A snowy Plumas County mountain scene

Winter Weekend Ideas in Northern California

Photo by Eddie Mutch

Winter in Plumas County

Winter in Plumas County is quiet and magical. The region offers everything from cozy cabins and backcountry skiing to Christmas tree cutting and quaint, mountain-town events. Read on for snow adventures and winter trip ideas for your getaway in the Lost Sierra!

Winter Sports

Beat the crowds at Tahoe and other popular mountain resorts for rural and rugged Plumas County! If you enjoy snow sports like backcountry skiing, snowmobiling, sledding, and snowshoeing, our small mountain towns offer a gateway to Lost Sierra adventure.

Ice Skating

The Chester Park Ice Rink is the perfect place to bring your little ones to try skating for the first time. The charming rink near the town Christmas tree is open Friday-Sunday from December 8th to March 24, 2024. Sponsored by the Lake Almanor Chamber, the cost is just $5 per person for a 45-minute session (including the skate rental!). For more details, visit the Lake Almanor Ice Rink page. Bundle up and enjoy this ice this winter!

Ski and Sled Hills

  • Coppervale Ski Hill: Lassen Community College owns and operates a ski area just west of Susanville. Coppervale Ski Hill is about 19 miles east of Chester. Families can ski, snowboard, and sled!
  • Eureka Ski Bowl:  This historic ski bowl is in Plumas-Eureka State Park in Johnsville, 5 miles from Graeagle on County Road A-14. Rustic and with scenic views of surrounding peaks, this ski hill is great for sledding and all levels of backcountry skiing. It’s free, too!
  • Lassen Volcanic National Park: The Park has several famous sledding hills, including one near the West Entrance Visitor Center and another at Manzanita Lake. Read the Park’s Winter Activity Guide to learn more.
  • Stover Hill outside of Chester: Just two miles west of Chester near the highway 36/89 junction is Stover Hill. Turn on Chester Ski Road. Sledding is on the left, about 1.5 miles up the hill.

Winter Birding

With our large mountain valleys and abundant wetlands and lakes, Plumas County offers some interesting birding opportunities all year and winter is no exception. You don’t even have to get up early to see waterfowl like Tundra Swans or raptors like Ferruginous Hawks. Sierra Valley is particularly interesting in winter (just bring your best jacket, ear-muffs, and gloves) as arctic migrants come down to hunt and wait out the winter of the true north.

Christmas Tree Cutting

Make a winter excursion to the woods a family tradition! Plumas National Forest and Lassen National Forest are wonderful places to harvest your very own Christmas Tree. Permits may be purchased November 1st to December 24th of each year. Permits are $10 and allow for up to two trees per family. To learn more, view maps, contact ranger stations, and purchase a permit online, read our Christmas Tree Permit Blog.

Winter Events

There are several special winter season events in our quaint mountain towns. From craft fairs and holiday shopping nights to tree lightings and “the longboards”, there are events for everyone who loves the winter season. Our top picks for Plumas Winter Events are:

Places to Stay

Destination lodging for your winter vacation in the Lost Sierra


We love welcoming visitors to create lifelong memories on our beautiful lands and unique communities. While visiting Plumas County, take the Plumas Pledge to help us care for the health of our natural places and the well-being of our communities.

take the plumas pledge!

  1. Prioritize wildfire prevention
  2. Leave places as you found them
  3. Pack out all of your trash—bonus points if you pick up trash left by others! 
  4. Stay on designated trails and camp in designated areas
  5. Check the weather before heading out
  6. Be mindful of your energy and resource usage
  7. Ditch plastic bottles and drink our mountain fresh tap water instead
  8. Choose locally made products and services from local businesses
  9. Slow down and enjoy the simple pleasures of life in Plumas

Know Before You Go

  • Safety first! Always check weather and road conditions before an outing
  • Not all lodging providers or restaurants are open in the winter. Plan ahead!
  • Depending on snow levels, roads can be closed or have chain requirements 
  • Leave no trace–take all trash with you and stay on designated roads and trails
  • Plan for variable weather and temperatures ranging from below freezing to the mid-60s.
  • Gas stations can be 30 miles or more miles apart–when in doubt, get gas!

Winter Conditions

A few of our mountain roads are CLOSED in winter after the first snow including the Gold Lakes Highway, the Quincy-Oroville Road (Bucks Lake), and La Porte Road. Check road conditions before traveling. 

Plumas County has varied topography and elevations ranging from the lower-end in the Feather River Canyon (2,000’) to high mountains of 8,000′ in elevation. Snow storms and snow cover are most prevalent in the months of January through March, but we sometimes get snow for the holidays in December.

Temperatures also fluctuate. Expect lows in the 20s at nights and daytime highs in the 40s. 

Regions of Plumas County

Four distinct regions define Plumas County, each with their own alluring qualities, diverse destinations, and unparalleled hospitality.

map of plumas county showing the 4 regions

Fun Fact!

Snow in the Sierra is critically important! Nearly 30% of California’s water supply comes from snowpack in the Sierra Nevada.


See information that needs to be updated? Please let us know!