Once known as Fort Defiance
Isaac Roop named this town, founded 1854, after his daughter. It sat at the heart of what Roop declared the Territory of Nataqua, a region independent of the state of California. Roop’s break-away was not recognized by the federal government and eventually led to the bloodless Sagebrush War of 1863, waged between California and Nevada over ownership of the area – a period when Roop labelled his Susanville home Fort Defiance. Susanville these days is primarily a place to eat, sleep and stock up on provisions for trips into remoter areas, but finds space to document the 19thC disputes inside the Lassen Historical Museum, 75 N. Weatherlow Street.
Driving Detour – Eagle Lake
Camping grounds and marinas dot the shoreline of Eagle Lake, 30 miles north of Susanville along Hwy-139 and an enjoyable half-day spin. The largest natural lake entirely within California and one plentifully supplied with unusually plump trout, Lake Eagle is predictably popular with anglers. Linger long enough by the lakeside and you may be treated to the sight of bald eagles, pelicans or ospreys swooping to claim their share of the lake’s fish stocks