Modoc Line Rail Trail

Trail Map

Description Suggest an Edit

The Modoc Line runs 86 miles between Wendel in the south and McArthur Siding in the north (just south of Alturas). The most scenic sections are between Likely and Madeline and Snowstorm Canyon. The trail is largely on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and follows the route of the historic Modoc Line, run by Southern Pacific. Pre-1920s, however, the railway was a narrow gauge called the N-C-O (Nevada, California, and Oregon). Union Pacific bought the rail in 1996, and less than a decade later, it began to be dismantled for recreational uses.

The N-C-O was also referred to as the "narrow, crooked, and ornery." And thus, modern-day users take note: the trail is rough in some places (ballast and gravel surface), and the weather in this remote country can change in minutes, so dress appropriately and take precautions. The Modoc Line is still being developed in some places, so travel is at your own risk.

The Modoc Line supports a variety of users, including non-motorized and motorized (vehicle and OHVs for wildlife watching and public land access). Also, if you come across any gates along the corridor, please close them behind you.

Parking and Trail Access

The Modoc Line is under development, so there are no facilities or formal trailheads as of autumn 2011. Travel at your own risk.

To reach the southern trailhead in Wendel from Susanville, take US 395 east then turn on Wendel Road (follow the signs to Honey Lake) and continue until you cross the old railroad berm. You can also go into Wendel and park near the intersection of Amedee and Antola roads.

To access the trail in McArthur Siding from Alturas, take US 395 south to Lyneta Rd./CR 187A and turn west (right). Turn left at Beet Camp Road. The trail is on the east side of Eastside Canal.


Riding our side by side on the Modoc line

   June, 2015 by craig vh

In late May of 2015 we took our Rzr (side by side) on the Modoc line. Beautiful country! Sure glad they allow motorized vehicles on this rails to trails as there is a lot of very remote country. We went 74 miles that day and didn't cover it all. We had more

Not Ready For Bikes As Of 2013

   May, 2013 by mb explorer

Unfortunately the rail bed has a slight washboard surface with some drain rock and loose smaller material.Biking for extended periods becomes a challenge.Hammering,fishtailing and bogging down best describe.I rode 42 miles and that was enough. There more

ATVing along the Modoc Line

   November, 2011 by jstover

For those of you that like to get out in beautiful country, away from crowds, this is the place to go. We drove our ATV's 63 miles and didn't come close to seeing all the country out there. We were the only ones on the trail so be sure to go prepared more