Winter activities for outdoor enthusiasts
If snow hasn't hit the valley floor, skiers can take a short drive to the Devil's Corral trailhead along highway 36 west of Susanville, where higher elevations and shading usually provide good skiing conditions. If snow is limited at the trailhead, visitors can cross the Susan River on Highway 36, and take the first right turn west of the bridge. The frontage road leads to a 70-foot tall railroad trestle. Good shading here helps hold snow on the trail longer. Snowmobile riders can access the west end of the trail.
Those who are looking for a more challenging ski outing can try the Fredonyer Lookout Road east of Eagle Lake. This route connecting State Highway 139 with the Fredonyer Peak lookout, offers a challenging climb and an exhilarating downhill return through a landscape of juniper and mountain mahogany. Views of Eagle Lake are breathtaking on a crisp, clear winter's day.
Hikers, mountain bikers and motorcycle riders don't have to store their gear during many winters, as the Fort Sage Mountains east of Doyle can offer a high desert escape from the snowfields.
In many winters, snowfall is light in these rugged hills only 40 miles south of Susanville, allowing for nearly year-round access to a system of roads and trails that winds through a boulder-strewn landscape. The sandy soils are well drained and moisture helps with compaction, often providing outstanding mountain bike and motorcycle riding. Views of the snow-capped Sierra Nevada offer a dramatic backdrop for a winter outing.
BLM officials said use is generally light during winter days, but visitors need to remember that motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, mountain bikers and horseback riders all use the area. Trail courtesy is important.
Another light-snow outing can be found at the Skedaddle Mountains near Wendel, where hiking in the rugged canyons and ridges is available all year long. The paved Wendel Road provides good access to the base of the mountains. The area has a variety of hiking (no trails) opportunities for the prepared to make their own way. A map and compass are valuable tools. A more detailed description of hiking opportunities is available at the Susanville BLM office.
BLM said it is important to check on conditions before heading into the backcountry. For additional information and maps, contact the Eagle Lake Field Office, at 530-257-0456, or stop by the office at 2950 Riverside Drive in Susanville.