Doublehead Ranger District

Area Status: Open
Tiny Little Medicine Lake, private, picturesque campground.

The Doublehead Ranger District is known for year round recreation opportunities. In winter, Medicine Lake Highlands offers 31 miles of groomed trails that provide breathtaking views of Mt. Shasta. A snowmobile trailhead is located at Doorknob Snowmobile Park, one and a half miles south of Lava Beds National Monument. The Snow-Park features a paved parking lot, warming hut and rest rooms. Groomed trails lead to Medicine Lake and three other Snow-Parks on neighboring National Forests, part of the Tri-Forest Snowmobile Trails System of over 250 miles of signed trails.

During late spring to early fall the many campgrounds and lakes are a great place to relax, fish and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors.

Little Mt Hoffman Trail is a well groomed hiking/biking tail that starts from the west side of Headquarters Campground, in the Medicine Lake area, up to a point just east of the lookout.  This is a moderate trail, great for a day hike.

The only beach in the Modoc National Forest is located on the eastern shore of Medicine Lake at the Day Use picnic area.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: 10/06/2021: Campground water systems will be shut down in the coming weeks.
Operated By: US Forest Service

General Information

Directions: The Doublehead District Office is located just south of Tulelake on Hwy 139.


Sand Play

The only sandy beach in The Modoc National Forest is located at the east shore of Medicine Lake at the day use picnic area.

Reservation info: All picnic areas are first come first served.

Campground Camping

There are no cabins for visitors to the Modoc National Forest.

RV and tent camping in the Doublehead Ranger District is best at the Medicine Lake campgrounds.

Dispersed camping is allowed in the Modoc National Forest.  California requires a fire permit when camping outside of a designated campground.

Areas for Campground Camping at Doublehead Ranger District

RV Camping

RV camping is best at any one of the Medicine Lake campgrounds.  Please check the information for a particular campground for RV size limits.  There is a dump station at Medicine Lake.  There are no hook-ups at any campground within the Modoc National Forest.

Areas for RV Camping at Doublehead Ranger District

Dispersed Camping

Camping on the Modoc is not limited to developed campgrounds. Most of the forest is open to those who prefer the quiet and solitude of a completely undeveloped setting. This type of camping is called Dispersed Camping. Please choose a camping spot where you will leave a minimal impact.

• Always plan ahead for accumulation and storage of your garbage and take it with you when you leave. Never burn or bury garbage in the forest.
• Likewise, it is your responsibility to manage human waste. There are many commercial products on the market to deal with human waste. If you must bury it, be sure to dig a hole at least 6 inches or more down into soil and stay at least 100 feet away from any river, lake, stream, spring or trail. Never bury toilet paper or sanitary products. Animals will dig it up and scatter it around the area.
• Never damage trees or vegetation to create a campsite. Do not dig trenches or build tent platforms.
• A current California Campfire Permit is required to use a camp stove, barbecue or have a campfire outside of developed areas. Local fire restrictions supersede the campfire permit. Inquire at the Ranger Station before having a fire.
• You may disperse camp in any one location for 14 days and you may stay a total of 30 days per year on the forest. When you go home, leave the forest the way you found it or better for the enjoyment of the next visitor.  For additional information on dispersed camping please see Dispersed Camping Ethics in our Learning Center.

Lake and Pond Fishing

Fishing from a boat, wading or from the shore can be done at several lakes in the Medicine Lake area.

Fishing requires a California fishing license for anglers 16 years old and older.

Areas for Lake and Pond Fishing at Doublehead Ranger District

River and Stream Fishing

There are many streams that are ideal for fishing from the shore or wading.  A California fishing license is required for any angler over the age of 16.

Day Hiking

Hiking and mountain biking are welcome at Medicine Lake.  A trail along the entrance road to the Medicine Lake camping areas crosses the entry at several places.

Little Mt Hoffman Trail, a well groomed trail for hiking and mountain biking, is just west of Headquarters Campground and winds up and towards the lookout.  A very nice day-hiking trail.

Areas for Day Hiking at Doublehead Ranger District

Horse Riding

Viewing Wildlife

Doublehead Ranger District lies directly below the flight path of the Pacific Flyway. Migrating birds and waterfowl stop and rest on their journey between Canada and Mexico. The Klamath Basin Birding Trail cuts through the District. The Sage Grouse, a resident who's habitat is diminishing, is the focus of a 10 year habitat enhancement project on the Doublehead District. For tips on watching wildlife click here.

Special Feature Click here for tips and information to make your wildlife watching more productive.

Viewing Plants

Viewing Scenery


Scenic Driving

Several Scenic drives pass through the Doublehead Ranger District.  At the District Office, you can pick up a brochure with directions and points of interest  for the Volcanic Scenic Byway and the Volcanic Historic Auto Tour Loop.  The Emigrant Trails Scenic Byway also includes parts of the Doublehead Ranger District.

The Modoc Backcountry Discovery Trail might be for you if you have a sport utility vehicle and like to get off the pavement.

Areas for Scenic Driving at Doublehead Ranger District

Boating - Motorized

Areas for Boating - Motorized at Doublehead Ranger District

Boating - Non-Motorized

Areas for Boating - Non-Motorized at Doublehead Ranger District


Areas for Swimming at Doublehead Ranger District


Areas for Waterskiing at Doublehead Ranger District


Areas for Snowmobiling at Doublehead Ranger District

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities