The trail surrounding Reflection Lake is located in Lassen Volcanic National Park. This short loop trail offers stunning reflective views of it’s nearby surroundings. 

Hiking Reflection Lake Trail

About three hundred years ago a massive rock avalanche fell from the nearby lava domes known as Chaos Crags. This rock avalanche traveled at one hundred miles an hour to the northwest and laid out a large path of destruction. Manzanita Creek which flows nearby became dammed by the massive rock slide and formed the larger Manzanita Lake and smaller neighbor, Reflection Lake. 

It’s no mistake for the name behind Reflection Lake. The usual calm waters provide mirror like reflections of its nearby surroundings. The trail is relatively short and flat and skirts around the edges of the lake. The ease of the trail makes this hike a good option for those with little time or unable to do longer hikes. There will be the opportunity for bird watching, wildlife viewing, and wildflowers.

On A Personal Note

This is a short trail that is very easily accessed. The evening brings about beautiful golden hues along the lake. I highly recommend stopping by here if time permits. The entire trail does not need to be hiked in order to enjoy some of the views. There is a small area along the main highway where cars can pull off the road for viewing. 

Do you have any updates to the hiking trail or want to share your hike/pictures? Please leave a comment below.

  • Overall Difficulty: 15% 15%
  • Overall Views: 90% 90%
Reflection Lake Trail Quick Facts:
  • Elevation: 5,909 feet.
  • Elevation Gain: 10 feet.
  • Estimated Distance: 0.6 miles.
  • Estimated Time: 30-60 minutes
Reflection Lake Trail Directions:
Open in maps. Cost is admission to Lassen Volcanic National Park. An America The Beautiful pass will also work. The trailhead is located off of the Lassen Volcanic Highway. There is a small amount of parking alongside the road. Otherwise the next best option would be parking at the Loomis Ranger Station near the north entrance to the park. The ranger station is practically across the street. 

Because of the elevation and northerly location, this area gets an abundant amount of snowfall. Snow can start accumulating as soon as September and end as late as May. Please check with the National Park Service for current road conditions. During the busy season this area may fill up quickly after the morning hours. 


Reflection Lake Trail Pictures:
Who Reflection Lake Trail Is For:
Novice Hikers: This short trail is mostly flat with a very short total distance. It is a great options for novice hikers or for those people that aren’t able to do longer hikes. 

Advanced Hikers: Advanced hikers will be left desiring more. Pulling off to the side of the road can be adequate to see the reflective qualities of the lake as pictured in this guide. 

Expert Hikers: It’s a short trail with rewarding views. For something a little more challenging, include the Manzanita Lake Trail across the street.  

It’s always a good idea to be aware of what type of hiking level you’re at.

Best Time Of Year To Hike Reflection Lake Trail:
This is an area that experiences all four seasons so prepare accordingly. The best time of year to hike this trail will depend on personal taste. Each season can bring about it’s own beauty. Winter can bring snow and ice on the trail on a regular basis. During the spring, the lake levels will be at the highest after it has been replenished from snow and rain. Visiting during the late spring can also offer some pretty nice views of Lassen Peak covered in snow before it melts. The summer months can have some wonderful flower blooms.  Fall can be a quiet time to visit after the busy season.

It’s always a good idea to check the weather before heading out on a hike.

Reflection Lake Trail Conditions:
This trail is in excellent condition, maintained by the National Park Service, and very well marked. Ground conditions include mostly lose soil. The trail can be hiked in either a clockwise or counterclockwise fashion. From the southern side of the lake, the reflective views will be of the dense pine forest to the opposite side. In order to view the reflection of Chaos Crags and Lassen Peak one will need to get to the northwest side of the lake.

The morning and evening hours are the best times to view the lake’s reflective qualities. It’s during those times of the day when the winds are the most calm. There is no poison oak along the trail and no concern for rattlesnakes. Some larger wildlife like bears and deer could be encountered along the trail.