In the 1870’s, the national headlines set there eyes on the Modoc War, a bloody battle between the army and Modoc Tribe in what is now eastern Siskiyou County. The Modoc’s turned out to be a vicious opponent, with the 6-month battle becoming one of the costliest wars in United States history in terms of lives lost and dollars spent per enemy combatant.
Now, you can experience an immersive tour experience through the area to see the crucial geographical points of the war with narration from a Modoc descendant.
A free GPS-enabled immersive audio tour has now been released, which will walk you through the details of the Modoc War from Klamath Falls to the Lava Beds National Monument. On the tour, you’ll discover the roots of the Modoc War, hear Modoc and settler stories, and learn what life was like during this turbulent episode in American history. The tour will take you through the remote areas of Siskiyou County so crucial during the war, including Captain Jack’s Stronghold, Petroglyph Point and Hospital Rock.
The tour is narrated by Cheewa James, author of MODOC: The Tribe That Wouldn’t Die and the great- granddaughter of the Modoc warrior Shkeitko, who was one of the 55 warriors that fought in the stronghold. Other voices will be hears throughout the tour as you’ll experience dramatized accounts from the Modocs and settlers alike.
To complete the tour visitors must first download the VoiceMapTM mobile app (compatible with both Android and iOS), search for The Modoc War: A Homeland Lost, download the tour route to mobile device, then follow step by step instructions in the app. The tour begins in front of the Klamath County Museum on Main Street in Klamath Falls and heads down through the California border and into Siskiyou County. The tour can be taken at any time of day, though for maximum enjoyment and to ensure all of the sites are open, it’s recommended to go on Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm.
The Modoc War was one of the largest conflicts during the westward expansion of the United States. Leading up to the war, the Modoc were forcibly placed in a reservation with one of their historic enemies, the Klamath. The Modoc leader, known as Captain Jack, loosely led several smaller groups into an area that is now known as Captain Jack’s Stronghold, a location on the audio tour. Approximately 55 Modoc warriors and their families held the area against roughly 300 U.S. soldiers and volunteers until peace talks were negotiated.
This is one of the best immersive historical experiences in Northern California, so go explore and make a day or weekend of it! For lots more to see and do in east Siskiyou including birding, caving and cycling, search here. And, for great places to stay while you’re in east Siskiyou, check out lodging options in Dorris and Tulelake here.