Devil's Garden Ranger District

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

A view of Big Sage Reservoir from the shoreline.

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.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: 04/16/2019: Some areas may not be accessible due to wet and muddy conditions. No services, pack-in pack-out. Please call the Devil's Garden District office for information 530-233-5811.
Operated By: US Forest Service

General Information

Directions: The Warner Mountain and Devil's Garden Ranger Stations are co-located with the Forest Supervisor's Office at 800 West 12th Street/Hwy 299 in Alturas.


Camping & Cabins

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Nature Viewing

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Rocks & Minerals

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Scenic Driving

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Water Activities

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Winter Sports

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Areas & Activities