Captain Jack's Stronghold: Captain Jack's Trail is a 0.7 mile loop trail located near Tulelake, CA. The trail is good for all skill levels and primarily used for hiking and walking.
Spectacular if for no other reason than the history of the place. Be prepared if you are a flag waving white man because this is just one of many places across the continent that we committed murder and genocide. The history of this place is intense as you walk around. Be sure to pick up a trail guide for $1 at the trailhead parking lot.
Two options to visit this historical sites: an INNER loop (a bit under a mile) that goes through the inner defense positions of the Modoc indians warriors (as well as the "living quarters" for their family). This is a dense and intricate network of natural lava trenches, caves and rugged outcroppings. As others have noted, this is no "walk in the woods". There is a reason the Modocs were able to hold off the US Army for so long: this is not easy terrain to wander through. The inner trail (taken clockwise) rejoins the OUTER trail at the place when a makeshift memorial to the Modoc resistance has been erected.
the OUTER look follows the perimeter defenses of the Modocs, with more trenches and caves but, overall, with more of an open feel and may wide views of the plateau around the stronghold. I visited the site late on a slightly stormy June afternoon, all by myself, and the atmosphere of the area was at the same time utterly peaceful and yet loaded with the tragic history behind the Stronghold.
Good shoes/boots and good footing a must!
Note: If history brings you here, you probably know that, couple miles away you can also stop briefly at the site of General Canby's assassination.
Fun hike with kids. We have often enjoyed it on a nice day during the winter months.
Pretty cool trail! You can almost feel the history embedded in the niches in the rock formations as you walk through. Unbelievable views, as we had a beautiful, cool day to complete this loop. Might be a bit hard in the heat of the middle of summer, we just happened to luck out with some cool summer days while visiting the area.
If it wasn't for the historical significance of this site and the fascinating history, this wouldn't be a very good hike. That said the trail alternates between smooth sand and lava rocks that at times form small corridors. Multiple small caves and depressions in the terrain give you a good idea what great hiding places the Modoc indians had during the standoff. Wear good hiking shoes. We did the small loop in sandals and had to very carefully negotiate the lava rock pathway. No time this trip to see the tubes as we were heading north into Oregon. Next time we will explore the rest of the park.
This is descent place to visit. If you are into history n stuff you will like it. There are 2 loops a shorter loop takes you around the place in 0.5 - 0.7 miles. Longer is around 1.7 miles. There are a lot of caves , ambush points and you can imagine how the Indians were able hold off with a very small number of fighters against a significant opposition for 4-5 months.
If you like the desert, caves and history then this is a hike for you. Along the way you will get to see firsthand how the Modoc Indian Chief Captain Jack was able to stand off the American Calvary by hiding behind the lava mounds and traveling thru the lava tubes to get water and steal supplies from the Calary. It's very interesting history that really highlights the ingenuity of man.