Butte County High Point Trip Report

Lost Lake Ridge

Date: September 24, 2002
Author: Peter Maurer

Our second peak of the day, we did not reach the trail head until nearly 3:30 pm. Fortunately, unseasonably warm weather made this a most pleasant late-afternoon, early-evening hike. A couple of corrections to Gary Suttle's guidebook directions: It is 3 miles to the trail head once pavement ends, and just after you hit the dirt, take the left fork of the road (uphill).

As Suttle's book describes, the route follows the Pacific Crest Trail through White Fir forests and winds its way along a volcanic ridge line, with some very interesting formations. Mt. Lassen dominates the skyline to the north, with some dramatic views until the trail enters a thickly wooded area. The trail climbs steadily along the ridge line through the woods, an area of 2nd growth fir, with markings for what appeared to be another timber sale. This could change the nature of the hike in the future.

After about 4 miles, the trail dips to the southeast and it is a short walk through open old growth fir and low-growing manzanita to the apparent high point. Unfortunately, we missed this turn, and hiked for an additional 1/2 mile to a second knob along the ridge line that appeared to be the highpoint. Since it is rather indistinct, and a relatively thickly wooded area, it was difficult to tell for certain. We wandered around, stood on several points which appeared to stand out slightly from the rest of the terrain, then headed back. After hiking back to the first knoll, we noticed that it appeared to be higher than the other, and after a brief search found a cairn and register. The true highpoint is relatively open, is a large boulder about 3 - 4 feet tall covered in manzanita. From the trail, shortly after leaving the dense forest and the trail levels off, you cross an open stretch covered in manzanita not more than 1 - 2 feet tall. You then enter some well-spaced old- growth fir, and a fallen log lies across the trail, with a section cut out for the trail to pass. The bark has been pealed off and it is an obvious resting spot for hikers along the PCT. From here, strike out to the south for a couple hundred yards and one can't miss the HP.

The view from the HP is obscured by trees for the most part, but along the trail leading to it are great views of the northern Sierra. We could identify Mt. Ingalls to the southeast, which we had climbed that morning, and Lassen towered over all to the north. The sun set over the Coast Range and Snow Mountain (Mendocino & Colusa Counties) as we hiked out, and got back to the trail head just as it got dark.

A successful day!