Directions

Mount Lassen Volcanic National Park is located east of Redding and Red Bluff in Northern California. There are two main approaches, on highway 44 east from Redding (the north entrance) and on highway 36 east from Red Bluff (the south entrance). All of the wildflower sites that I describe here are on the south side of the park. Note that there are many more wonderful wildflower hikes in this park, which I will be describing in other blog posts.

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Lf Hiker | E.Pointal contributor


Timing is Everything

When you have a large park like Lassen you have a wide variety of elevations, and therefore you have a long wildflower season. You just have to find the right elevation for the flowers at the time you visit! This trip was in early July of a relatively dry year (2018). Some wildflowers (such as Mules Ears and Shooting Stars) were just about finished, but many others were at their peak. Temperatures were moderate. A great time to visit this park!

Lassen Volcanic National Park Wildflowers

Here’s a listing of the native plants that we found on this visit. The ones listed in color are endemic to California (that is, found only in California).

  • Alpine shooting star, Primula tetrandra
  • American brooklime, Veronica americana
  • Arrowleaf ragwort, Senecio triangularis
  • Bigelow’s sneezeweed, Helenium bigelovii
  • Bog laurel, Kalmia polifolia
  • Brewer’s mountain heath, Phyllodoce breweri
  • California corn lily, Veratrum californicum var. californicum
  • California stickseed, Hackelia californica
  • Changeable phacelia, Phacelia mutabilis
  • Cobwebby paintbrush, Castilleja arachnoidea
  • Columbian monkshood, Aconitum columbianum ssp. columbianum
  • Common yarrow, Achillea millefolium
  • Cow parsnip, Heracleum maximum
  • Crimson columbine, Aquilegia formosa
  • Davis knotweed, Aconogonon davisiae
  • Elephant heads, Pedicularis groenlandica
  • Fan leaved cinquefoil, Potentilla flabellifolia
  • Gray’s lovage, Ligusticum grayi
  • Gumweed, Madia gracilis
  • Hairy arnica, Arnica mollis
  • Jessica’s stickseed, Hackelia micrantha
  • Lance leaf self heal, Prunella vulgaris var. lanceolata
  • Large leaved lupine, Lupinus polyphyllus var. burkei
  • Leopard lily, Lilium pardalinum ssp. pardalinum
  • Macloskey’s violet,Viola macloskeyi
  • Meadow larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum
  • Meadow Penstemon, Penstemon rydbergii var. oreocharis
  • Musk monkeyflower, Erythranthe inodora
  • Narrow leaved lotus, Hosackia oblongifolia var. oblongifolia
  • Nevada lewisia, Lewisia nevadensis
  • Oregon checkerbloom, Sidalcea oregana
  • Pacific bleeding heart, Dicentra formosa
  • Plain leaf fawn lily, Erythronium purpurascens
  • Primrose monkeyflower, Erythranthe primuloides
  • Pussytoes, Antennaria spp.
  • Satin lupine, Lupinus obtusilobus
  • Scouler’s st john’s wort, Hypericum scouleri
  • Seep monkey flower,Erythranthe guttata
  • Shasta lily, Lilium pardalinum ssp. shastense
  • Sierra bog orchid, Platanthera dilatata var. leucostachys
  • Spur lupine, Lupinus arbustus
  • Sticky cinquefoil, Drymocallis glandulosa
  • Tall phacelia, Phacelia procera
  • Three leaved lewisia, Lewisia triphylla
  • Tinker’s penny, Hypericum anagalloides
  • Wandering fleabane, Erigeron glacialis var. glacialis
  • Water plantain buttercup, Ranunculus alismifolius var. alismifolius
  • Western waterleaf, Hydrophyllum occidentale
  • White marsh marigold, Caltha leptosepala

The following are non-native plants that we found on this visit as well:

  • Alsike clover, Trifolium hybridum
  • Oxeye daisy, Leucanthemum vulgare

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