Bizz Johnson Trail

Lassen National Forest, California

Elevation Gain3,184ft
Trailhead Elevation5,280ft
Elevation Min/Max4209/5580ft
Elevation Start/End5280/5280ft

Bizz Johnson Trail

Bizz Johnson Trail is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Susanville, California. It is within Lassen National Forest. It is 25.2 miles long and begins at 5,280 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 50.5 miles with a total elevation gain of 3,184 feet. The Mason Station Trailhead information board is near the trailhead.

Bizz Johnson Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"The mellow 3-percent grade means you can ride the trail from Westwood to Susanville or vice versa. Riding it west to east allows for a virtually all-downhill ride! Along the way you drop from ponderosa pine forest to high desert landscape. 3-day limit between trailheads for multi-day trips, campfire permit required."

"This is the way to run a railroad, albeit an abandoned one. The Bizz Johnson Trail links Susanville and the community of Westwood and is a 25-mile multiuse route that follows the rugged Susan River canyon."

"This is the way to run a railroad, albeit an abandoned one. The Bizz Johnson Trail links Susanville and the community of Westwood and is a 25-mile multiuse route that follows the rugged Susan River canyon. The trail is a combined effort between the Lassen Land and Trails Trust, the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service, and the Rails to Trails Conservancy (a Washington DC–based advocacy group that helps buy old rail right-of-ways). The historic trail actually is the former right-of-way of the Fernley and Lassen Railroad, built in 1914 to connect a logging mill in Westwood to the railroad’s mail line in Fernley, Nevada. The line operated for more than forty years, first run by Fernley and Lassen and later by Central Pacific and Southern Pacific Rail Corporation."

"The Bizz Johnson Trail is the longest, and arguably the most scenic, rail-trail in California. The wonderful route leads through the dense woodlands of the high country into the spectacular Susan River canyon, and incorporates numerous historic sites, including trestles and tunnels. Surface: Gravel and original ballast."

"This trail follows the mild grade of a historic rail line along the scenic Susan River. In spite of its proximity to the town of Susanville, the trail has a secluded character to it, and wild camping is allowed (away from the trailheads). Basalt formations along the canyon walls give the scenery a dramatic touch, and several railroad bridges and two tunnels are thrown in for good measure. Terrain: Dirt and gravel road through a small but dramatic river canyon."

"The Bizz Johnson Trail follows the historic route of the Fernley Lassen Railroad between the communities of Susanville and Westwood. The railroad was built in 1914 primarily to carry logs from a mill in Westwood to Fernley, Nevada, where lumber products were then shipped around the country and also to foreign markets.

The mill’s eventual decline in 1956 signaled the end of the railroad. In 1978, Southern Pacific Railroad abandoned the line, and eventually, 30 miles of the route was converted to recreational trail. The trail is named for Harold T. “Bizz” Johnson, a California congressman who championed the cause of the trail in the U.S. House of Representatives."

Bizz Johnson Trail Reviews

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Awesome for a fast run or leisurely bike ride. Beautiful red rock canyon walls & a wonderful scent from a certain plant (not sure what it is).
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This trail worked out great for me, I was staying in South Lake Tahoe for 2 weeks, and it only took about 2 1/2 hours to drive there. Two of us got a late start driving from Tahoe; but there were plenty of great sites just minutes away from parking. Parked just west of Lassen, CA. at the very beginning of Lassen National Forest. We started hiking west on the rail-trail; went off the trail to higher elevation to get great panoramic views of the area. Unfortunetly, this winter has not brought much snow to the Sierra Nevadas; but the peace and quiet on that late January day was amazing. The only people we saw the entire day were Sheriff's Work Crews. While that was a little unsettling at to see at first; as soon as we entered, the inmates were ordered into their bus. Overall, the trail was fine, eventhough we did not have enough daylight to walk through any of the tunnels on the trail; the Susan river and the quiet made it all worth the drive.
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The Bizz Johnson is approx. 25 miles long from Susanville to Westwood. Most people who ride the entire distance start at the Westwood end, because the entire distance is downhill back to Susanville. The Lassen Rural Bus out of Susanville runs a shuttle from Susanville to Westwood for you and your bike during the summer months, so you can avoid the transportation delimma. It's currently March 10, and last weekend I was snowshoeing on about 3 feet of snow at the westwood end of the trail, but the Susanville end looked like summer. Check current conditions before heading out. There are 2 other points to pick up the trail if you don't want to ride the whole way: Devil's Corral, approx 5 miles from Susanville, and Goumaz, approx 10 miles from Susanville. Devil's Corral is more popular, because it's right off of the highway, and Goumaz is about 9 miles off of highway 36 on dirt logging roads. The 25 miles is a relatively moderate ride, becuase it's all downhill, and becuase it's a rail-trail: it was built as a railroad line when trains still couldn't climb more than a 1% grade. So today it's basically a well maintained dirt road that's never very steep. For the most part the trial is beautiful, winding along the Susan River, crossing wooden bridges (a few good swimming holes along the way) and traveling through tunnels built in the 1800's for the railroad. Lights are not necessary, the tunnels are fairly short. The Lassen National Forest is beautiful country. The 10 or so miles closest to Susanville are more visually appealing in my book. This is a great family trail..definatetly not anywhere near technical by any definition. It's worth doing, however, for the scenery, and because you probably won't see another soul the entire way. The trail is open to horses and hikers, so be alert. Bike rentals are available at the Susanville end of the trail.

Bizz Johnson Trail Photos

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Trail Information

Lassen National Forest
Nearby City
Lassen National Forest
Additional Use
Bureau of Land Management, Eagle Lake Resource Area
Local Contacts
USGS Susanville, USGS Roop Mountain
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018