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Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail

Easy
 3.6 (5) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Most scenic rail trail anywhere with parallel singletrack on the South Side Trail


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Map Key

26.3

Miles

42.4

KM

0%

Singletrack

5,566' 1,697 m

High

4,228' 1,289 m

Low

295' 90 m

Up

1,349' 411 m

Down

1%

Avg Grade (1°)

6%

Max Grade (3°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Unknown

Multi-use, non-motorized.

Overview

This is a very scenic rail trail that cruises along the Susan River. This area is great for groups of different abilities as there is challenging singletrack on the south side of the canyon. There are several connections for meeting up. This rail trail was rated the most scenic rail trail in California by the Rails to Trails Conservancy.

Need to Know

The Susan River Canyon offers fun trails, fishing, camping right next to Susanville. No need to drive to trailheads in Susanville.

Description

The best time to experience this ride is in the fall. The trees light up the canyon and contrast the deep blue sky. This is a very peaceful place and is surprisingly accessible from town. The new South Side Trail singletrack complements the rail trail beautifully.

Following the old Fernley and Lassen Branch Line of the Southern Pacific railroad, the trail winds 27 miles from Susanville to Mooney Road. 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 as a bonus, you get to pass through two tunnels.

Susanville has four seasons because of the high elevation. 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 eventual future terminus in Westwood at elevation 5100'. Check current conditions before planning a trip on the trail by calling (530) 257-0456.

History & Background

In 1978, the Southern Pacific Railroad shut down most of the old Fernley and Lassen Railroad branch line that had carried supplies and occasional passengers from early 1914 through the end of 1956. The Bureau of Land Management, finding the line vacated and abandoned, spearheaded the rails-to-trails conversion of the old railroad grade. Harold T. "Bizz" Johnson, a former congressman (1958-1980), was instrumental in getting the 30-mile segment converted for recreational use. The trail is forever named in his honor.

Contacts

Shared By:

joel rathje

Trail Ratings

  3.6 from 5 votes

#3000

Overall
  3.6 from 5 votes
5 Star
20%
4 Star
40%
3 Star
20%
2 Star
20%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#382

in California

#3,000

Overall
103 Views Last Month
6,113 Since Sep 11, 2014
Easy

100%
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Photos

Fall color on Bizz Johnson Nat Rec Trail
Sep 11, 2014 near Susanville, CA
South Side SingleTrack
Sep 11, 2014 near Susanville, CA
Trail team on South Side Trail
Oct 27, 2014 near Susanville, CA
Bizz Johnson Trail
Sep 11, 2014 near Susanville, CA
First bridge on Bizz Johnson Nat Rec
Sep 11, 2014 near Susanville, CA
Riding with Grandma on Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail
Oct 27, 2014 near Susanville, CA

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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Check-Ins

May 8, 2021
Travis Brohees
12mi
Jul 18, 2020
Shon Tamblyn
First time Moutain Biking experience for my wife. May have a new convert. 25mi
Oct 14, 2017
Matt Hage
Very cold day on the BJT with a stiff headwind. Start at Devils Corral TH for good track along river. First half is dirt road with no views.
Jul 17, 2017
Freja Evans
Out and back using south side trail 27.9mi
May 6, 2017
Devyn Kious
May 4, 2017
Ron F
A cool Rails to Trails gravel grinding experience. Fun.
Aug 14, 2016
Randy Caves
Westwood to susanville
Aug 13, 2016
Pete Kumler