Plumas National Forest Overview

The Plumas National Forest covers over a million acres of tree-covered mountains, filled with hundreds of high alpine lakes and thousands of miles of clear running streams.

Seventy-five miles of the Pacific Crest Trail cross the Plumas, passing through two major canyons (the Middle and North Forks of the Feather River). Elevations range from 2,400 to 7,000 feet. It joins almost 300 miles of trails that wind throughout the Plumas National Forest.

Hike to Feather Falls
Sixth highest in the United States, this magnificent waterfall is 640 feet high. The hike to the top of Feather Falls takes several hours but it is well worth the effort. Seven miles round trip, you'll want to look for the half-mile markers to chart your progress to the summit. Take a lunch and lots of water. You'll be tired and you may want to linger for the views. Bald Rock is an unusual rock formation that's only a quarter mile from the Feather Falls parking area. Once there you'll get a marvelous view of the great Central Valley. Native Americans ground acorns on Bald Rock and legend has it that Uino, a Maidu monster, protected the Middle Fork of the Feather River from a vantage point high atop Bald Rock.

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Bike at Lakes Basin
Crisp alpine landscapes and striking geological features make this one of the most popular mountain biking areas in the forest. There are 25 natural lakes and ponds connected by a well-maintained trail system. Try the Lake Davis Loop, a flat, easy loop around Lake Davis. Points of interest include Jenkins Sheep Camp, a picnic area, lake view vistas, and bird and wildlife viewing.

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Fish Antelope Lake
One of the remote and quiet major lakes of the forest, this recreation area offers quiet shores and some of the best fishing on the Plumas. It is also a prime place to see or photograph wildlife.

Ski the World's First Competitive Slopes
Johnsville's ski area, located within Plumas Eureka State Park, is a great place for downhill and Nordic skiers. This site, which dates back to 1860, is the oldest recorded sport skiing and ski racing area in the entire western hemisphere. Early day long board ski racers strapped on skis to fly down the 2,600-foot run at more than 90 mph. Today, the ski bowl features beginner to advanced runs and is generally open from mid-December through April.

Raft the Middle Fork
The branches of the Feather River are known for their deep picturesque canyons and good fishing. The Middle Fork is designated a Wild and Scenic River. The Wild Zones are in a deep canyon with numerous large boulders, narrow steep canyon walls, and some impassable waterfalls. Rafting and kayaking opportunities for experts only. The upper stretches of the Middle Fork are in the English Bar Scenic Zone and Recreation Zone. These zones are gentler with easy access. Rafting and canoeing are feasible in the zones, from Clio downstream to the Quincy La Porte Road, in the spring. By early July, flows are low enough so that innertubes and air mattresses are the usual mode for short float trips.

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Drive the Feather River Scenic Byway
The Feather River Scenic Byway offers spectacular views and countless points of cultural, geologic, and historical interest. The Scenic Byway begins 10 miles north of Oroville on State Highway 70, meanders east to U.S. Highway 395, cuts through deeply carved canyons, tunnels through huge boulders, and races alongside the rugged North Fork of the Feather River. The Feather River Scenic Byway was officially dedicated in October 1998.

Climbing over the Sierra's crest and through Beckwourth Pass to the east, you'll glimpse such memorable sights as waterfalls, gigantic rock outcroppings, forested slopes, and delicate meadows. You'll also see a stair step of dams for hydroelectric power, corridors of railroad and highway clinging to mountainsides, and tranquil mountain valley ranches.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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