Ridge Lakes Winter Camp

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Mount Lassen Volcanic Area, California

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Ridge Lakes Winter Camp


  • A slice of the Lassen Volcanic National Park's winter playground. The Lassen Loop Road as seen here is the starting point for Ridge Lakes.- Ridge Lakes Winter Camp
  • The trail to Ridge Lakes begins on the Lassen Park Highway.- Ridge Lakes Winter Camp
  • Pushing up the Sulphur Creek drainage toward Ridge Lakes.- Ridge Lakes Winter Camp
  • The route to Ridge Lakes.- Ridge Lakes Winter Camp
  • Ridge Lakes (8,000').- Ridge Lakes Winter Camp
  • Leveling out camp.- Ridge Lakes Winter Camp
  • A wind scoured, no-name peak stands watch above Ridge Lakes.- Ridge Lakes Winter Camp
  • View toward Mount Diller (9,087') from Ridge Lakes.- Ridge Lakes Winter Camp
  • Mount Diller (9,087') seen from camp.- Ridge Lakes Winter Camp
  • Ridge Lakes base camp.- Ridge Lakes Winter Camp
  • Ridge Lakes base camp.- Ridge Lakes Winter Camp
  • Heading out for a tour.- Ridge Lakes Winter Camp
  • Dropping into Diller's southwest chute.- Ridge Lakes Winter Camp
  • Mount Diller (9,087').- Ridge Lakes Winter Camp
  • The art of freeheeling, splitboard style.- Ridge Lakes Winter Camp
  • Creek crossing on the descent from Ridge Lakes.- Ridge Lakes Winter Camp
  • - Ridge Lakes Winter Camp
Overview + Weather
Well-positioned camp for skiing Lassen backcountry. Winter solitude.
Mount Lassen Volcanic Area, CA
Max slope angle: 
15-30 degrees
Parking Pass: 
National Park Pass
Total Distance: 
4.00 mi (6.44 km)
Trailhead Elevation: 
6,755.00 ft (2,058.92 m)
Vertical descent: 
1,250.00 ft (381.00 m)
Current Local Weather:
Adventure Description

Adventure Description


The Ridge Lakes area offers a serene winter camping experience in a beautiful Cascade alpine setting. Whether out on a snowshoe or backcountry ski adventure, Ridge Lakes provides an ideal base camp from which to explore the Lassen Volcanic National Park winter wilderness. Nestled in at 8,000 feet, the area is within easy striking distance of the Mount Diller-Pilot Pinnacle saddle and many of the surrounding Lassen peaklets.

To access Ridge Lakes, enter the park at the southwest entrance, leaving your car at the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center. The National Park Service keeps the visitor center restrooms and drinking water available throughout the year. From the visitor center take the easy going Lassen Park Road heading toward Sulfur Works. Popular with cross-country skiers and snowshoers, the park highway remains unplowed and closed to vehicles during the winter.

Follow the Lassen Park Road for about a mile to the Sulphur Works parking area located on the east side of West Sulphur Creek. The Ridge Lakes summer trail begins here. The winter trail more or less follows the same route. As you head up the drainage, stay right of the creek and keep the summit of Mount Diller slightly to your right when it periodically comes into view. You may encounter a creek crossing depending on snowpack depth, but often the creek will be buried under snow at higher elevations.

After another mile and 1,000 feet of climbing you'll reach Ridge Lakes basin. In choosing a campsite, you may find some additional shelter by setting up next to one of the tree stands toward Mount Diller; just make sure your camp is clear of any avalanche terrain traps. Ridge Lakes are frozen throughout the winter, so bring plenty of fuel to melt snow for drinking water.

If you are up there working for turns, you'll find plenty of descent options around Mount Diller and Pilot Pinnacle.

Backcountry Safety

Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.

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Field Guide + Map

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Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(3 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(23 within a 30 mile radius)

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