Alturas ~ Cedarville ~ Surprise Valley
A land of mountains, lakes, plains, high desert, marshes, volcanic landscapes and outstanding wildlife viewing, Modoc County is often referred to as “where the West still lives.” It is located in the far northeastern corner of California, and is a vast, unspoiled area with four distinct seasons and widely varied terrain. Offering marvelous opportunities for outdoor recreation, its quiet, peaceful atmosphere makes it perfect for a relaxing family vacation.
Wildlife abounds here. Modoc National Wildlife Refuge, Clear Lake National Wildlife Refuge and Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge are all either entirely or partly in Modoc County. Bald eagles, golden eagles, peregrine falcons, Rocky Mountain mule deer and elk, wild horses, pronghorn antelope and numerous other species, many of them endangered, live and play here.
Things To Do
In the 70,000+ acre South Warner Wilderness Area, one of California’s most remote and least-visited wilderness areas, backpackers can explore the magnificent Warner Mountains and their clear alpine streams and turquoise lakes.
Modoc County also offers turn-of-the-century towns, working ranches, and rich farmland. Part of Lava Beds National Monument is located in the western portion of the county, as is over 80 percent of Modoc National Forest, which covers more than half of the county. Human beings have lived in this area for over 10,000 years. Petroglyphs (rock carvings) and pictographs (rock paintings) made thousands of years ago by members of the Modoc Tribe can still be seen today at several locations in Lava Beds National Monument.
Alturas, the county seat, is located on the Pit River, slightly south and east of the center of Modoc county. It offers a variety of lodgings and restaurants, some wonderful historic buildings, and is the commercial center of the region. Cedarville, located about 20 miles to the east in Surprise Valley, showcases a mythical town worth visiting, made up of relocated buildings of historical interest including log cabins, an old schoolhouse, and two jails.