Shortly before our Lassen trip, I was cruising Google Maps in satellite view and stumbled upon the after-effect of a dramatic volcanic eruption. Flipping back to the awesome Terrain view, I discovered that these were the Fantastic Lava Beds, and were apparently accessible by trail from our campground at Summit Lake.
I had this strong desire to go there—I mean how many chances to you get to climb a volcano?—the only problem being that it was about 8 miles from the campsite, not the low key-hiking I’d promised my camping comrades. So I pretty much figured we’d have to forgo it when Stephanie realized we could drive around the park and enter at Butte Lake, putting us within two miles of the Cinder Cone. So that’s just what we did.