The Remote and Overlooked Valley In Northern California You’ll Find Irresistibly Charming
Tucked away in the northeast corner of California is a valley that is so remote, most folks don’t even know it exists. Imagine a place filled with rural charm, a slow paced approach to life, and beautiful scenery as far as the eye can see. Your imagination doesn’t have to stretch too hard, Surprise Valley in Modoc County is just a car ride away.
Surprise Valley is also known as the tricorner region because it is where the boarders of Oregon, Nevada, and California meet. It is a high desert landscape that is desolate yet stunning.
Most of the valley is federal public land and unsettled. The 4 areas of civilization here are Eagleville, Cedarville, For Bidwell, and Lake City.
Surprise Valley road and the southern end of Surprise Valley, not long after crossing the Nevada border. The surprisingly level long ridge across the middle of the picture is a ridge covered with a lava flow.
Don't be surprised to see several old and crumbling buildings, such as this one. Here you can see the Flouring Mill in Lake City opened in 1868 and was still in operation in 1966.
Here's an image of what had once been the Central Garage that sold Shell gas in Lake City. The place is eerie, yet intriguing.
This area's original Native American inhabitants called it the "The Smiles of God." Despite its remoteness, it really is a beautiful place, especially for those seeking solitude.
Make sure you stock up on emergency provisions, however. With no help for miles, it's not a place you want to try your luck if you run out of water or fuel.
Leaving Cedarville and Civilization.
Ranching is one of the primary industries out here, and you will fall in love with this way of life.
If you look very closely, you can see there is a coyote to the right of the hay enclosure.
It's also a great place for outdoor recreation and is the location of Surprise Valley Hot Springs resort, pictured here on a 26 degree morning.
First time visitors can pick up a a brochure at the BLM office in Cedarville, pack up a picnic lunch, and head off to experience the rugged beauty of the Great Basin.
Just east of the valley, take the self-guided 93-mile Surprise Valley-Barrel Springs Byway. During your drive, you just might run into a herd of wild mustangs, elk or antelope.
This photo captures one of the last signs of civilization in Eagleville until you reach I-80 in Nevada, 150 miles from here.
Especially if you are from the city, you'll be charmed by the rural way of life here. When driving along valley roads, it is customary to wave and smile at other drivers, horseback riders, and joggers.
Pictured here is the "B.F. Cambron Store, 1898" in Eagleville.
Surprise Valley is known as "Where the Pavement Ends and the West Begins!" Plan your visit as soon as possible (their mild summers are a great time to go!).
Have you ever visited Surprise Valley? If you love visiting remote places in Northern California, you might enjoy this road trip,
The Ultimate Northern California Mountain Town Road Trip.
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