Recreation & Wildlife

  The Modoc National Wildlife Refuge

A vacation in Modoc County will open your eyes to the recreation possibilities of the great outdoors. Our favorite recreation, and that of our visitors, is always centered around the crisp air and gorgeous scenery. Winter recreation abounds with Nordic and Alpine skiing at Cedar Pass which offers T-bar and a bunny hill to meet every downhill skill level. They also feature set tracks and unbroken wilderness for adventuresome cross-country tastes. Don't miss our wonderful opportunity for ice skating (yes, outside!), ice fishing, sledding and snowmobiling.

Summer time is another ideal time to visit, when hang-gliding from high above our valley or waterskiing on the lakes, camping in pristine wilderness, golfing, and cycling the plentiful back roads and hillside trails are some of your family's choices. Surrounded by national forest, hikers and backpackers will find endless areas to explore. Maps and information are available from the U.S. Forest Service.

Fishing is one of Modoc County's great recreational opportunities. Countless creeks, rivers and lakes provide an abundance of native species for the fishing enthusiast including bass and trout in the lakes and mountain streams and big catfish and bass in the warmer waters of the Pit River.

Abundant marshes, forests, plains, and lakes provide habitat for a wide range of wildlife in Modoc County. The Modoc National Wildlife Refuge lies mostly to the south of Alturas, and covers thousands of acres.

In the spring, Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles have been sighted in increasing numbers. Modoc County is inhabited by Canada Geese, Mallard, Teal, Gadwall, Wigeon and Pintail Ducks. Tundra swans are a delight to watch as are sandhill cranes, shorebirds and wablers. Whitefronted geese visit only in the Spring. Most of these birds also nest in Modoc County over the Summer, and they are joined by pelicans, cormorrants, herons and egrets.

Our most recent arrival to Modoc County has been a herd of Rocky Mountain Elk. The Elk  along with mule deer, coyotes, skunks, raccoons, minks, muskrats, squirrels, black-tailed jackrabbits, wild turkey, longhorn sheep, antelope and mountain lion create a great opportunity for wildlife viewing and photography.

Private and public hunting grounds are plentiful. Hunting antelope is a thrill not many people get to experience, but if you get a tag in the lottery, the opportunity is better here than anywhere to bring home a trophy and some great memories. The mule deer population is abundant in the foothills and mountains. Occasionally black bear may also be found.

To satisfy their curiosity about the area's history, many visitors go to the Modoc County Historical Museum. It houses perhaps the most complete collection of Indian artifacts, pioneer guns and other early settler articles anywhere in the nation. The museum is located in Rachel Dorris Park.

Whether you visit us in winter or summer, you're bound to leave feeling positively refreshed!