Spencer Meadow

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Trail Distance: 13.2 miles
Time Estimate: 8 hr 30 min +
Elevation Gain: 1700 feet
Leash Rule: On Leash
Difficulty: Hard
Parking: Free
Route Type: Loop
Restroom: No
Description

The Spencer Meadow hike is an excellent option for people interested in seeing the landscapes of the Lassen Volcanic National Park with a dog by their side. While the national park doesn't allow dogs on its trails, the Lassen National Forest does, and this particular National Forest trail is located right outside of the national park. Note that GPS might not take you to the right spot on Highway 36. The best way to find the trailhead is to look about a quarter-mile south of The Village at Childs Meadow and the Highlands Ranch Resort.

The Spencer Meadow Loop ends at a lower elevation than other nearby trails, making it a good option for a snow-free hike at the times of year when other routes are covered by snow. That said, you'll still be climbing nearly 1700 feet from start to end on the Spencer Meadow Trail, making this a fairly challenging hike. You'll be rewarded for your efforts with beautiful views of alpine meadows crossed by gently flowing creeks and conifers clinging to chiseled rock faces. Most spectacularly, the Spencer Meadow Trail passes by the fifty-foot Canyon Creek waterfall and views of Lassen Park landmarks like Brokeoff Peak and Lassen Peak.

You'll enjoy these majestic sights and the abundant local flora and fauna in relative solitude on this hidden gem of a trail. The forests feature a mix of aspen, Ponderosa pine, white fir, black oak, sugar pine, and incense cedar. Bald eagles and ospreys soar overhead while black bears, American marten, mountain lions, and mule deer roam through the forest. Smaller critters likely to capture curious canines' attention include different species of rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks. If you're lucky, you might spot an adorable pika, or "rock rabbit," scampering across some boulders.

Plan your hike here carefully as it will take the better part of a day even for a relatively well-conditioned hiker. It's not a bad idea to bring camping gear along. Backcountry camping is allowed in the Lassen National Forest and there is a designated campsite near the end of the loop in Spencer Meadow. What better way to end your day than giving your good dog some pets while the sun sets behind the peaks?

Trail Features
Grassland, Mountains, Steep Inclines, Forest
Scenic, Waterfall, Wildflowers, Abundant Wildlife
Cautions & Considerations
Predators including mountain lions, coyotes, and black bears live in these forests and meadows. Be sure to keep your dog on a leash and close to you for their safety. You should also bring your own water and sunblock, as some parts of this hike take place in full sun exposure. Check alerts from Lassen Volcanic National Park and Lassen National Forest to determine if there are any active forest fires or trail closures.
Address
42000 Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway
Mill Creek, CA 96061
Hours
Mon Open 24 Hours
Tue Open 24 Hours
Wed Open 24 Hours
Thu Open 24 Hours
Fri Open 24 Hours
Sat Open 24 Hours
Sun Open 24 Hours
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Address
42000 Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway
Mill Creek, CA 96061
Hours
Mon Open 24 Hours
Tue Open 24 Hours
Wed Open 24 Hours
Thu Open 24 Hours
Fri Open 24 Hours
Sat Open 24 Hours
Sun Open 24 Hours