Thomas-Wright Battlefield Trail
ElevationAscent: 42' 13 m
Descent: -106' -32 m
High: 4,406' 1,343 m
Low: 4,341' 1,323 m
GradeAvg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 12% (7°)
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“An easy trail to the site of the last Modoc victory of the Modoc War.”— QuinTCM TCM
Follow the trail as it winds its way around lava flows and out into open wilderness. A very short distance into the trail is the turnoff for Black Crater Trail to the southeast. Continue passed this trail and through the lava flow as it opens up to reveal brush covered land dotted with wildflowers. The trail ends at a small rocky outcropping. Directly east from this location is Hardin Butte, behind which is the large lava flow Schonchin Flow. Head back along the trail to return.
The battle that took place at the Thomas-Wright Battlefield occurred on April 26, 1873 when a small contingent of U.S. soldiers rested here for lunch on their way to Hardin Butte. Unbeknownst to them, a small group of Modoc warriors was watching them from near Schonchin Butte. The leader of this small group of Modoc Warriors was a man named Scarfaced Charley.
Scarfaced Charley ordered his Modoc Warriors to fire on the U.S. soldiers and killed or wounded two-thirds of them within 45 minutes. The Modocs suffered no casualties. Sensing victory, Scarfaced Charley halted the battle and allowed the remaining U.S. soldiers to leave back to Gillems Camp. The Modoc were never victorious in battle again.
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Photos, ADA Accessible, Need to Know, Flora & Fauna
Land Manager: U.S. National Park Service - Lava Beds National Monument