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Destination Modoc

Imagine a place…

Unbound from the hustle and bustle of city life, the crowds, traffic, and noise, a place where you can let go and free your mind, body and soul. A place to kick back, relax and put your feet up.

Does the image of a peaceful mountain setting appeal to your senses? How about the alluring sound of a babbling brook as the water gently trickles down stream?

Does camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, horseback riding or simply breathing fresh air under the blue skies grab your attention?

Then consider making Modoc County a destination for your summer vacation.

Modoc County is one of the largest counties in California. It is a hidden treasure nestled into the far northeastern corner of our state. A combination of high desert terrain and spectacular mountain ranges gives special uniqueness to the contour of the land. Modoc is gateway to the enchanting Warner Mountain Wilderness area. Imagine the bluest skies, brightest stars and over a million unspoiled acres, captivating pristine mountains, green fertile valleys, beautiful crystal clear lakes, streams, wetlands and ragged lava bed plateaus makes Modoc County truly mesmerizing.

The Native Americans once called this land, “The Smiles of God.”

There are 29 uncrowded, clean and simple campgrounds located in the Modoc National Forest. Many of these campgrounds are situated in the alpine elevations of 4,400-6,000 ft. and up. The highest is at 7,200 ft. and there are no campgrounds below 4,000 ft.

Once you’ve settled in, you’ll discover some of the finest fishing in northeastern California. Fishing season is open year round with the exception of stream fishing which opens in April and closes in November.

For the fishing enthusiast, there are a myriad of creeks, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs that provide an abundance of native species and other game fish. In the higher elevations you’ll find rainbow trout, redband trout, brown trout, and brook trout. High plateau lakes and reservoirs hold blue gill, crappie, trout, Sacramento perch, largemouth bass, channel and bullhead catfish.

Hunting in Modoc is year round as well. In March, the Annual Squirrel round-up in Surprise Valley starts the hunting season off with a bang. Spring wild turkey season follows, other upland game bird seasons begin in the in the late summer starting with Blue or Ruffed grouse and dove. Big Game hunting also begins in the late summer and runs through the fall, beginning with, Pronghorn antelope, Rocky Mountain elk, Mule deer and bear. In the late fall and winter, upland game birds and waterfowl are plentiful; fall wild turkey, pheasant, quail, chukar, and a wide variety of ducks and geese. Hunting season officially ends in late January.

If you prefer to hunt with a camera or binoculars many surprises await you. Home to the greater sand hill cranes, golden and bald eagles and a host to resident and migrating birds, Modoc is the Bird Watcher’s paradise. If you enjoy taking pictures, the mountain forests, high desert plateaus, plains, and wetlands provide habitat to a large variety of wildlife, scenic opportunities are endless and the sunrises and sunsets are magnificent, giving the photographer a chance to capture that perfect shot.

Whatever your sport, hunting , fishing, camping, backpacking, hiking, biking, horseback riding, hang gliding, kayaking, wind surfing, kite boarding, rock climbing, rock hounding, bird watching or even star gazing, Modoc is the place for the ultimate outdoor experience. In the winter locals enjoy snowmobiling, snowboarding, cross country and downhill skiing, sledding, ice skating, snow shoeing, and ice fishing.

Modocer’s love this place they call home. We have wide open spaces and friendly folks here. We don’t have fancy restaurants, freeways or large shopping malls, just a little piece of heaven.

So if you decide to come be prepared for good old fashioned hospitality, plenty of fresh air, and lots of fun.

Visit Modoc and enjoy it the way we do…and wherever you go please leave no trace.

Respect the people, the land and its wildlife and you’ll always be invited back to the place they called, “The Smiles of God”.


–Published in Modoc Magazine's Annual Issue

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