The Modoc National Forest is the home of over 20 trails covering more than 400 miles that traverse several types of terrain ranging from flat desert to lava-rich geological heights. From deep forests of Ponderosa and Jeffrey Pine, to higher elevations of Juniper and Quaking Aspen, through meadows, along mountain ridges and buttes, across creeks and around mountain lakes- there is something for everypup here. In the spring, the melting snows reveal star anemones sprouting in the rocky areas above the tree line, while pansies, clover, and lupines flourish in the lower plains and forests.
The forest's remoteness provides a pawrfect backdrop for the more than 300 species of wildlife that call it home, including pronghorn elk, mule deer, herds of high desert wild horses, waterfowl that frequent the wetland areas, and the many species of birds that utilize the Pacific Flyway above for migration twice a year.
Campgrounds are scattered among the many trails and provide excellent home bases for day hikes. Howard's Gulch Campground Trail is a family- and dog-friendly loop that follows the circular bottom of a hill replete with woodpeckers, many varieties of wildflowers and diverse trees. One of the grandest trails has its home in Patterson Campground and travels 6.5 miles to Patterson Lake after a climb of 2500 feet, where it intersects with the Summit Trail. The Summit follows the spine of the South Warner Mountains to a spot above the lake where basalt cliffs plunge to the lakeshore.
The five-mile Glass Mountain Trail features scenic vistas along with a unique hike across sharp, glass-like lava fields that change as you walk across them. It's important to keep your pup on the trail here to avoid cuts and possible burns from the surface heated by the sun.
The Modoc Line Rail Trail stretches 85 miles over 3 main sections: Sage Hen, Snowstorm Canyon and Viewland. It runs through high desert plains that are very remote, and it offers no services, but is a well-marked and navigable trail that shares its route through the vast cattle range with hikers, bicyclists, OHVs and equestrians.
For any of these pawrific adventures, be sure to bring water, snacks and clean up bags along the way. Whatever hiking experience you and your fur-pup seek, the Modoc National Forest has a trail for you!