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off-roading plumas county

Off Road Recreation Adventures

Best Places Off-Road in Plumas County

Off road recreation opportunities are endless in Plumas County! Whether you are a fan of Dirt Bikes, ATVs, Side-by-Sides, Rock Crawlers, or 4x4s, we have something for you. Consider Plumas County’s long-running logging industry, to get to the woods you will need roads! The loggers built them. The US Forest Service currently shows 4,482 miles of off-highway access roads in Plumas County…this could take awhile. Our recommendation: visit any Forest Service office in the county and pick up a free copy of the Motor Vehicle Use Maps, grab your GPS, and hit the road. 

Do you like awesome views? How about planning a route to hit some of the over 22 Fire Lookouts in the area? All are situated high on a peak and offer an incredible 360-degree view, mind-blowing! As an added bonus, many of the lookouts have been replaced by satellite technology and have been converted to accommodate lodging; you can rent one for a few days and hang out, what an experience! 

How about making one of the 100 lakes in the county your destination? Hit the over 1000 miles of rivers and streams? Explore the mining history in the Johnsville, Lakes Basin area? How about a visit to Crystal Peak near Frenchmen Lake? The opportunities are endless! Load up your rig, get your camping gear, your fishing outfit, your gold pan – let’s do this!

The guide book, Backcountry Discovery Trail, by Plumas National Forest and is now available at all Plumas National Forest Ranger District Offices. This beautiful guidebook is also available as a PDF.

New to off-roading

Do not own an ATV or 4-wheel vehicle, but always wanted to have the experience?  Look no further than Sierra Touring Company.  Spend a day with Ken and Kathy Smith, and let them show you how much fun can be had.  Learn a little history of the area, and take in spectacular views and unique rock formations on a 2-3 hour guided tour.

Easier Trails to Test your Rig

Most of the ATV routes are old logging roads that are all mapped nicely on the Forest Service OHV use maps. Have fun and explore, make use of the OHV maps. Best to pick a destination and then map it out. 

Suggested Destinations to start with

  1. Lake Almanor to Soda Springs
  2. Canyon Dam to Seneca
  3. Butte Valley Reservoir to Seneca or Soda Springs
  4. Spencer Lakes
  5. Johnsville to La Porte

2  Challenging Routes

if you are looking for more rugged off-highway adventure, head for one of the 4×4 routes, staging areas, or campgrounds developed specifically for off-highway vehicles.

  1. Gold Valley 4X4 trail
  2. Snake Lake Lake Basin Recreation Area

Know Before You Go

  • Safety first. Notify someone of your route and the time you expect to return.
  • Cell phone coverage is limited. Download to your phone or print out a map before you go.
  • Do not count on apps unless they work offline
  • Confirm current conditions and permits needed
  • Leave no trace. Take all trash with you and stay on designated trails.
  • Be prepared for the unexpected
  • Be prepared for quickly changing weather

Additional Resources


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Discover more of Plumas County
Places to stay in Plumas County

We’re not a five star accommodation but we are the jewel of the Sierra Mountains. Clean, comfortable and with many amenities.

Lake Almanor

Magical home with gorgeous lake and sunset views. Sleeps 10. Located in the Lake Almanor Country Club with all the amenities.


This home is located in the heart of Chester. Minutes to Lake Almanor, for boating, water sports, swimming, kayaking, 40 minutes to Mt. Lassen.