Some of the best and most unusual scenic mountain biking in all of California sits way up at Lava Beds National Monument (Hill Rd., www.nps.gov/labe, Memorial Day–Labor Day 8 a.m.–6 p.m., Labor Day–Memorial Day 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.). You can bike on (relatively) recent lava flows, explore lava tubes, and check out the craters and calderas the volcano left behind.
Or for an easier ride, explore the territory of the Medicine Lake Highland (530/233-5811, www.fs.fed.us/r5/modoc/recreation) east of McCloud in the Modoc National Forest. This region contains Native American sacred sites, so please be respectful. Call the park for more information and the best spots to enter the mountain biking area.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition