Some of the best and varied horseback riding in Northern California can be found in Plumas County.
You’ll find many options to make those dreams of riding in the mountains and around lakes come true in Plumas County. You can enjoy breathtaking views of rivers, lakes, and meadows from high mountain trails and cool creek side rides in the shade of tall pines. Hourly or day rides, pack trips, and horse camping options are available throughout the county.
Tips and guidelines to ensure a safe and memorable experience
The riding terrain is varied, and elevations range from 2,400 feet to over 7,000 feet. When bringing your horse and rig to attend an organized ride, race, or event, plan accordingly for both you and your horse to adjust to elevation changes from your home location.
Plan on preconditioning yourself and your horse before riding in the Sierras and Cascades. Once here, take time to breathe in the mountain air and absorb the beauty of the mountain vistas, lakes, and streams you will find while riding.
Practice the principles of “Leave No Trace.”
“When I ride out of the mountains, I’ll leave only hoof prints, take only memories.”
Where to Go Horseback Riding in Plumas County
Lassen Park is best known for its volcanoes and hiking. For the equestrians, Lassen Park offers exceptional horseback riding and camping opportunities.
Horses are allowed on all designated trails except Manzanita Lake Trail, Lassen Peak Trail, Reflection Lake, Bumpass Hell Trail, and Sulphur Works along the main park road as well as Devil’s Kitchen in the Warner Valley and a portion of Cinder Cone Trail in the Butte area of the park.
Horses must stay on designated trails when traveling in the park. There are three designated areas with corals for overnight camping.
Butte Lake Corral is located in the NE portion of the park near Cinder Cone. This does require a 45-minute drive on a well-maintained dirt road from Highway 44.
Juniper Lake Corrals are within walking distance from Juniper Lake. The drive to the corrals takes over one hour from the main road just outside of Chester. Getting to the corrals requires driving seven miles of rough dirt road.
If riding into the backcountry, use permits are required. Saddle and Pack Use in Lassen Volcanic National Park.
A favorite staging area for horseback riding in the Caribou Wilderness is the Hay Meadow Trailhead, which offers plenty of space for vehicles and trailers to park.
Horseback riding is allowed on the majority of the trails within the National Forest. Horses are limited to designated developed campground areas.
High Mountain Riders – an equestrian club website with local information to help plan your horseback vacation
Overnight Horse Boarding
Here are two private overnight boarding options in Plumas County
St. Bernard Lodge – a bed and breakfast in Mill Creek. Their website has details on riding the PCT from Domingo Springs to Drakesbad and the Hay Meadow Trails. They can help with trail information in Northwest Plumas County
Spice Camp Horse Boarding and Camping offers overnight horse boarding in Chester.
Know Before You Go
Always check the current status of trails by visiting Lassen National Forest or Plumas National Forest. For detailed information and maps on all of the available trails in the area, call the Plumas National Forest (530) 283-2050 or the Lassen National Forest (530) 258-2141.
Some trails are designated multi-use so that you may be sharing the trail with bikes and other types of off-road vehicles and hikers
Forage is limited or non-existent on many trails or areas to camp with your horse. It’s recommended that you pack in your feed. Some National Forest and the National Park sites require feed to be certified weed-free.
Be prepared for quickly changing weather conditions