Steal My Northern California Summer Bucket List

The sun has inspired me to start thinking more about summer. In case you missed it, one of the activities I am stoked for this summer is bouldering, either at some of the indoor gyms around here or hopefully out in nature.

That being said, I am a goal-oriented person and wanted to give you my top 5 To-Do List this summer. Feel free to steal these or suggest your own! Without further ado, here is my Northern California Summer Bucket List:

Hike Lassen Peak

I’ve attempted it twice before, and twice the trail was under construction. This hike is not particularly difficult (in the sense that at the end, you will have summited a 10,457 foot peak but without any crampons or climbing equipment, just hiking shoes and the right attitude).

I am excited to finally get the chance to see the view from the top of one of my favorite local peaks! This time I will definitely research trail conditions before starting, rather than following my usual bad habit of just diving headfirst into a trail without too much preparation.

Learn more about hiking to the summit of Lassen Peak

Camp Under the Stars at Lava Beds National Monument

The last time I was here my ankle was injured and I couldn’t put weight on it, so I never went down into the famous caves that my friends had raved about. (In hindsight, I should have gone anyway, but contradicting my earlier statement, this is one time I thought it best for me to guard the car rather than put weight on my twisted (?) ankle).

Still, I crave the kind of caving that it has to offer, exploring the variety and numerous caves that the Monument has to offer. Then, after exploring the darkness of the subterranean world, to spend a night under the milky way which I can only assume would be visible without much, if any, light pollution, sounds absolutely wondrous.

Learn more about an underground visit to the Lava Beds National Monument

Backpack to Heart Lake

Unknown Object

Near Mt. Shasta and past Castle Lake, which is beautiful in it’s own right, is a lake I’ve only heard of. I believe it can be done in a day trip but I want practice carrying what I need on my back and packing less. I am a notorious over-packer, so the experience, and the views would be worth it.

Learn more about the hike to Heart Lake

Explore the Russian Wilderness

This was actually inspired by a video I had seen at the Sundial Film Festival. Survivorman (read more about it here) is the short video that sees eight teenagers and three adults basically live off the land in the Russian Wilderness. It is a fun video, and the land they are hiking in is absolutely stunning.

Hike to Feather Falls

Sadly, growing up I was not aware that Feather Falls was anything more than a Casino. Still, seeing pictures and videos of it only make me want to go more. Also, I feel like some of the other hikes are kind of short, so with this one being a 9 mile round trip I feel like it would be a better challenge to myself.  

Plus the fact that the loop is about a 9 mile round trip makes me feel like it would be a be a better challenge distance-wise than the rest on this trip. Plus, the tougher the hike, the more valuable the views.

Learn more about the hike to Feather Falls

Your summer is what you make of it, so be sure to go out and explore as many of the wonders around you as possible. There are so many more hikes and locales, these are just the ones I feel I can’t go into 2018 without having done.

So what about you? Which peaks will you summit, which falls will you gaze upon, or which spots will you camp at?

Ryan Loughrey

Ryan has been wandering the PNW since 1993. Follow his blog at


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