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The Modoc National Forest is a land of contrasts and unspoiled vacation-hideaway settings nestled in the extreme northeastern corner of California.

Nestled in the extreme northeastern corner of California, the Modoc is mountains, pine forests and meadows, lakes, streams, rugged canyons, wetlands, lava beds and high desert plateaus. The forest offers beautiful scenery, varied terrain, abundant wildlife and a memorable visitor experience.

The forest is named for the county in which the greater part of the forest is situated. The county, in turn, is named after the Indian tribe, the Modocs, who fought at the lava beds from 1872-1873. The lava beds are a national monument located within the boundaries of the forest.

Cross country skiing, sledding, and snowshoeing are enjoyed in many areas of the forest during winter.

The Modoc National Forest offers over one and a half million acres for your enjoyment, relaxation, and exploration. Within a seven-hour drive from the Bay Area, you can experience the solitude of the wilderness or enjoy camping near others in developed campgrounds. Camp in densely forested woodlands or open meadows, discover secluded flats along river banks and enjoy panoramic views of majestic mountains.

Other exciting activities include fishing, hiking, scenic driving, hunting and mountain biking.

First-timer’s Adventure

Visit the Medicine Lake Highlands.

The Medicine Lake Highlands were formed with the development of a borad shield volcano. When you visit the area, you can see most of the rim volcanoes, including Mt. Hoffman, Medicine Mountain, Badger Peak, Grouse Hill, Red Shale Butte, Glass Mountain, and Lyons Peak.

From the town of Tulelake on Highway 139, follow the signs to the Tulelake National Wildlife Refuge; then proceed south through the Lava Beds National Monument and follow the signs along Forest Road 49 to Medicine Lake. This route is a part of the Modoc Volcanic Scenic Byway.




Nearest Large Urban Area:


Notes & Conditions:

The South Warner Mountain Wilderness of the Modoc National Forest is 18 miles long by 8 miles wide.The Wilderness has very steep slopes on the east side and moderate slopes on the west. A variety of vegetation adorns the area from high desert sagebrush and juniper to high alpine terrain. The Wilderness offers breathless vistas and the highest peaks in northeast California. Mount Shasta and Mount Lassen can be seen in distant panorama.

Research campground locations and amenities at the U.S. National Forest Campground Directory. The Web site is full of pictures and detailed descriptions to help you plan your next trip.

If you want to experience a guided recreation trip in a National Forest, visit Adventure Vacation to learn about whitewater rafting, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, camping, hiking and fishing trips.

Permits, Passes and Fees:

Purchase an annual pass for access to all federal recreation areas that charge entrance fees, including National Parks, National Recreation Areas, and other destinations. Learn more, or purchase The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass today!


Visit the National Forest Store to see what maps are available for this Forest and others you may want to visit.