snow mobile with lake in background

Snowmobiling Northern California

Snowmobiling Adventures in Plumas County

It’s your lucky day: you’ve just discovered some of the very best snowmobiling in the Western United States! Play in the Lake Almanor Basin to the North, then on to the Bucks Lake/ La Porte areas further south, and then head east to the Lake Davis/Frenchmen Lake Recreation Areas. Put the finish on your ultimate snowmobile adventure with a trip to the Lakes Basin Recreation Area near Graeagle. You will be blown away by the incredible scenery and diverse terrain. There’s something for everyone!


Snow season usually runs from January through March, although we are sometimes blessed with a nice storm in December. Do your snow dance!

Best Snowmobile Areas in Plumas County

Bucks Lake

Located 17 miles southwest of Quincy on Bucks Lake Road (Quincy-Oroville Road), Bucks Lake has long been considered one of the finest snowmobile destinations in the West.  Up to 100 miles of groomed snowmobile routes are maintained during winter, and there are hundreds of ungroomed routes marked for snowmobiling throughout the forest. Snowmobiling is not allowed, however, in the Bucks Lake Wilderness Area. 

Two staging areas are in the vicinity – Bucks Summit and Big Creek. Traveling into the Bucks Lake resorts is via snowmobile, snowcat, or cross-country skiing, as the Bucks Lake Road is not plowed past the summit. Visit the Bucks Lake Snow Drifters page for the latest trail and grooming reports.  Bucks Lake Snowmobile Maps.

Lake Almanor Basin

The Almanor Basin offers an abundance of scenic snowmobiling areas. Near Chester, there are five staging areas–Chester-Lake Almanor Snowmobile Park, Swain Mountain, Morgan Summit, Jonesville, and Fredonyer– leading to many miles of groomed and ungroomed trails.

A lesser maintained trailhead begins at the boat launch just north of Canyon Dam and continues across to the west side of Highway 89. Another popular area off Highway 89 is Humboldt Road, which offers access to a trail leading to restaurants and lodges along Highway 36 west of Chester.

For more information on the Jonesville area west of Chester, visit the Butte Meadows Hillsiders Snowmobile Club. You’ll find grooming information, maps, and more. 

Indian Valley

Indian Valley offers stunning scenery on marked ungroomed routes.  Popular rides include the unplowed road from Genesee to Antelope Lake, the Lights Creek trail north of Taylorsville, and Old Haun Road north of Greenville. 

South Eastern Plumas County

Gold Lake Highway, which winds through the Lakes Basin Recreation Area south of Graeagle, has spectacular beauty and diverse terrain that has made it a primary snowmobiling destination for many years. The road is unplowed, groomed, and marked from the staging area.  Snowmobilers can choose from many trails that branch off the road, including a groomed trail to Mills Peak Lookout, or continue south to the staging area at Bassett’s Station.

Historic La Porte is also renowned for its excellent snowmobiling opportunities, with more than 80 miles of marked, groomed trails, a staging area with a warming hut and restrooms, and four trailside warming huts.
The best access is from the southern route (from Marysville/Oroville, via Highway 20 and County Road E-21).

Lake Davis and Frenchman Lake

Farther east, the trout fisheries of Lake Davis and Frenchman Lake near Portola become excellent locations for snowmobiling during the winter.  Ungroomed trails run around both lakes, and there’s a parking area at Davis Lake off Grizzly Road. 

For more detailed maps of the trails, staging areas, and warming huts, contact the Plumas National Forest (530) 283-2050 or the Lassen National Forest (530) 258-2141.

Winter Lodging

Not all lodging providers are open year round. Available lodging during the winter months, best to reserve in advance of visiting.

Know Before You Go

  • In the winter, the Quincy/La Porte Road is not plowed from Quincy
  • Know standard hand signals to communicate with other snowmobilers
  • Know and Obey Signs
  • Respect other winter recreationists
  • Slow near wildlife
  • Snowmobile dos and don’ts

Annual Snowmobile Poker Runs

Snowmobile Clubs

Fun Facts

  •  A thriving logging industry in Plumas County has created an excellent back-country road system that provides miles and miles of access for snowmobilers to get almost anywhere in the county. A few days are not enough – you can spend years exploring and still not see it all!
  • Land in Plumas County is 75% owned by government agencies, meaning that 75% of our landmass is available for snowmobiling!
  • Hot tip: The US Forest Service has created Motor Vehicle Use Maps for Plumas County, designed to show what type of vehicles are allowed on a given road system. (ATVs, dirt bikes, side-by-sides, etc.) Grab up a pack for free at any US Forest 

More Information


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Discover more of Plumas County
Places to stay in Plumas County

Beautiful treed park with great internet tucked away from Highway 70 in Quincy, with rivers, lakes, and recreation areas not far outside of town.

Lake Almanor

Set in a quiet cove, off Peninsula Drive, this lake access home sleeps 10.


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