Bizz Johnson Trail

Quick Facts

Bizz Johnson Trail

California

(916) 257-0456

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

The 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. 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. Enjoy a variety of amazing summer and winter recreation opportunities. Bicycling on the Bizz Johnson Trail is best enjoyed on wide-tire bicycles. Primitive campground is offered at the Goumaz Trailhead. Fishing in the Susan River is best in spring to early summer. A variety of day hikes are possible from the many trailheads. By arranging your own shuttle between trailheads, hikers can enjoy more of the trail without backtracking. Susanville Depot Trailhead Visitor Center provides trail information, interpretive displays and videos and includes a bookstore and gift shop. Nearby, the Westwood Museum Stop tells the story of The Red River Lumber Company, which was once the largest pine lumber mill in the world. The best areas for cross-country skiing are on the trail's upper 18.5-mile segment, west of Highway 36 and the Devils Corral area. Elevations from 4,760 feet to 5,500 feet, northern exposures and shading combine to provide the most reliable snow conditions.

Map of Bizz Johnson Trail

Latitude, Longitude: 40.411180, -120.660050

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Activities

  • Bicycling

    Bicycling on the Bizz Johnson Trail is best enjoyed on wide-tire bicycles. Multi-geared mountain bicycles are excellent for trail use, but single-speed wide-tire bicycles are also suitable. The trail surface consists of a relatively level railroad grade (3 percent maximum) composed of aggregate material. The trail gradually climbs 500 feet in the first 12 miles from Westwood to Westwood Junction, then drops 1,300 feet in the 18 miles between Westwood Junction and Susanville. Wide-tire bicycles can easily travel the entire trail. Exercise caution when crossing planking on decked bridges and when traveling through unlighted tunnels.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Please contact the park for information about auto/motorcycle tours.

  • Camping

    The primitive campground and Goumaz Trailhead at the midpoint of the trail can be reached by Forest Service gravel roads that leave Highway 44. Follow Highway 36 west from Susanville to Highway 44, then seven miles west on Highway 44 to the gravel roads. Follow signs to Goumaz.

  • Fishing

    Fishing in the Susan River is best in spring to early summer. The river provides habitat for rainbow and brown trout, speckled dace, lahontan residue, and Tahoe sucker. Twice monthly in May, June, and July, the California Department of Fish and Game plants rainbow trout in the lower Susan River between Susanville and Devils Corral. Stocking of fish generally ends in July when river temperature peaks reach 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Hiking

    If you plan to hike the trail, you will find the 18-mile segment along the Susan River from Westwood Junction to Susanville most scenic because of the variety afforded by the adjacent river and canyon and views of the surrounding mountains. It is an easy hike with maximum three percent grade. A variety of day hikes are possible from the many trailheads. By arranging your own shuttle between trailheads, hikers can enjoy more of the trail without backtracking. Backpacking can also be enjoyed along the trail.

  • Historic Sites

    Susanville Depot Trailhead Visitor Center provides trail information, interpretive displays and videos and includes a bookstore and gift shop. Nearby, the Westwood Museum Stop tells the story of The Red River Lumber Company, which was once the largest pine lumber mill in the world.

  • Horseback Riding

    Eleven bridges are passable on horseback, as are two tunnels, one 800 feet long, the other 450 feet. If you wish to avoid the tunnels, riverside trails provide alternate routes.

  • Picnicking

    Please contact the park for information about safe picnicking.

  • Water Sports

    Please contact the park for information about water sports and river classifications.

  • Winter Sports

    The best areas for cross-country skiing are on the trail's upper 18.5-mile segment, west of Highway 36 and the Devils Corral area. Elevations from 4,760 feet to 5,500 feet, northern exposures and shading combine to provide the most reliable snow conditions.

    A recommended trail segment for cross-country combines snowed-in road skiing from Highway 44 to Goumaz (three miles) with trail skiing from Goumaz to Highway 36. This nine-mile segment affords a gentle downhill slope with good views of the Susan River and Diamond Mountain. To avoid backtracking, arranging your own shuttle is recommended.

    The lower seven miles of trail from Highway 36 east to Susanville can be skied following major snowfall, but snow conditions deteriorate rapidly on this section due to lower elevations and open southern exposures. Also, two tunnels (one 800 feet, the other 450 feet) require walking.

Directions

Driving

From Reno, take Highway 395 North about 85 miles until it turns toward Alturas. Continue straight on the main roadway (which becomes Highway 36) into Susanville. Follow Main Street to the stop light at the bottom of the hill by Historic Uptown Susanville. Turn left on Weatherlow Street (which becomes Richmond Road) and follow 1/2 mile across Susan River to Susanville Railroad Depot Trailhead and Visitor Center.

From Lassen Volcanic National Park take Highway 36 to Westwood or Susanville. The trail connects both towns Westwood and Susanville . From Highway 36 at Westwood, follow County Road A-21 one mile south into Westwood. Park at the Bizz Johnson Trail kiosk in front of the Westwood Community Center and next to the Paul Bunyan statue. Begin ride by following A21 back through town, the way you came. Cross Highway 36 and continue on A-21 three miles to County Road 101 (just before the railroad tracks). Follow County Road 101, 1/2 mile to Mason Station Trailhead. Ride through trailhead and follow path past kiosk 1/4 mile to abandoned railroad grade. Follow the railroad grade 25 miles to Susanville. (To avoid riding on the roads, drive directly to parking area at Mason Station Trailhead.) Follow Highway 36, which becomes Main Street in Susanville. Continue on Main Street through Historic Uptown Susanville to the first stoplight at the base of the hill. Turn right on Weatherlow Street (which becomes Richmond Road) and continue 1/2 mile to Susanville Railroad Depot Trailhead Visitor Center. Trail begins at the Depot.

You may also access the trail from Devil's Corral off Highway 36, about seven miles west of Susanville.

The primitive campground and Goumaz Trailhead at the midpoint of the trail can be reached by Forest Service gravel roads that leave Highway 44. Follow Highway 36 west from Susanville to Highway 44, then seven miles west on Highway 44 to the gravel roads. Follow signs to Goumaz.

Public Transportation

A bus that will carry bikes runs between Susanville and Westwood Monday through Friday. For current schedule and bus stops, call Lassen Rural Bus at (530) 257-5697. On weekends or at times not served by the bus, you may be able to arrange for a van shuttle. Call Mt. Lassen Cab and Shuttle Service at (530) 257-5277.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(916) 257-0456

Links