Susanville Ranch Park
Photo © Joel Rathje
Twenty-seven miles of single track! Non-motorized multi-use trails wind through canyons, around meadows, and up into the hills in this uncrowded and unspoiled park. From easy to challenging trails, everyone will find something to suit their liking at Susanville Ranch Park.
Susanville Ranch Park is a 1,100-acre park property in northeast California, owned and managed by Lassen County as a shared-use recreation area. The Bureau of Land Management manages 80 acres of property in the western area of the park. Susanville Ranch Park lies in the heart of one of the most unique and diverse landscapes in America. The best way to experience the landscape is to climb up into the foothills of the Cascades to one of the many vista points in the northern section of the park. Looking out across Susanville to the south, the Diamond Mountains rise up to the sky abruptly marking the northern edge of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. If you get up there early enough, you will see the sun rise to the east over the Great Basin, the southern edge of the Modoc Plateau and the Honey Lake Valley. Four distinct physiographic regions come together and blend in one dramatic view. This place is often referred to as California’s geographic crossroads.
Park users will also find an amazingly diverse biological display traveling the park’s trails. The riparian corridors along Bagwell and Paiute Creeks in the southern portion of the park contain the greatest biodiversity with beaver ponds, willows, cottonwoods, watercress, amphibians, reptiles, small and large mammals, birds, and fish. There are dramatic stands of Jeffrey Pine, dispersed Incense Cedar, Fir, Juniper and Black Oak trees covering the hillsides around and above the three open grass meadows in the park. Luckily, there is no poison oak.
The meadows and hills that comprise Susanville Ranch Park provided a rich diversity of resources for native peoples for thousands of years before European settlers arrived in the region. The convergence of forest, meadow, and high desert environments made for good hunting opportunities and good sources of water. A walk in this park provides insight into past cultures, making it apparant why the first people chose such a beautiful place to live.
In 1857, Captain William Weatherlow settled on this land and soon sold the property to William Black Long in 1862. The Long Family managed the property as a ranch for two generations. James Bagwell became their neighbor to the north when he filed a homestead claim in 1885. The Long Family purchased Bagwell’s property in 1893, expanding their ranch by 160 acres. In 1919, Fruit Growers Supply Co. opened a large sawmill and box factory in Susanville. The company purchased the Long Family property and established a dairy in 1926. The dairy was leased to the O’Kelly Family who operated the dairy under the name of Lassen Dairy until the 1930s. In 1935, the Red River Lumber Company of Westwood completed the Paiute Creek Shortline Railroad line which provided a connection from Susanville to Westwood Junction along Paiute Creek. The rail line was only used for two years due to winter storm damage. The rail line was converted to a road bed for logging trucks soon after, and became the Paul Bunyan Logging Road. The property was purchased by Republic Electric Power Co. in 1935 which later became CP National. In 1984, CP National donated the property to the County of Lassen which led to the creation of Susanville Ranch Park.
There are 27 miles of non-motorized, multi-use trails in Susanville Ranch Park which are ideal for hiking, mountain biking, horse back riding, dog walking or a quiet stroll, and even cross country skiing and snow-shoeing in the winter. There are many options for a variety of experiences. Trail users will find gentle grades around the meadows and up Paiute Creek Canyon, with more challenging climbs and features on Coyote Bluff and on the Horse Trail in the southern portion of the park. Several miles of narrow, challenging single track trails were constructed in May 2011 that join the Canyon Trail and Coyote Bluff Trail. Hikers will find easy climbing and dramatic views, while intermediate to advanced mountain bikers will be delighted by the undulating and meandering loops and "features". The southern trails are very popular with dog walkers as there are two creeks and wide open areas for responsible exercising.
The 14 miles of trails in the northern portion of the park were constructed in the summer/fall of 2008 and offer a very exciting experience for more advanced trail users. There are challenging climbs, banked turns, many loop options, and spectacular views. There are no creeks or streams in this area, so be prepared if you bring your dog or horse. Please respect our neighbors and stay on or near the trails.
Download the trail map located under "Docs" in the right column or visit www.susanvilleranchpark.com
If approaching Susanville from the east, take Main Street (Hwy 36) through Historic Uptown of Susanville. Turn right onto North Roop Street which connects with Cherry Terrace. Follow Cherry Terrace to Lakewood Way. Turn left into Park entrance. Parking is available. No potable water available.
4 seasons of fun.
Very limited accessibility as the trails are all dirt and rock. There is a short path that leads to the sports fields that is ADA accessible.