Skip to main content

Wheeled vehicles restricted on Lassen National Forest during winter

| Lassen National Forest | Forest Info

US Forest Service logoSUSANVILLE, Calif., December 13, 2016 – In anticipation of a wet winter, snowmobile and ski routes in Lassen National Forest will be off-limits to wheeled vehicles from December 26, 2016 through March 31, 2017.

These restrictions are designed to ensure visitor safety and to protect natural resources. Precipitation can soften the ground and roadbeds, increasing the chance of wheeled vehicles getting stuck and causing resource damage. The ruts left by wheeled vehicles in the snow can also create hazardous conditions for snowmobilers and skiers.

Particularly on groomed snowmobile trails, the surface can resemble a road and appear passable. However, if the ground thaws slightly or if a vehicle travels off the groomed section, that vehicle can become stuck.

“We want to ensure the public’s safety and enjoyment of winter activities on the Forest,” said Lassen National Forest Supervisor Dave Hays.

Violating road and trail closures is not only dangerous, it could mean a hefty fine. Violators could also bear the cost of repairing damage to the trails.

In addition, all vehicles with or without wheels are prohibited year-round in designated wilderness areas.

With 400 miles of groomed trails (conditions permitting), Lassen National Forest has the largest snowmobile trail system in California.

While snowmobiling and other winter recreation activities can be fun, Lassen National Forest reminds visitors to be safe and observe the rules of the Forest:

  • Always check the weather forecast ahead of time.
  • Tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back.
  • Never go out alone.
  • Obtain a map of your destination and determine what areas are open to which activities.
  • Wear a helmet, eye protection, and other safety gear when appropriate.
  • Wear clothing appropriate for conditions and the season.
  • Respect the environment and try not to disturb wildlife.
  • Always use common sense and courtesy on the trails.

A weekly report to keep snowmobilers apprised of conditions will soon begin posting on the Lassen National Forest website,, along with Vehicle Use Maps showing roads where wheeled vehicles are seasonally restricted.  For more information about the maps, restricted areas, or current conditions, contact any ranger district or the Forest Supervisor’s Office at (530) 257-2151.

Lassen National Forest lies at the Crossroads of California, where the granite of the Sierra Nevada, the lava of the Cascades and the Modoc Plateau, and the sagebrush of the Great Basin meet. The Forest is managed for recreational access as well as timber and firewood, forage for livestock, water, minerals, and other natural resources.

The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, part U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.