Thousand Lakes Wilderness

Area Status: Open
Seiler Lake

Located within the southern portion of the Cascade Mountain Range is 16,335 acres of contrasting topography. Thousand Lakes Wilderness is midway between the town of Burney and Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Volcanic and glacial formations, rocky ravines, mountain slopes, open meadows, and stands of lodgepole pine and red fir define the Wilderness. It is dominated by 8,677 foot Crater Peak, the highest point on the Lassen National Forest, and is a reminder of the glacial action that eroded Thousand Lakes Volcano and created the many small lakes and ponds scattered throughout. The lowest point in the Wilderness occurs at the base of the volcano at 5,546 feet.

The seven major lakes that lie within the Wilderness valley contain trout. Several species of wildlife make their home in the Wilderness. With a little luck and a good pair of binoculars you might spot some the more permanent residents; black-tailed deer, black bear, pika, pine marten, northern goshawk, spotted owl, pileated woodpecker, and Clark's nutcracker. Even elk have been known to visit occasionally.

Another critter worth mentioning is the mosquito. At times they are thick and hungry. It would be advisable to carry insect repellent in your pack.

The summer use period is approximately June 15 to October 15, although early spring could open up the lower areas by Memorial Day. Your experience will be enhanced and impacts will lessened by avoiding weekends and holidays, and heavily used areas.

Conditions may change rapidly. Be prepared for inclement weather.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Thousand Lakes Wilderness is generally open June to October depending when roads become driveable after snow has melted in the spring and in the fall when roads are not driveable due to snow and ice. The area is not currently maintained, use at your discretion. 
Operational Hours: Thousand Lakes Wilderness is generally open June to October depending on road accessibility to due to snow and ice creating road conditions that are impassable. The area is not maintained, use at your discretion.
Reservations: No permit needed.
Fees: No fee.
Permit Info: No wilderness permits required. Campfire permits are required for stoves and lanterns.
Open Season: Late May/ Early June - October
Usage: Light-Medium
Best Season: Summer
Restrictions: Follow Leave No Trace (LNT) principles. Pack it in, pack it out.
Closest Towns: Thousand Lakes is centrally located between Burney and Lassen Volcanic National Park. Nearest provisions are in Old Station or Burney.
Water: No
Restroom: Vault toilets at some trailheads.
Operated By: USDA Forest Service
Information Center: Hat Creek Ranger District PO BOX 220 Fall River Mills CA 96071 530-336-5521

General Information


Adequate parking for horse trailers.

General Notes:

For more information and Topographic Maps:
Contact the Hat Creek Ranger District at P.O. Box 220, Fall River Mills, CA 96028, (530) 336-5521.

For more information and Topographic Maps:
A topographic map that includes Thousand Lakes, Caribou, and the Ishi Wilderness areas is available for purchase at the Hat Creek Ranger District and the Old Station Visitor Information Center. For questions and pricing or if you would like one mailed to you, please contact the Hat Creek Ranger District at (530) 336-5521.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Dispersed Camping

Recreation areas with activity Dispersed Camping:

Lake and Pond Fishing

Recreation areas with activity Lake and Pond Fishing:

Day Hiking

Recreation areas with activity Day Hiking:

22 miles of hiking trail through scenic country.  Loop trails available.


Recreation areas with activity Backpacking:

Horse Camping

Recreation areas with activity Horse Camping:

Horse Riding

Recreation areas with activity Horse Riding:


Recreation areas with activity Swimming:

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities