Located in northeastern California, Plumas National Forest offers a magnificent landscape for horseback riding enthusiasts. With its vast wilderness and stunning mountain views, the forest provides numerous trails that showcase the area's natural beauty. Whether you're an experienced rider or a novice, exploring the best horse trails at Plumas National Forest is an adventure not to be missed.
1. Bucks Lake Wilderness Trail:
Nestled in the northeastern part of the forest, Bucks Lake Wilderness Trail is a favorite among riders. This moderately challenging trail spans around 17 miles, winding through lush forests, crossing babbling streams, and leading to breathtaking vistas. As you traverse this scenic path, keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife that calls this area home, including deer, black bears, and various bird species.
2. Feather Falls Loop Trail:
For riders seeking a shorter but equally rewarding ride, Feather Falls Loop Trail is an excellent choice. This six-mile loop trail takes you through towering pines and meandering streams, eventually leading to the mesmerizing Feather Falls. The highlight of this trail is the magnificent 640-foot waterfall, making it a perfect spot for a picnic or a rest before heading back on the trail.
3. Gold Lake to Bunker Lake Trail:
Venture further west into the heart of the forest, and you'll discover one of Plumas National Forest's most picturesque trails. The Gold Lake to Bunker Lake Trail offers approximately 13 miles of breathtaking scenery as you ride along the shores of Gold Lake and onwards to the serenity of Bunker Lake. With the iconic Sierra Nevada Mountains serving as a backdrop, this trail offers a truly memorable horseback riding experience.
4. Smith Lake Trail:
Nestled within the Northern Sierras, Smith Lake Trail offers riders a chance to explore the forest's alpine beauty. This moderate six-mile trail takes you through dense forests and across small creeks, eventually leading to the pristine Smith Lake. Surrounded by granite cliffs, the lake provides a perfect resting spot to admire the tranquil surroundings before returning to the trailhead.
5. Mount Hough Crystal Lake Trail:
For advanced riders looking for a more challenging experience, Mount Hough Crystal Lake Trail is an absolute must. This nine-mile trail takes riders through steep terrain, offering panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains at every turn. The highlight of this trail is reaching Crystal Lake, a sparkling jewel nestled high in the mountain range, providing a perfect spot to cool off and take in the awe-inspiring views.
When exploring the best horse trails at Plumas National Forest, it's essential to plan ahead and adhere to the forest's regulations. Keep in mind that some trails require permits, and it's important to respect the environment by staying on designated paths and packing out any waste. Additionally, always bring appropriate gear, including extra water for both you and your horse, sturdy footwear, and a map or GPS device to help navigate the trails.
Plumas National Forest is a treasure trove of natural wonders, and its horse trails provide an exceptional opportunity to immerse yourself in its beauty. From leisurely rides through towering forests to challenging trails with breathtaking views, riders of all skill levels will find plenty to explore within this stunning wilderness. So saddle up, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and embark on an unforgettable equestrian adventure at Plumas National Forest.