Big Valley Ranger District
The Big Valley Ranger District is located on the Modoc Plateau in northeastern California. This area is one of the most unspoiled areas left in California. High desert areas and stands of ponderosa pine and white fir comprise the dominant vegetation types on the district. Elevation ranges from 4200 feet at the District Office in Adin, to over 7000 feet in the surrounding mountains. The district contains one of the last 3 sustained yield timber units in the nation, unique habitats, and a variety of recreational activities.
The Big Valley Ranger District is also well known for it's hunting and fishing opportunities. Several wildlife areas border or lie within the boundaries of the forest here. This district also lies directly under the Pacific Flyway and is visited by hundreds of species of birds during spring and fall migrations.
Doublehead Ranger District
Doublehead Ranger District is named for Doublehead Mountain which lies approximately 3 miles south of Clear Lake and the Clear Lake National Wildlife Refuge. The district is bounded on the west by the Klamath and Shasta-Trinity National Forests and completely surrounds the Lava Beds National Monument. To the north is the Oregon Border and the eastern boundary with the Devil's Garden Ranger District bisects the Modoc Plateau. Many of the famous battles of the Modoc War took place on what are now the Doublehead Ranger District and the Lava Beds National Monument.
The Medicine Highlands lie within the volcanic caldera of the largest shield volcano in North America. The Medicine Highlands encompass over 200 square miles and is one of North America's most unique geological areas. It includes the Glass Mountain Obsidian Flow and Medicine Lake. The lake has no known outlets, yet the water remains clean and clear. The Medicine Highlands and Medicine Lake are the Modoc National Forest's most visited area and includes 5 developed campgrounds and the Door Knob Snowmobile Park with connections to over 200 miles of the Tri-Forest Snowmobile Trail System.
Devil's Garden Ranger District
The Devil's Garden Ranger District lies in the heart of the Modoc Plateau. The Modoc Plateau is a mile-high expanse of lava flows with cinder cones, juniper flats, pine forests, and seasonal lakes. The plateau is thought to have been formed approximately 25 million years ago. The name Devil's Garden was given to the area when the first European settlers traveled to this region in the 1800's. In contrast, the Native people called the area, "The Smiles of Gods".
In the spring, after the snow melt, the rocky Devil's Garden produces a veritable carpet of wild pink pansies, pink and red owl clover, yellow primroses and pink shooting stars. Purple lupine, yellow mules ear and the shiny green leaves of manzanita complete the rainbow of color that lasts well into the summer.
The Devil's Garden lies directly under the Pacific Flyway. During their migration from Alaska and Canada to Mexico, hundreds of thousands of waterfowl use the wetlands as rest stops. The Garden is also shared by Rocky Mountain elk, mule deer, wild horses and pronghorn antelope. Several of the reservoirs on the district are stocked by the California Dept of Fish and Game with bass or trout.
Four of the 5 developed campgrounds on the Devil's Garden charge no fees for camping, day use or boat launching. Even so, these facilities rarely fill to capacity and are considered the perfect getaway by the few who venture there.
Warner Mountain Ranger District
The Warner Mountains form most of the Warner Mountain Ranger District, including the South Warner Wilderness. The Warners run north to south forming a series of peaks and basins that fill with snow in the winter and wildflowers of every color in the summer. Mountain springs form streams that run to the valleys, basins and cirques to create pristine lakes. Recreation at these sites is considered some of the most picturesque in the north state and never crowded or overrun with campers and tourists.
Early settlers came across Nevada and blazed trails for their wagons through the natural passes in the Warner Mountains. Some of the descendents of these pioneers still live and work their ranches near the Warner Mountain District lands and hold grazing leases within the forest.
The South Warner Wilderness, located on the southern portion of the district, offers backpackers and horsemen a true, wilderness experience. Campgrounds and horse camps on both sides of the range offer staging areas for travelers leaving on overnight trips and pleasant spots for tent and trailer campers.
There are 4 obsidian mines on the Warner Mountain Ranger District that are the only locations on the Modoc that allow collection of obsidian. A permit is required.