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Big Nasty Trail + Hidden Valley

Lava Beds National Monument

Warner Mountains + Modoc Plateau, California

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Big Nasty Trail + Hidden Valley

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  • Walking up the stone steps on the Big Nasty Trail.- Big Nasty Trail + Hidden Valley
  • Mammoth Crater.- Big Nasty Trail + Hidden Valley
  • Inside of Mammoth Crater.- Big Nasty Trail + Hidden Valley
  • Walking up the stone steps on the Big Nasty Trail.- Big Nasty Trail + Hidden Valley
  • Views along the Big Nasty Trail.- Big Nasty Trail + Hidden Valley
  • Textured lava rock.- Big Nasty Trail + Hidden Valley
  • Mountain mahogany along the Big Nasty Trail.- Big Nasty Trail + Hidden Valley
  • Sun-bleached tree limbs lay on the Big Nasty Trail.- Big Nasty Trail + Hidden Valley
  • Rugged lava flow along the Big Nasty Trail.- Big Nasty Trail + Hidden Valley
  • Branches of mountain mahogany.- Big Nasty Trail + Hidden Valley
  • Looking at the Big Nasty Lava Flow.- Big Nasty Trail + Hidden Valley
  • Overlooking Hidden Valley.- Big Nasty Trail + Hidden Valley
  • Sun-bleached tree limbs lay on the Big Nasty Trail.- Big Nasty Trail + Hidden Valley
  • Rugged lava flow along the Big Nasty Trail.- Big Nasty Trail + Hidden Valley
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Short trails. Solitude.
Cons: 
None.
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Region:
Warner Mountains + Modoc Plateau, CA
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
No
Highest point: 
5,380.00 ft (1,639.82 m)
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
Park entrance fee
Permit required: 
No
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Fall, Winter
Total Distance: 
2.40 mi (3.86 km)
Total elevation gain: 
340.00 ft (103.63 m)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
5,320.00 ft (1,621.54 m)
Typically multi-day: 
No
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

The Big Nasty trail, named for the nearby "big and nasty" lava field, travels through volcanic terrain in the Lava Beds National Monument. Before turning here, take a short, paved path to the first point of interest: Mammoth Crater. Mammoth Crater was the source of about 70% of the lava flow within the monument. As lava poured out of nearby vents, the earth above the crater sank, creating the steep-sided depression you can see today. Two viewpoints with interpretive signs explain the volcanic history at this site.

Continue on the Big Nasty Trail to explore a 2-mile loop with views of the rugged, black lava flow. Contrary to the trail name, the path is actually quite pleasant, following a soft pumice path. Juniper, mountain mahogany and desert shrubs decorate the landscape. Look for colorful moss, lichens and seasonal wildflowers. If you're lucky you may spot deer, pika, jackrabbits or even badger!

After completing the loop, cross the road and follow a 0.2-mile trail to an overlook of Hidden Valley. The trail travels along a cliff edge above the valley. A ponderosa pine forest fills the valley below. Hidden Valley was formed when the roof of an immense lava tube collapsed.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(1 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(11 within a 30 mile radius)

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