Sand dunes dominate the landscape in the North Algodones Dunes Wilderness Area.
Timber Crater wilderness study area Cow grazing near a stand of  Juniper trees Pit River Campground Cold Springs prescribed burn Fitzhugh Creek
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Alturas Field Office

Wilderness Study Areas

TIMBERED CRATER                                                        LAVA 

timbered craterLooking out from a cave

These stark and barren landscapes are testaments to the power of volcanic forces. Rugged volcanic formations, including islands, fissures, and domes, checker the landscape. Many of the domes are lava tubes or caves; other domes have collapsed, forming interesting profiles and minature valleys. The visitor can see and learn first hand about the forces that melted and twisted rock. Although there are no identified trail heads, access points can be found on the Modoc Country Map (or call the Alturas Field Office for exact locations).

The vegetation is just as dramatic as the volcanic landscape. A variety of pines, oaks, and junipers grow amid the volcanic formations. In the spring, the redbud bush dominates the area with its brilliant purple to lavender blooms. In the fall, the changing leaves of the deciduous trees and brush species paint the landscape orange and red. The greens of the conifers and the blacks of the volcanic scenery provide a constant backdrop to the seasonal colors.

Recreational opportunities abound in the area, including mountain biking, wildlife viewing, hiking and fishing in nearby waters. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), a National Hiking Trail that begins at the Mexican border and ends at the Canadian border, is only a few miles south of the Lava Wilderness Study Area. The PCT overlooks the Hat Creek Rim which is another lava/lunar landscape, and is accessed from Shasta County Road 22 south of Fall River Mills, California. For further information about the PCT, contact the Alturas Field Office, the Hat Creek Ranger District, U.S. Forest Service, or the Modoc Country Map, which is sold at either office.