The Bizz Johnson Trail
Northeastern California is home to the scenic Bizz Johnson Trail. The trail runs along the Susan River in Lassen County. Bizz Johnson Trail follows the old Fernley and Lassen Branch Line of the Southern Pacific railroad. It runs over 25 miles from Susanville to Mason Station. The main trailhead is located at the old Railroad Depot in the City of Susanville, just under 100 miles north of Reno and roughly 100 miles east of Red Bluff, California.
The Bizz Johnson Trail follows the Susan River for the 1st 16 miles of its length. The trailís landscape is a combination of semi-arid canyon and upland forests of pine and fir as it crosses the river 12 times as it winds through the rugged Susan River Canyon on a number of bridges and trestles. It also passes through 2 tunnels. The trail then follows existing roads for another 4 1/2 miles into Westwood, California.
Because of its high elevation the trail has 4 distinct seasons, but autumn is the most popular time to visit. The gorgeous autumn colors make the scenery along the Bizz Johnson Trail some of the most photographic in the country. Autumn is also the time for the annual Rails to Trails Festival in Susanville.
When hiking the Bizz Johnson drinking water should be packed in or treated because water sources found along the trail are not safe for drinking thanks in part to the cattle and stock that use the river upstream.
A number of day hikes are possible from the many trailheads. The 18-mile segment along the Susan River from Westwood Junction to Susanville is an easy hike, and is the most scenic. It features the adjacent river and canyon and vistas of the surrounding mountains.
Multi-geared, wide-tire mountain bicycles are best for trail use, as the trail surface consists of a relatively level railroad grade. Bicyclers should exercise caution when crossing planking on decked bridges and when riding through unlighted tunnels.
Equestrians are welcome on Bizz Johnson Trail. The trail features 11 bridges are passable on horseback, as are two tunnels
It is important to share the trail. Walkers and bicyclists should yield to horseback riders.
Cross-country skiing is popular here as well. The best areas for cross-country skiing are on the trail's upper 18 1/2-mile segment.
The lower 7 miles of trail from Highway 36 east to Susanville may also be skied following major snowfall. Skiers should check local weather conditions before beginning a cross-country skiing expedition, and always use caution.
Anglers will find that fishing in the Susan River is best from spring to early summer. The Susan River is home to rainbow and brown trout, speckled dace and more.
Primitive camping is allowed along the trail on Forest Service Land. There is a 7-day camping limit and campfires require permits from the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service or the California Department of Forestry.
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