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A hike through a literal fortress of lava.


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Map Key

1.3

Miles

2.1

KM

Loop

4,115' 1,254 m

High

4,049' 1,234 m

Low

104' 32 m

Up

107' 33 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

11%

Max Grade (6°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Views

Overview

Named for Modoc chief Captain Jack (Kintpuash in Modoc), this area was a stronghold for the Modoc people during the Modoc War. With only 53 warriors in their company of 160, the Modoc held off the United States Army for several months from this location.

Description

This area was a stronghold for the Modoc people during the Modoc War. Outnumbered by almost 10 to 1, the Modoc, knowing this area's topography well, used this knowledge to their advantage. They used the lava beds as a defensive stronghold, fending off the U.S. troops from December 1872 to April 1873.

As you hike this trail through the confusing paths of the stronghold, think of the courage it took for a small band of Modoc people to endure the winter of 1872-1873 here. Try as well to imagine the fear Army soldiers must have felt launching an assault on this fortress of lava.

Hospital Rock, one of the sites from which the Army attacked, is also visible from high points within the stronghold. It can be visited along the road just to the east. Once the Army drove the Modoc from this stronghold, they soon drove them from their entire homeland. Still, a modern culture of Modoc descendants survives, especially in Oregon and Oklahoma. You may see prayer ribbons and sage offerings hanging on the medicine pole near the junction of the two trails, signifying the continuing importance of this special place.

History & Background

This location is incredibly rich with history. Be sure to stop, take a quick break, and read all of the historic markers on site.

Contacts

Shared By:

Tom Robson

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 2 votes

#4068

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  4.0 from 2 votes
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Recommended Route Rankings

#569

in California

#4,068

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Photos

The beautiful Northern California landscape.
Feb 2, 2016 near Tulelake, CA
Medicine Pole at Captain Jacks Stronghold.
Feb 2, 2016 near Tulelake, CA

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Jul 5, 2020
Anastasia Gratsinopoulos
0h 20m
Aug 13, 2018
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