Things to See and Do Forests/Wilderness
The beauty and solitude of nature is what Plumas County is all about. There is plenty of quiet, open space, and fresh air. You won't find it crowded with tourists.
More than three-quarters of Plumas County's 2,618 square miles is national forest land. The Plumas National Forest encompasses the majority of that, while the Lassen National Forest takes in part of the northern end of the county and the Tahoe National Forest touches into the south and east.
The Plumas National Forest occupies 1.2 million acres of scenic mountain lands in the northern edge of the Sierra Nevada, just south of the Cascade range. Known for its high alpine lakes and thousands of miles of clear-running streams, the forest sits at the top of the watershed that supplies water to many California citizens.
Trees within the forest are mostly grand conifers, which reach high into the sky and are beautifully latticed with snow during winter, and various hardwoods that turn brilliant in the fall.
Outdoor enthusiasts are attracted year-round to the national forest and its waterways, beautiful deep canyons, rich mountain valleys and lofty peaks. There are hundreds of maintained campsites and numerous picnic spots to choose from.
Recreational opportunities are available in every season. Some 292 miles of trails are maintained throughout the forest, including the Pacific Crest Trail.
The forest, and the sparsely populated rural communities that surround it provide a feeling of seclusion and tranquility. If you're needing to rest, reflect and get away from it all, this is the place.
Forest and Watershed Tours
Forest Tours and workshops are offered on selected Fridays and Saturdays from May to October by Sierra Institute, a non-profit research and education organization used in the northern Sierra Nevada range.
The hands on, educational tours showcase innovative forest and water projects in Plumas County and emphasize the relationship of people with "working landscapes." These landscapes include forests, ranches, and watersheds that underpin the economic survival of local rural communities, while also serving as habitat for wildlife, and protection for California's vital water resources.
Tours discuss the environmental and cultural history of the area, including watershed management, hydropower, ranching, forest management, timber operations, and conflict resolution.
Special wilderness areas of the forest are managed to protect and preserve their pristine natural values. These areas offer excellent hiking, backpacking and horseback riding in a primitive, completely undeveloped setting.
In the Plumas National Forest, the 24,000-acre Bucks Lake Wilderness near Bucks Lake has a broad diversity of plant life, trees and landscape features. Ranging from 2,000 to 7,017 feet in elevation, Bucks Lake Wilderness includes gentle slopes, steep canyons and sheer cliffs. Most of it is rugged with human access difficult. The Pacific Crest Trail crosses the area, and Lassen Peak is visible on clear days, 40 miles to the north.
The Caribou Wilderness is located in the Lassen National Forest just north of the Almanor Basin. This is a gentle, rolling forested plateau dotted with mountain lakes, cratered peaks and cinder cones, evidence of Caribou’s volcanic past. Hiking here is generally easy.
No permits are needed to visit these wilderness areas, but fire permits for primitive camping are required. Visitors to these areas are asked to tread lightly and leave nothing behind. Mechanical vehicles (including mountain bikes) are not allowed.