Backcountry Discovery Trail

The view from the top of Little Volcano, elevation 5801 feet.

The Plumas Backcountry Discovery Trail (BDT) invites exploration of the remote areas of the Plumas National Forest. You can expect rough road conditions on gravel and dirt roads and a slow pace of travel, maybe only 30-50 miles a day. Be prepared for downed trees or rocks on the road, rough and rocky surfaces, and brush encroaching on the road-way. Much of the route is under snow in the winter and early spring. There are no restaurants, grocery stores, or gas stations along the main route and cell phone coverage is intermittent. Then on-paved roads are currently maintained for travel by sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and high-clearance vehicles.

This guide book describes the various routes and makes some recommendations on what types of vehicles canuse them. Alternate routes, which are best traveled in a 4-wheel-drive vehicle, are high lighted as well.

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Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Recreation Conditions Report

 Area Name Status Area Conditions
Antelope Lake Recreation Area Open to Visitor
Beckwourth Ranger District Open to Visitor
Black Mountain Lookout    As of May 22, 2019 the road to the lookout is clear of snow. High clearance vehicles are recommended. The rental season begins on May 25th. If visiting the lookout be respectful of our guest.
Bucks Lake Recreation Area Open to Visitor
Butterfly Valley Botanical Area   
Conklin Park Campground Open to Visitor As of May 24, 2019 the campground is open and ready for the 2019 season. 
Crocker Campground Open to Visitor As of May 24, 2019 the campground is open for the 2019 season.
Crocker Guard Station    As of May 24, 2019 the campground is open for the 2019 season.
Feather Falls National Recreation Trail Open to Visitor
Feather Falls Trailhead Campground Open to Visitor The upper and lower loops of the Feather Falls Trail are open. Please pack out trash.
Feather River Canyon Recreation Area Open to Visitor
Feather River Ranger District Open to Visitor
Frenchman Recreation Area Open to Visitor 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.
Indian Valley Area   
Lake Davis Recreation Area Open to Visitor Deep Sierra snow continues to dominate activites at Lake Davis. Ice fishing and snow related activities continue to be popular. As of March 15, 2019, all roads around the lake are blocked with about six feet of snow. Depending upon weather conditions, it is expected lake access, camping and other activities will be impacted into early May.
Lake Davis Trail    As of May 24, 2019 there have been no reports logged for this trail. Snow has melted in the area. Expect wet condition. Raised areas over meadows and other drainage areas will be slippery.
Lakes Basin Recreation Area Open to Visitor Deep Sierra snow is keeping access to Lakes Basin Recreation Area availible to users of the groomed Over Snow Trails. Plumas County normally opens the Gold Lake Highway in late April to early May. As of Masrch 15, 2019 there is about 15 feet of snow at Gold Lake. Camping, hiking, mountain biking and water sports may be impacted into June depending upon weather conditions.
Little Beaver Campground Closed to Visitor East and north shore campgrounds are closed until further notice due to excessive snow on access roads.
Little Grass Valley Recreation Area Open to Visitor East and north shore campgrounds are closed until further notice due to excessive snow on access roads.
Meadow Valley Area Open to Visitor
Meadow View Equestrian Campground Open to Visitor As of May 24, 2019 the campground is open and ready for the 2019 season. 
Milsap Bar Campground Closed to Visitor Pack out trash.
Mt. Hough Ranger District   
Other Mt. Hough Campgrounds Open to Visitor
Peninsula Tent Campground Closed to Visitor  Peninsula Tent Campground is open for the 2019 season, but most camp sites are still covered in snow. 5/29/19
Sly Creek Campground Closed to Visitor
Strawberry Campground Closed to Visitor
Tooms RV Campground Closed to Visitor Wyandotte Campground is open for the 2019 camping season 5/24/19
Wyandotte Campground Closed to Visitor    Wyandotte Campground is open for the 2019 camping season 5/24/19


Feather Falls Trailhead Campground

Feather Falls Trailhead CampgroundFive developed units are available for overnight campgin on a first come, first-served basis. Each campsite is equipped with a table and a fire ring. Two bear-proof trash bins are available for use at the trailhead. If these bins are full, please pack out your trash. The Feather Falls area is bear habitat, and bears are attracted to trash and food. Please help keep yourself and your fellow campers safe, and store all food and dispose of all waste properly.

For more information on bear safety, please visit:

Feather Falls National Recreation Trail

Don’t leave your camera behind! Feather Falls National Recreation Trail offers incredible views of Bald Rock Dome, Bald Rock Canyon, and the 640-foot Feather Falls.

There are two options to reach the overlook at Feather Falls.

At 1/3 mile past the trailhead, the trail diverges. For the more experienced hiker, take the steep 3.3 mile path to the west, which features about two miles of uphill grade.

