Frenchman Recreation Area

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Located in the headwaters of the Feather River, Frenchman Lake is only 38 miles northwest of Reno, NV, and 26 miles northeast of Portola, CA. The California Department of Water resources created the lake in 1962 by damming Little Last Chance Creek. A shoreline 21 miles long ends at the 129-foot tall earthen dam, which rises to an elevation of 5,607 feet. During summer, this recreation area offers a variety of outdoor experiences, including: camping, hiking, biking, picnicking, fishing, swimming, boating, water-skiing, jet-skiing and hunting. Winter activities range from snowmobiling to ice fishing and cross-country skiing.

There are five campgrounds, one picnic area, several fishing accesses and two docks. Lunker Launch Facility is open with the dock available

Click Here for a recreation guide

At a Glance

Current Conditions: As of March 15, 2019 ice fishing and other winter related activities dominate recreation at Frenchman Lake Recreation Area. Plumas County has plowed the snow across the dam. All roads around the lake remain blocked by two to three feet of snow. All campgrounds will remain closed after the snow melts to allow timber thinning activities to continue.
Operational Hours: Frenchman Lake Recreation Area is open throughout the year. Some facilities in  the recreation area close during the off-season October to April.
Area Amenities: Accessible,Boat ramp,Tent camping,Camping trailer,Fee charged for some activities,Picnic tables,Toilets,Drinking water,Parking
Open Season: January
Restrictions: Frenchman Lake Recreation Area is closed to cutting fuelwood, Christmas Tree cutting and dispersed camping. Additional restrictions at specific sites are posted at sign kiosks for that location.
Closest Towns:  Chilcoot, CA
Information Center: Beckwourth Ranger District Office P.O. Box 7, 23 Mohawk Rd., Blairsden, CA 96103 Open 8 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday (530) 836-2575

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Camping & Cabins

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Nature Viewing

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Water Activities

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Picnic tables Available at camp sites and day use areas
Drinking water at campgrounds
Toilets at all campgrounds and day use areas. Also at some fishing access points
Parking yes
Boat ramp Two boat ramps available
Fee charged for some activities camping and day use parking fee
Tent camping Yes
Accessible Each campground has accessible sites available
Camping trailer Yes
Areas & Activities



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