Whitebark Pine (Pinus albicaulis) in Northern California's Lassen National Forest

Lassen NF Whitebark pines

12. Burney Mountain

13. Thousand Lakes Wilderness

14. Lassen National Park - coming soon

whitebark pine in northern California - home


Burney Mountain

With enough nerve, one can drive to the summit of this mountain along a steep and narrow road that winds around this volcano from the forest near the Thousand Lakes Wilderness. At the summit were about 40 trees of various ages. This population is a true outlier, surviving in the north-facing basin of the ancient volcano. Trees are overall healthy but are infected with white pine blister rust. Visit them if you dare!

Burney Mtn. Whitebark Pine
Windswept and isolated, this population of trees needs monitoring.

Burney Mtn Basin
The north-facing caldera of Burney Mountain holds around 40 whitebark pines, speckled across the volcanic boulders.


Thousand Lakes Wilderness

John Sawyer first told me about these trees and this wilderness about 5 years ago. Outside of the Klamath, this was one of his favorite northern California destinations. After visiting, I understand why. From the Cypress Trailhead, access to the high country takes you through a stand of Baker Cypress and ultimately to lake basins and then ridgelines decorated with beautiful whitebark pine. While blister rust is present at varying degrees, we found little evidence of mountain pine beetle mortality in whitebark (though at some of the "lower" elevations lodgepole pines were beginning to be affected.

Magee Peak
South-face meets north-face.

Crater basin
In the high elevation crater basin, whitebark pine mix with mountain hemlock in a surreal forested moon-scape.

Windswept whitebark
Near the summit of MaGee Peak in the Thousand Lakes Wilderness.

whitebark pine in northern California - home