Nanny Creek / Dry Lake Trail

Mount Lassen Volcanic Area, California

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Nanny Creek / Dry Lake Trail


  • Parking is along the shoulder beside the signed trailhead.- Nanny Creek / Dry Lake Trail
  • The trail heads down Forest Road 29N22.- Nanny Creek / Dry Lake Trail
  • The trail is wide and easy to follow, with gradual slopes.- Nanny Creek / Dry Lake Trail
  • Trees and creeks along the path.- Nanny Creek / Dry Lake Trail
  • Nanny Creek Trail.- Nanny Creek / Dry Lake Trail
  • A creek along the Nanny Creek Trail.- Nanny Creek / Dry Lake Trail
  • Nanny Creek Trail.- Nanny Creek / Dry Lake Trail
  • Nanny Creek Trail.- Nanny Creek / Dry Lake Trail
  • The mountain's tall trees provide a great backdrop for this ski route.- Nanny Creek / Dry Lake Trail
  • Shortly after crossing Nanny Creek is a wide vista area that made for a great turnaround point.- Nanny Creek / Dry Lake Trail
Overview + Weather
Gradual slopes. Turnaround at any distance you'd like.
Creek crossing requires some maneuvering.
Mount Lassen Volcanic Area, CA
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
315.00 ft (96.01 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Total Distance: 
4.50 mi (7.24 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
6,181.00 ft (1,883.97 m)
Current Local Weather:
Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Pro Contributor

The Nanny Creek/Dry Lake Trail lies within the McGowan Cross Country Ski Area, a network of forest roads that encompasses about 10 miles of ski trails during the winter months when these roads remain unmaintained and beneath snow.

The Dry Lake/Nanny Creek Trail itself follows Forest Road 29N22, which steadily climbs about 50 feet in elevation over the first 1.25 miles before becoming a mostly gradual downhill grade, weaving amongst creeks, dense forest, and open vistas of the southerly mountains. Portions of the road do receive very sporadic grooming, and the ski route is generally marked as easy; however, there are a couple of steeper portions and creek crossings that act as obstacles to an otherwise smooth glide down the road.

Other trails branch off from the Dry Lake/Nanny Creek Trail, including trails to nearby Christie Hill, though many are poorly marked, so it may be a good idea to go into your ski with a map, available here.

Though the trail comes to an end at Dry Lake Campground nearly 10 miles from the trailhead, variable snow conditions at the lower trail elevations contribute to this trail being a nice route where skiers can turn around wherever they determine a comfortable distance. 

Nanny Creek is crossed at about 1.85 miles, and less than a half-mile beyond that is an open vista of other mountain peaks visible over the forest of Jeffrey pines, with off-trail boulders making a good spot to sit and take in the view.

The McGowan Cross Country Ski Area is free to access, though there are no amenities of any kind at the trail. Bathrooms and drinking fountains can be found in the Visitor Center at Lassen Volcanic National Park's southwest entrance gate a couple miles up the road, though this requires a national park entrance fee.

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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Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(3 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(24 within a 30 mile radius)

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