The gently sloping 4.5 mile path to the east is ideal for the inexperienced hiker.

The two trails converge approximately 1/2 mile before reaching the Feather Falls observation deck.

Allow a minimum of four to five hours to hike the nine-mile loop. Take plenty of water. Restrooms and non-potable water are available at the trailhead near the parking area, but bring drinking water or a water purifier for the hike. Safety fences near Feather Falls are there for your protection; do not climb over them. The trail is located in a remote area; bring a first aid kit. Poison oak, ticks, bears, and other wildlife are common in the area; be aware and be prepared.

Indian Valley Area

Just north of Quincy in Plumas County, the Indian Valley includes fishing, hiking, swimming, picnicking and camping in the Plumas National Forest. This portion of Highway 89, just north of Quincy connects two major scenic highway routes. Plumas County's "Scenic Byway Link" travels through the quiet, historic communities of Canyon Dam, Greenville, Crescent Mills, and Taylorsville and is a connection between "Feather River National Scenic Byway" on Hwy 70, just north of Quincy and the “Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway", which begins at the northern boundary of the Plumas National Forest. This route makes for great scenic driving throughout the year, but is widely known for its spectacular full fall splendor. Also located in the Indian Valley is the Round Valley Reservoir located three miles above Greenville, which is a warm water fishery containing bass and bluegill and is the site of Plumas National Forest’s annual fishing derby. It’s a popular place for fishing and picnicking, and is nearby to the Greenville campground. The area is also great for bicycling.

Greenville Campground

Greenville CampgroundOpen for the 2019 season

Located in the Indian Valley, and 1 mile north of the town of Greenville, the Greenville Campground is approximately 9 miles from Lake Almanor on Hwy 89. Recently outfitted with new campfire rings as well as a new toilet facility, the site boasts 17 campsites, its own water system, picnic and barbeque areas. The campground adjoins the Greenville horseshoe pits that are well known for its tournaments throughout the summer months.

Operating under a special use permit from the Plumas National Forest, the campground is managed by Royal Elk Park Management.

Located near the outskirts of the historical town of Greenville, visitors have access to groceries, gas, fishing supplies, as well as local shops and eateries. Make plans to enjoy the Greenville Campground – at $20.00 a night, it’s a real bargain!

Bucks Lake Wilderness Gold Lake Trailhead

Gold LakeTrailhead is located at the Silver Lake Campground.

Trail Length - 1.5 miles

Difficulty - Easy

Approximately hiking time - 30 minutes

Swimming and fishing at the lake.  Campsites are limited.  This trail accesses the Bucks Lake Wilderness and the Pacific Crest Trail.

Valley Creek Trail

The Valley Creek Botanical Special Interest Area contains one of the few remaining examples of Sierra Nevada mixed conifer old growth forest in the Northern Sierra Nevada Mountains. It is located on the Plumas National Forest in southern Plumas County, at an elevation of 4500 to 5000 feet. Bob Cermak, a Forest Service District Ranger in the 1960s, recognized its unique beauty and ecological value, and began the process of designating it as a Special Interest Area. His vision was realized in 1961, when it was officially preserved. In 2011, a 2.5-mile hiking trail was completed, providing access for hikers and nature enthusiasts. The trail is gentle with a few moderately steep sections.

The old growth Douglas-fir and Sugar pine provide habitat for many local wildlife species, including the sensitive California spotted owl and Northern goshawk. They also provide dwellings for small mammals. Valley Creek, which runs through the Special Interest Area, has been recognized as habitat for the sensitive foothill yellow-legged frog and the Federally Threatened red-legged frog.

Hartman Bar National Recreation Trail

Hartman Bar Trail has two entry points on either side of the Middle Fork of the Feather River drainage, and the trail descends down to a suspension bridge that crosses the river. The nation's record ponderosa pine tree can be found adjacent to this trail on the north rim. An undeveloped campsite is located on the south side of the river. A horse corral is located at each trailhead. This trail is not recommended for novice horse riders.

Hartman Bar North trailhead (approximate elevation 5,100') is located approximately 54 miles northeast of Oroville, California. The trail descends difficult but scenic terrain to the Middle Fork Feather River at 2,300' elevation over the course of 4.5 miles.

Hartman Bar South trailhead (approximate elevation 4,800') is located approximately 31 miles northeast of Feather Falls. The trail descends difficult but scenic terrain to the Middle Fork Feather River at 2,300' elevation over the course of 3.5 miles, ending at an undeveloped riverside camp. Please observe Leave No Trace principles and pack out all trash.

Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail

 The Plumas National Forest, Feather River Ranger District is home to a 32-mile segment of the internationally renowned Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). This stretch of the PCT runs from Fowler Peak south to Gibsonville Road.

Areas & Activities


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