Eagle Lake Field Office

Bizz Johnson Trail

former rail tunnelLocation:
The Bizz Johnson Trail is in northeastern California, along the Susan River in Lassen County. The main trail head is at the old Railroad Depot in the City of Susanville, about 90 miles north of Reno and about 90 miles east of Red Bluff, California.

See detailed directions to the Bizz Johnson Trail.



Former railroad tunnel on the Bizz Johnson trail


Following the old Fernley and Lassen Branch Line of the Southern Pacific railroad, the trail winds 25.4 miles from Susanville to Mason Station. For the first 16 miles, the trail follows the Susan River. As it winds through the rugged Susan River Canyon, the trail crosses the river 12 times on bridges and trestles and passes through two tunnels. The landscape is a combination of semi-arid canyon and upland forests of pine and fir.  The trail then follows existing roads an additional 4.5 miles into Westwood, where a railroad station type kiosk and a 25-foot carved redwood statue of Paul Bunyan mark the Westwood trailhead.

The trail has four distinct seasons because of the high elevation location.  The trail begins at 4200' on the east side of the Sierra and Cascade Ranges in Susanville, climbs 1300' to a high point of 5500' at Westwood Junction then drops 400' to its terminus in Westwood at elevation 5100'.  Check current conditions before planning a trip on the trail by calling (530) 257-0456.

A family walks a trail under a canopy of fall foliage.leafThe remarkable autumn colors and scenery along the Bizz Johnson Trail earned it one of eight feature spots on the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy's 1997 "Fall Foliage on the Web" rail-trails guide.   Learn more about visiting during this colorful time of year and see larger photos including fall foliage along the trail.   Autumn is also the time for the annual Rails to Trails Festival in Susanville and along the trail.

Recreation opportunities:

  • Hiking
  • Mountain biking
  • Horseback riding (for those who own or bring their own)
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Fishing
  • Snowmobile riding (west of Devils Corral only)
  • Wildflower viewing
  • Wildlife viewing 
  • Birdwatching

To protect natural resources and provide a safe recreation experience for all, certain regulations are in effect along the trail.
There are no fees required.

Camping and Lodging Facilities:
Primitive camping is permitted along the trail on BLM and U.S. Forest Service lands.

Lodging is available in Susanville, Westwood and the surrounding area. For a list of area lodging, call the Lassen County Chamber of Commerce at (530) 257-4323.

Activities, museums:
The area offers other events and activities, plus two museums with information about the trail and its past.

From Devil's Corral trailhead (seven miles west of Susanville on Highway 36) to Hobo Camp, near Susanville. This six-mile segment is the most scenic, and includes two tunnels and eight bridges.

First Aid:
No first aid is available on-site. The nearest hospitals are located in Susanville and Chester.

How the Bizz Johnson Trail came about:
In 1978, Southern Pacific Railroad received approval to abandon
most of the old Fernley and Lassen Railroad branch line that had carried area lumber and sometimes passengers from 1914 until all railroad operations ended on the line in 1956. Following legal abandonment of the railroad in 1978, the Bureau of Land Management spearheaded the rails-to-trails conversion of the old railroad grade. Former Congressman Harold T. "Bizz" Johnson, who served in the House of Representatives from 1958-1980, was instrumental in helping establish the 30-mile segment as a Rails-to-Trails conversion for recreational use. The trail is named in his honor.

For more information:

Bureau of Land Management
Eagle Lake Field Office
(530) 257-0456

Lassen National Forest
Eagle Lake Ranger District
(530) 257-2151

The Bizz Johnson Trail is jointly managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.

Shuttle Bus Service
Photo Gallery

Susanville Ranch Park
(Lassen County website)

Bureau of Land Management
Eagle Lake Field Office
2550 Riverside Drive
Susanville, CA 96130
Phone: (530) 257-0456
Fax: (530) 257-4831
Office Hours: 7:45 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., M-F
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