Description - The Modoc National Forest is a land of contrasts and unspoiled vacation-hideaway settings. Nestled in the extreme northeastern corner of California, the Forest offers mountains, pine forests, meadows, lakes, streams, rugged canyons, wetlands, lava beds and high desert plateaus. The Modoc offers you beautiful scenery, varied terrain, abundant wildlife and a memorable visitor experience.
- Some of the Forest's attractions are described below.
Blue Lake is a beautiful deep-blue 160 acre lake surrounded by ponderosa pine, white fir trees and meadows and is located approximately 15 miles east of the town of Likely, and 35 miles south of Alturas, in the South Warner Mountains. The road to the lake is paved but is not plowed in winter. The lake, sits at an elevation of 6,000 feet, and is a natural lake that sustains a good population of rainbow and brown trout. Facilities include a boat ramp and a campground. There are wheelchair accessible restrooms, a trail, and fishing pier. The managed season of use is from Memorial Day through October 15. The Blue Lake Trail is 1.5 miles long, beginning at the Blue Lake Campground, the trail continues around the west side of the lake to the boat ramp. Wildlife is frequently seen by hikers while walking the trail. The Blue Lake National Recreation Trail is closed to all motorized vehicles.
The Medicine Lake Highlands area is located near the western boundary of the Modoc National Forest. The Highlands were formed with the development of a broad shield volcano. In your travels you will see most of the rim volcanoes, including Mt. Hoffman, Medicine Mountain, Badger Peak, Grouse Hill, Red Shale Butte, Glass Mountain, and Lyons Peak. Medicine Lake Highlands is also an area of moderately sloping to steep mountains. Snow usually closes the Medicine Lake area from mid-November thru mid-June to all but snowmobiles and cross-country skiers.
The South Warner Mountain Wilderness is located in the southeast section of the Warner Mountain Ranger District. The Wilderness offers breathless vistas and the highest peaks in northeast California. Seven high mountain peaks dominate the South Warner Wilderness. The three most distinctive are Squaw Peak, Warren Peak and Eagle Peak, with Eagle Peak reaching to almost 9,900 feet. Massive cliffs rising dramatically behind Patterson Lake to the north of Warren Peak are typical of the strikingly beautiful geography in the Wilderness.
Modoc County is home to more than 300 species of wildlife. The Pacific Flyway crosses directly over the area. During migration from Alaska and Canada to Mexico, hundreds of thousands of waterfowl use local wetlands and streams as rest stops. Mule deer, pronghorn antelope, Rocky Mountain elk and wild horses and burros are several of the interesting large mammals found on the Forest.
Recreation - Camping: You can choose from a wide variety of campgrounds or undeveloped sites on the Modoc National Forest. All developed campgrounds have stoves or grills, tables, vault toilets and many areas have piped water for drinking. Some campgrounds have both tent and trailer spaces and the more developed campgrounds charge a user fee.
Boating: Most lakes and reservoirs will accommodate small motor boats, sailboats, row boats, canoes, etc. Motor boats are prohibited on the South Warner Wilderness Area lakes and on Lily and Cave lakes. Use and speed restrictions are in place on Medicine Lake. Speed is limited to 5 mph on Blue Lake.
Fishing: Many of the reservoirs, streams and lakes are stocked with rainbow, German brown and eastern brook trout throughout the summer season. Bass and catfish are found in many of the reservoirs. Little Medicine Lake in the Medicine Lake Highlands is stocked with arctic grayling.
Hunting: The Modoc is a very popular hunting area. Mule deer and pronghorn antelope are common big game species while the numerous lakes and reservoirs support waterfowl.
Winter Sports: The Warner Mountains and Medicine Lake Highlands present opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The Warner Mountains provide easy slopes for the beginning skier, moderate slopes for the more experienced skier and rugged areas for the most skilled skier are available. The Modoc Ski Club maintains a surface ski lift in the Warner Mountains on Cedar Pass near Highway 299. Medicine Lake Highlands offers 31 miles of groomed trails that provide breathtaking views of Mt. Shasta. A snowmobile trailhead is located at Doorknob Snowmobile Park, one and a half miles south of Lava Beds National Monument.
Climate - The variable climate ranges from warm, dry summers to cold, severe, moderately wet winters. Temperatures range from highs of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit for a few weeks intermittently each summer, although they can drop to below freezing every month of the year. Winter temperatures reach as low as -35 degrees Fahrenheit, although common daytime temperatures rise to the 30's and 40's. Approximately 13 inches of annual precipitation falls primarily as rain and about 25% as snow. Prevailing southwest breezes below daily clearing the air and bringing frequent weather changes.
The Modoc National Forest is located in the northeast corner of California. The Forest is headquartered in Alturas, with offices also found in Tulelake, Cedarville and Adin. The Forest is crossed by California Highways 139 and 299, and US Highway 395.