Warner Mountains & Surprise Valley; walking along the summit trail
On this one-week tour, you walk along the summit trail of the Warner Mountains, crossing several mountain creeks and blooming fields of mule ears, lupines and paintbrush. Having reached Warren Peak, with 9,710 ft. only the second highest but more distinctive summit, you’ll see a totally different, alpine wildflower display. About half way, you cut down to Surprise Valley through a wild canyon with volcanic tuff formations and spend a day in historic Cedarville.
From there, a horse-cart ride will take you a longer stretch along the valley’s rich farmlands to Fort Bidwell, where you cut through another canyon back into the Northern Warners. Stuffed with relics from the gold rush past, the Highgrade Mining district offers views not only into local history, but as far as Mount Shasta in the west and the Nevada desert in the east.
Reaching a small forest lake with good opportunities for fishing, you are almost there, exactly where Fletcher’s 1958 trans-Colifornia walk ended, you will put your foot under a wire fence, onto the ground beyond…
Date & costs: This trip is scheduled for late June or July. At this time of the year, the mountain slopes will be carpeted with flowers. Numerous springs create opulent groves of crimson columbine, lilies and cabbage. The stands of water birch and aspen trees with their carvings remind you of the sheepherding past that fired Fletcher’s nostalgia.
The tree where Fletcher carved his name into the bark is yet to be found. However, if you are lucky you’ll meet one of the successors of this Basque heritage driving thousands of sheep across the mountains.
Tour prices depend on the group size and include accommodation at starting point and destination, and caches. The booking includes:
- camping at Blue Lake, starting point
- Tour of 7 days, preparations, cashed goods, photo documentary
- One night at a hotel in Cedarville
- Transfer from New Pine Creek (OR) to starting point
Trip schedule (ca. 85 miles, 65 on foot)
- 1st evening > arrival at Blue Lake campground, or transfer from Ravendale/motel (Hwy395)
- 2nd day > Walk to Summit Trail
- 3rd day > Walk to Patterson Lake, Warren Peak
- 4th day > Descending through Granger Canyon
- 5th day > Half day at historic Cedarville; horse cart ride to Ft. Bidwell, Paiute Indian Res.
- 6th day > Following Bidwell Creek to Highgrade Mining District
- 7th day > Reaching the Oregon border; transfer back to starting point