Mount Harkness



Country: United States

Location: Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

Round trip: 6.1 km round trip; 8.8 km loop..

Start elevation: 2070 m

Final elevation: 2452

Maps: 1:42,500, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Earthwalk Press

Contributor: Dave Dobak

getting there

From California Highway 36 in the town of Chester, follow Feather River Drive about 1.1 km, then turn right on Juniper Lake Road (gravel) about 18 km to the trailhead at Juniper Lake Ranger Station and Campground.

partial plant list

Penstemon gracilentus

Orobanche pinorum

Lupinus obtusilobus

Streptanthus sp.

Monardella odoratissima

Viola purpurea

Holodiscus microphyllus


This excellent trail climbs though forest and open woodland to an active fire lookout.  Thin forest at the bottom gives way to meadows for most of the distance.  Large expanses of the mountainside are covered with monocultures of Lupinus obtusilobusCycladenia humilis flowers at the summit in July.  The plant is restricted to a plot the size of a small city lot, but there it is abundant.  This member of the Apocynaceae grows only 12 inches (30 cm) tall, straggling along the ground.  Without flowers or fruit, one might casually mistake it for Polygonum davisiae that is found commonly in sandy areas throughout the park.  Gallium grayanum grew in amongst the Cycladenia, and we found Orobanche pinorum parasitic on Holodiscus microphyllus.  Penstemon gracilentus is common in the forest.

You may return from the summit by the direct route, or make a loop that takes in another slope of Mt. Harkness then follows the shore of Juniper Lake back to the trailhead.


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