Best Hikes in Plumas National Forest (CA)


Plumas National Forest is located at the northern terminus of the Sierra Nevada, just north of the Tahoe National Forest and just south of the Cascade Range. The Forest was named after its primary watershed, the Rio de las Plumas, which was later anglicized to “Feather River”. The forest is divided into 3 ranger districts: Beckwourth, Feather River, and Mount Hough. In addition to the best hiking trails listed below, 75 miles of PCT through Plumas National Forest. Official Website.

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Nearest Metro AreaChico, CA
Area Size1,146,000 acres
EstablishedMarch 4, 1907
Hiking Trails300 miles

Trailhead Traveler’s Recommended Hikes in Plumas National Forest

  • Bear Lakes and Round Lake Loop – 3.75 mile loop
    • This is the most favored day hike in the region because it overlooks or touches nine mountain lakes. It encompasses varied terrain at an average elevation of 6,600 feet and offers access to the Long Lake Trail.
  • Feather Falls Loop – 8.0 mile loop
    • Scenic hike to breathtaking overlook of Feather Falls the 6th highest falls (400′) in the continental United States. The falls is best observed from the platform near the bottom.
  • Long Lake Loop + Mt. Elwell – 6.0 mile loop
    • Beginning near the Elwell Lakes Lodge, this hike loops around Long Lake. It includes access to waterfalls, summer and fall wildflowers, wildlife, and access to lakes and grand vistas. Once the trail intersects with Mount Elwell Trail, it is another 0.8 miles to the summit. The views from here are great, with the Feather River in the valley to the north and the Lakes Basin to the south.

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