We had a couple short moving days to get up here to Susanville, CA. I hate sitting for more than a few hours so we never drive very far. We boondocked one night in a defunct drive in movie theater lot which was interesting. Our new spot is long Willard Creek on the edge of the burn that ripped through the area last year. A couple inches of snow fell the first night but since then it has been sunny and nice.
Bizz Johnson Trail is a 25.4 mile rail to trail that stretches from downtown Susanville up to Westwood. For the first day we attempted to ride to the Westwood terminus and back. Our ride was 17 miles with 1490′ of climbing. The majority of the trail winds its way along the rugged Susan River Canyon. We started by the Devil’s Corral Trailhead. The name Devil’s Corral refers to the haunting sound of wind through the volcanic rocks in this area and the sun bleached bones of dead cattle that were seen in the area after a disease killed a herd nearby.
The Devil’s Corral Trestle Bridge was the first attraction. The original bridge was built in 1913 as part of the Fernley and Lassen Branch of the Central Pacific Railroad. It has changed 7 times in it’s life; from wood to steel beams, to be rebuilt after a fire, to replace rotting ties, and to add sides and retrofit for the rail to trail. We snapped some pics and rode across.
It’s a rail to trail so the grade is very gentle the whole way. Fire burned out several smaller bridges along the way and we had to dismount and work our way through the ditches. After a couple miles of burn the trail enters deep forest and follows above the Susan River. It was chilly in the shade and we only saw three other people out this far up from town. Just past Goumaz Campground we hit serious snow and turned around.
After our sandwich lunch we decided to take the gravel road up out of the campground back to the start. This road climbs up through a series of winding turns with views of trees and more trees. No cars passed us and we had the place to ourselves. This made our ride a loop which is always better because then we get to see more.
Next time we’ll head the opposite direction into town on the trail.