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Plumas National Forest covers 1,162,863 acres in northern California, straddling the transition zone between two of the West's great mountain ranges, the Sierra Nevada and the Cascades. Although the Sierra block disappears under the younger volcanic rock of the Cascades on the forest's northern boundary near Lake Almanor, it is difficult to tell where one range ends and the other begins.
The mountains of the northern Sierra Nevada, which make up most of the forest lands, are neither as high nor as spectacular as those south of Lake Tahoe. Yet within these mountains are a history of hidden treasure and a wealth of scenery.
The forest's principal gem is the Feather River watershed. The Feather River has carved numerous canyons and ravines full of cascades and white water. Portions of the Middle Fork of the river and three of its tributaries have been designated Feather Falls Scenic Area. The centerpiece of this 15,000-acre scenic area is 640-foot Feather Falls, which is just above Lake Oroville and is the highest of the numerous waterfalls on the 93-mile-long Middle Fork of the Feather River—a designated wild and scenic river. Water from this forest creates the headwaters for the California state water system.
Because of the rugged terrain and dangerous rapids, canoeing and tubing are recommended only in the recreation zone. Hiking trails and campgrounds are located along the river. Near the headwaters of the South Fork is Little Grass Valley Lake Recreation Area, which offers swimming, fishing and camping.
An extensive network of roads crisscrosses the national forest. Routes such as the Feather River National Scenic Byway, which crosses the lowest pass in the Sierra Nevada, are a legacy of the gold rush era when towns like Rich Bar, Pulga and La Porte were flourishing mining camps. Anglers and hikers have replaced miners, frequenting such popular areas as Bucks Lake, Lake Davis, Frenchman Lake and Antelope Lake. Seventy-one miles of the Pacific Crest Trail run through the national forest.
Information about campgrounds and recreational opportunities is available at the District Ranger stations and the Forest Headquarters in Quincy. Maps and guides to the Pacific Crest Trail and the Feather Falls Scenic Area also are available at the headquarters. For more information contact Plumas National Forest, 159 Lawrence St., Quincy, CA 95971; phone (530) 283-2050.
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Current Location: Plumas National Forest, California