Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
3,045.00 ft (928.12 m)
Trail type
10.20 mi (16.42 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

You won't see many crowds in the Thousand Lakes Wilderness even though it is notable for including the highest point in the Lassen National Forest (Crater Peak) and for being one of the nation's original wilderness areas. Crater Peak forms the high point of a broad, extinct volcano that had its northeast quadrant eroded by glacial action. Magee Peak is a secondary high point that is accessible by hiking along a chain of lakes and ponds through the belly of the crater.

The route to Magee Peak begins at the Cypress Trailhead. This first leg of the trail brings you through a forest of lichen-clad red and white fir. Turn south onto the Magee Trail when you reach the intersection (or continue straight if you would like to detour to Lake Eiler, the largest lake in the wilderness). After crossing Eiler Gulch you will spend some time winding through manzanita-carpeted landscapes. By the time you reach Everett Lake, you will notice that you have entered the glacially carved crater. Magee Lake follows, and both lakes make a great spot to go for a swim or enjoy lunch.

The elevation gain begins to accelerate beyond the lakes, and geologic features such as the Red Cliffs become easily visible. A set of switchbacks will lift you to the rim of the mountain where you can catch a side trail west to Magee Peak. The view here is spectacular as you find yourself caught between Mount Lassen and Mount Shasta.

Note that the Eiler Fire burned through several of the dirt access roads in August, 2014. All closures and restrictions were lifted in September 2014.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Great Views. Solitude. Wilderness lakes.


Hard to find. Rough dirt roads.

Trailhead Elevation

5,366.00 ft (1,635.56 m)


Big vistas
Geologically significant


Nearby Adventures

Mount Shasta + Medicine Lake Area, California
Lassen Volcanic National Park


Hi Rose, I double checked my notes and route and it is a little over 10 miles round trip if you're just doing Cypress Trailhead to Magee Peak and back. Add a few tenths of a mile to check out the lakes! The trail does continue down the south side of Magee peak to another trailhead (which I did as a shuttle hike - I don't recommend as the scenery is uninteresting on the south side of the peak and the roads were difficult). Maybe the guidebook is adding that section? Cheers!
This says the trail is 10.2 miles, but I have a hiking guide on Lassen Park that says this trail starting from Cypress and ending at Magee Peak, then back out again is 16 miles. Does anyone have any input? The difference in miles would definitely need an extra day tacked on to the trip.
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