Big Nasty Trail

Lava Beds National Monument
Located 18.5 miles from Tulelake, California (CA)
4 Stars
4,501 Steps 1  (2.1 mi)

The Big Nasty trailhead is located near the Mammoth Crater viewpoint. The trail starts along the crater rim and crosses a rough lava field covered with brush. There are views of the many cinder cone volcanoes and surrounding lava fields from this trail.

Big Nasty TrailBig Nasty Trail HikeLava Flow at Big Nasty Trail


The Big Nasty Trail has a maximum elevation of 5,421 ft (1,652 m), a minimum elevation of 5,178 ft (1,578 m), and an elevation range of 243 ft (74 m).


[ A to B ] or [ B to A ]
Steps 1Length 2Min Ele 3Max Ele 4
4,5012.1 mi5,178 ft5,421 ft
[ A to B ]
Time 5Floors 6Gain 7Loss 8
55 min21.7260 ft208 ft
[ B to A ]
53 min17.3208 ft260 ft

What is the length of the Big Nasty Trail?

The length of the trail is 2.1 mi (3.3 km) or 4,501 steps.

How long does it take to hike the Big Nasty Trail?

A person in good physical health can hike the trail in 55 min in the [ A to B ] direction, and in 53 min in the [ B to A ] direction.


The following chart shows the total calories that you may expend on the trail while hiking in the [ A to B ] and [ B to A ] direction at a typical speed and is based on gross weight (which includes anything carried), the topography, trail length and trail conditions.

Topo Maps

Download the free Big Nasty Trail topo map and the adjoining quads to plan your hike. These are full-sheet, 7.5 Minute (1:24,000 scale) Lava Beds National Monument topographic maps. Do you want full-sheet outdoor recreation JPEG Topo Maps?

Adjoining 7.5' Quadrangle Legend

  1. Northwest Topo Map: Mount Dome, CA
  2. North Topo Map: Captain Jacks Stronghold, CA
  3. Northeast Topo Map: The Panhandle, CA
  4. West Topo Map: Bonita Butte, CA
  5. Topo Map: Schonchin Butte, CA
  6. East Topo Map: Caldwell Butte, CA
  7. Southwest Topo Map: Little Glass Mountain, CA
  8. South Topo Map: Medicine Lake, CA
  9. Southeast Topo Map: West of Kephart, CA

Is there a Big Nasty trail map?

Yes, and it's free! The Big Nasty Trail is located on the Schonchin Butte topo map. Use the adjoining quadrangle legend to download the map.



  1. Steps is a unit of distance equal to the sum of stride lengths that vary with the terrain.
  2. Length is the distance of the trail between the two trailheads, measured on the trail.
  3. Min Ele is the minimum elevation on the trail.
  4. Max Ele is the maximum elevation on the trail.
  5. Time is the typical total time required to hike the trail.
  6. Floors is the gain divided by twelve, the height of one floor.
  7. Gain (cumulative elevation gain) is the sum of every gain in elevation.
  8. Loss (cumulative elevation loss) is the sum of every loss in elevation.