By Molly Barber
Photos Courtesy of BLM & Molly
Like most kids away at college, summer always brought me a welcome sense of freedom; not just in terms of school work but it’s when I got to go ‘home’ to spend the long, warm days in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada. Most summers were spent working at least two jobs but that didn’t mean we didn’t get to have fun too-we always made time for that. Usually my partner in crime, Kyle Sawyer, and I enjoyed spending time in the outdoors. We played frisbee golf daily, went to the lake for swimming and bonfires, quad rides and hiked all over the mountains. I’m not sure what exactly planted the idea of us riding the Bizz Johnson Trail but it stuck and soon Kyle and I were planning a day we both had off work.
Like most of our mornings, I can’t say we got up early for our excursion but we probably hit the road at about 11. We grabbed some water and snacks, threw them in our backpacks and were dropped off at Mason Station out Highway A-21. We hopped on our bikes and were off.
The trail is dirt, sometimes it has rocks scattered throughout it and has also been known to have patches of sand or loose dirt that can be tricky for some. Going from Westwood to Susanville is a pretty chill ride- being mostly flat if not a little down hill. The first part of the trail isn’t much to write home about but when you get to the Susan River, it starts to get
a little more exciting. The trail crosses the river a total of 12 times! Sometimes you cross over bridges but a couple of times it’s over trestles. Oh and did I mention the tunnels yet? Because there’s two of them you get to go through!
I remember stopping somewhere between Goumaz and Devil’s Corral and taking a little break. Kyle dived into the MRE we ‘borrowed’ from the Big Guy but he lacked the patience to fully cook the meal and instead ate it lukewarm. Gross… I guess it’s a good thing they put lots of snacks in those things.
From there the ride went pretty quick and before we knew it we were riding into Hobo Camp and then on into Susanville. The trail ended for us at the Susanville Historical Railroad Depot Lassen Land And Trails Trust Office. We didn’t get to go in the museum that day because we arrived after closing but if you plan your trip right it might be an interesting place.
The trail is open year around but in the winter only 18.5 miles is open for cross country skiing. You can camp along the trail for up to seven days on BLM and Forest Service lands and you’ll still need a campfire permit if you want to have a fire. And remember it is ‘primitive camping’ (no bathrooms).
Lassen Rural Bus service also offers shuttle services for individuals or large groups riding the trail (or even hiking or running). The bus operates Monday through Saturday. They will also drop you off at Devil’s Corral, Fredonyer Summit, Westwood or Susanville. There is a small bus fare and you do have to have exact change but it sounds like a legit opportunity if you only want to do portion of the trail.
If you have a big ol’ group you can call the BLM Eagle Lake Field Office at +1.530.257.0456 to reserve the bike shuttle. There’s also parking at both ends of the trail, if you are just looking for a nice walk or ride with the family.
This was a really fun experience for Kyle and me, plus it’s right in our backyard. The trail can be done easily in a day and is fun for any experience level of biker.
So if you find yourself with some free time this summer, do a little planning and take a ride on the Bizz. You can find a printable map of the trail at