Landmarks & Points of Interest

The Warner Mountains are a short spur of the Cascade Mountain Range, and named in memory of Captain W. H. Warner of the US Army Engineers. Captain Warner was killed in 1849 while examining the routes from Humboldt Valley, Nevada to the Sacramento River in California.

The Warner Mountains, bounded on the east by Surprise Valley and on the west by Goose Lake and the Devilís Garden plateau, make up the eastern portion of the Modoc National Forest. The western face of the Warners has moderate to steep slopes while the eastern face is very steep.

South Warner Wilderness - Located in the southeast section of the Warner Mountains, the South Warner Wilderness Area is 18 miles long by eight mile wide. The wilderness offers breathless vistas and the highest peaks in northeast California. All of Modoc County, much of Lassen County, and the Black Rock Desert in northwestern Nevada are visible from higher elevations. Mt. Shasta and Mt. Lassen can be seen in distant panorama.

In addition to breathtaking scenery, ample opportunities arise for hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, boating, hunting and fishing. It also offers snowcapped peaks, mountain meadows, sparkling streams, trout fishing amid scenic grandeur, a profusion of colorful flowers and shrubs, and countless birds and small animals.

For the hiker or horseback rider, the wilderness area offers 77 miles of trails, with trail elevations ranging from 7,000 to 9,000 feet. With the combination of trailheads, a person can travel five to 70 mile loops with little or no area covered twice.

Winter sports are limited in the wilderness due to restricted access and high snow levels; however, ice fishing is popular at Clear Lake. Snowshoeing and Nordic skiing are also popular sports during the winter seasons

For more detailed information on the South Warner Wilderness Area, trailheads and trails, you can contact the Warner Mountain Ranger District office in Cedarville, or the Modoc National Forest supervisorís office located in Alturas.

Fort Bidwell in Surprise Valley was the site of a cavalry unit established in the 1860s to protect settlers against Indian attacks. State Historical Landmark No., 430.

Abandoned homesteads dot the forest and represent the failed hopes and dreams of early settlers.

Happy Camp & Surgar Hill Lookouts offer splendid views and illustrate early Forest Service conservation history.

Stone circles, rock piles, petroglyps (Rock Art) and other stone features speak for 10,000 years of Native American occupation.

Basque tree carvings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries in mountain meadows.

A visit to the Modoc County Museum in Alturas will enrich your understanding of this land filled with lava flows, forested ranges, and wide-open vistas.

Site of the Tule Lake Relocation Center in Newell illuminates a dark time in U.S. history when during WWII nearly 19,000 Japanese-Americans were forced to live there between 1942-1946.

Cressler-Bonner Trading Post located in Cedarville, this old log cabin still stand today. It was the first trading post in Modoc County and was originally located there by a man named Townsend in 1865. State Historical Landmark No. 14.

Fandango Massacre - although historians disagree on the exact location, it is believed that it was here in October of 1855 that a large wagon train of nearly 200 emigrants was entirely wiped out as they danced the Fandango in celebration of having at last reached California. To this day fragments of the massacre by the lusty Piautes may still be picked up by the more intent relic hunters. State Historical Landmark No. 546.

Applegate Trail - established in October of 1846 by the Applegate brothers, this trail brought settlers into southern Oregon country and through the dreaded Modoc lands. The land between Goose Lake and Tule Lake was the scene of many an Indian foray on early wagon trains. Modoc tribes and frontier officials estimated 412 pioneers met their doom here between 1846 and 1852 alone.

The Emigrant Trail - Registered as State Historical Landmark No. 111, located about eight miles west of Canby near the Pit River, this historical landmark consists of visible remnants of the Lassen Trail, which was used extensively during the gold rush. An estimated 21,000 people came to California in 1849, and 7,000 to 9,000 used this trail.

Lake City/Flour Mill - Lake City has the distinction of being the first "subdivision" in Modoc County. The town site was surveyed by a group of promoters in 1863. Other first claimed by Lake City include: the first while manís dwelling, the first saw mill, the first school, and the first wedding. The first grist mill, built in 1869, is still standing.

Ash Creek Wildlife Area is among the most remote, least improved and most pristine of all the Department of Fish and Gameís wildlife areas. Prime viewing months for wildlife is from March through July. Large groups of pronghorn antelope can be found on and near this area almost at any time throughout the year.

Evans-Bailey Fight - Registered as State Historical Landmark No. 125, the scene of a minor skirmish with the Native Americans which took place August 1, 1861. Evans and Bailey were killed and buried nearby. Located five miles southeast of Canby, a quarter mile off Centerville Road, the site is marked with a marble monument.

Archaeological excavations in Surprise Valley have revealed two prehistoric villages that existed before the first cities and the first civilizations arose in the Middle East. The clan who lived here built large, solid lodges with walls and roofs of woven mats supported by a wooden framework. The center hearth was surrounded by sturdy posts 6-8 feet high with the top and sides covered with dirt for insulation.

What you see is the result of the dryness of this location, but there was a time when the lake usually had water and lush green freshwater marshes grew along this east shore.