Mountain biking on Mount Hough in Northern California

Mountain Biking in Northern California

By Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship

Mountain Biking and Gravel Riding in Plumas County

Three seasons of biking adventures await in Plumas County. From technical and challenging in the Lakes Basin Recreation Area to rolling and flowy trails near Quincy; there are fun rides for all levels of rider. With some of the best mountain biking and gravel riding in Northern California,  Plumas County offers varied terrain and beautiful scenery with trails near campgrounds and mountain town communities for your overnight stays.

Destination Downhill and Singletrack Trails

Plumas County’s most iconic mountain biking trails are Mount Hough and Mills Peak, both of which offer big views, challenging terrain, and fast and fun descents. For beginner and family friendly rides, the South Park trail system in Quincy and the Lake Davis trail outside of Portola are not to be missed. Most Plumas County singletrack is fairly high in elevation. Open and rideable trails vary by location and depend on snowmelt and weather. Many trails are rideable late May through October.

South Central Plumas singletrack

  • Mount Hough: 12 miles and 3,800 vertical feet of singletrack starting at Crystal Lake and ending at a swimming hole on Spanish Creek just outside of Quincy.
  • South Park Trail System: Fun and family-friendly cross-country trails at the base of Mount Hough and along Spanish Creek with options for short loops or longer rides with ridgeline views.
  • Bucks Summit Bike Route:  Easy 3.8 mile single track loop near Bucks Lake

Southeast Plumas singletrack

  • Mills Peak: 8 miles of high mountain singletrack near Graeagle that rips down the mountain through beautiful forest and craggy rocks. A great shuttle run, and you can book a shuttle through Yuba Expeditions in Quincy where you can shuttle both Mills Peak and Mount Hough in the same day. 
  • Lakes Basin Recreation Area: Technical and challenging high mountain trails for the intrepid riders with granite steps, steep climbs, narrow trails, and rocky terrain. An epic landscape of many lakes.
  • Lake Davis Trail: a 7 mile lakeshore trail that meanders through forests and meadows. This is a multi-use trail and good for families and beginners, just watch for pedestrians and equestrians. 
  • Little Grass Valley Lakeshore Trail: A 13 mile trail that meanders around the entire lake with a mixture of single track and double track sections. 

Choose your own Gravel Adventure

Miles and miles of backcountry roads within the Plumas National Forest offer an almost endless number of interesting, challenging, and scenic rides for the intrepid gravel enthusiast. 

Many of Plumas County’s lakes feature dirt roads near the lakeshore that climb to ridgetop vistas, through beautiful meadows, and up to lookout towers. These are truly the roads less traveled and not for the faint of heart. To plan your gravel or bike packing adventure, Plumas National Forest Quad maps and the Backcountry Discovery Trail guide are super helpful and it is recommended that you scout your ride by high clearance vehicle first, or ride with someone who knows the route. 

Looking for an introduction to gravel riding in Plumas County? Attend the annual Lost and Found Gravel Festival in Portola in early June for a weekend of outdoor activities and a 35, 60, or a 100 mile race. The dirt roads that riders get to sample during this event represent just a little over 2% of the 4,482 miles of roads and trails found within the Plumas National Forest, the “Gravel Capital of the West”. A local film producer in Graeagle, Lost Sierra Productions, created a short film, Lost on Purpose, that showcases the gravel riding and scenery this area has to offer. 

Plan your visit to Plumas county for some of the best mountain biking in Northern California.

Know Before You Go

  • Trails and backcountry roads are remote. Know your route and download a map
  • Safety first! Check weather conditions, always ride with a friend, bring supplies
  • Summer riding can be hot! Avoid midday riding when temps are high
  • Be self supported–know how to fix a flat and don’t count on your cell phone working 
  • Most trails are shared and multi-use: Practice good trail etiquette 
  • Mountain biking is not permitted in designated wilderness areas of the forest, or on the Pacific Crest Trail

Bike Shops, Shuttles, and Gear Rentals

Resources

Learn more about mountain biking and trail stewardship in Plumas County

Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship

SBTS is a nonprofit organization that builds and maintains multi-use trails in the Sierra Buttes and Lost Sierra. SBTS is famous in the mountain biking world for developing trails in Downieville, California. To learn more about SBTS, including about their bike-centric events, volunteer trail work days, and the 600 mile “Lost Sierra Route” project, watch the video below.

Did You Know?

There are 4,482 miles of roads and trails within Plumas National Forest–adventure awaits in the “gravel capital of the West”!

 

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Discover more of Plumas County
Places to stay in Plumas County
Quincy

Has a small-town atmosphere that will refresh your spirit. Enjoy watching the sunset over Spanish Peak from your own porch.

Canyon Dam

A family owned/operated resort since 1928, featuring 9 cabins, 25 RV sites, marina, cafe and a commitment to providing an amazing vacation experience

Keddie

Unrivaled privacy on 5 acres of river. Wake up to coffee on the deck listening to the river, birds and basking in the morning sun.