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Encompassing much of the state's remote northeastern corner, Modoc National Forest's 1,654,392 acres were covered millions of years ago by an immense lava flow. Although geologically the area is known as the Modoc Plateau, it doesn't look like a plateau. The region is distinguished by basins, mountains, lakes and meadows. And despite the relatively dry climate, the plateau supports some of the country's most significant wetlands.
The forest is home to more than 300 species of wildlife, including Rocky Mountain mule deer, pronghorn antelopes, bald and golden eagles and wild horses. The Pacific Flyway for migratory birds crosses directly over the forest.
Volcanism has left many marks on the forest's terrain, and some of the most dramatic examples are in the Medicine Lake highlands. There are such unusual features as Glass Mountain, a huge flow of obsidian, and the Burnt Lava Flow, which is a jumble of black lava interspersed with islands of timber. Medicine Lake itself fills an old volcanic crater and is popular for boating and swimming.
On the forest's eastern boundary, the Warner Mountains are a rolling upland that drops steeply on its eastern edge. Most of the range is above 5,000 feet, and some of the peaks reach an altitude over 9,000 feet in the 70,385-acre South Warner Wilderness, which includes Modoc's highest mountain, Eagle Peak. The forest has 118 miles of trails, accessible by eight trailheads, suited for hikers and horseback riders. Carrying a topography map is advised. Fishing is prime in many reservoirs. Cross-country skiing is a popular wintertime diversion.
Maps, brochures and information about recreational opportunities are available at the district ranger stations and the forest headquarters in Alturas. For more information write the Forest Supervisor, Modoc National Forest, 225 W. 8th St., Alturas, CA 96101; phone (530) 233-5811, or TDD (530) 233-8708.
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Current Location: Modoc National Forest, California