|Length||1.7 miles one-way|
|+200, -1050 one-way|
|Time||Short (few hours if skied in reverse direction)|
|Season||December through April|
|Snowmobiles Use||Not permitted [Please report illegal use of snowmobiles in this area.]|
|USGS Topo||7.5' series, Lassen Peak, Reading Peak|
|Start||Snow-covered Lassen Park Road at the location east of Lake Helen where the road makes a turn to the north (left) and begins to climb. This location is 6.2 miles from the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center.|
|End||Snow-covered Lassen Park Road at the turnoff to Kings Creek Picnic Area which is located 11.0 miles from the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center.|
The Helen Lake Cutoff is an excellent way to reach the heart of Lassen's backcountry in a single day. Skiing the cutoff reduces the tour from the visitor center to the Kings Creek Picnic Area to 7.9 miles, a reduction of 3.1 miles. The Kings Creek area offers excellent overnight camping and access to other destinations.
Waypoint 1 to 2
Miles: 0.0 - 0.2
Elevation change: +100
Leave Lassen Park Road (1) and climb southeast for 0.2 mile until you reach a saddle (2).
Waypoint 2 to 3
Miles: 0.2 - 0.6
Elevation change: -300
Descend east for 0.4 mile until you reach the center of a large, open, flat area (3).
Waypoint 3 to 4
Miles: 0.6 - 0.9
Elevation change: -200
Descend northeast for 0.3 mile until you reach Kings Creek (4).
Waypoint 4 to 5
Miles: 0.9 - 1.7
Elevation change: +100, -550
Traverse and climb east out of the Kings Creek drainage for 0.1 mile, then descend southeast and parallel to Kings Creek for 0.6 mile, and when you reach level terrain turn north and ski for 0.1 mile until you reach the Lassen Park Road (5) at the turnoff to the Kings Creek Picnic Area.
As you descend stay far enough northeast of the creek in order to avoid the worst terrain. When you near the bottom you must be close enough to the creek to avoid a cliff. Although the road into the picnic area will not be visible, the sign for the turnoff probably will be.