Geography of Plumas County, California

Plumas County, nestled in the northeastern corner of California, is a region of breathtaking natural beauty, rich biodiversity, and abundant outdoor recreational opportunities. From its majestic mountain ranges and pristine lakes to its lush forests and scenic rivers, Plumas County offers residents and visitors alike a sanctuary of wilderness and tranquility.

Geographical Overview:

According to Ejinhua, Plumas County spans an area of approximately 2,618 square miles (6,781 square kilometers) and is situated in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It shares borders with the counties of Butte, Lassen, Sierra, and Tehama. Quincy serves as the county seat and is the largest town in the region, while other communities include Portola, Chester, and Greenville.


Plumas County experiences a varied climate due to its diverse geography, with elevation changes ranging from the valley floor to the highest peaks of the Sierra Nevada. The region generally has a Mediterranean climate, characterized by warm, dry summers and cold, wet winters.

Summer temperatures in the lower elevations of Plumas County typically range from the 80s to 90s Fahrenheit (around 27-37 degrees Celsius), while temperatures in the higher elevations are cooler and more moderate. Winter temperatures can drop below freezing, especially in the mountainous areas, with average highs ranging from the 30s to 50s Fahrenheit (around -1 to 10 degrees Celsius).

Precipitation in Plumas County is highest during the winter months, with most of it falling as snow in the higher elevations. Snowfall is common in the mountains, making Plumas County a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts. In the lower elevations, rainfall is more prevalent, contributing to the lush vegetation and vibrant ecosystems of the region.

Mountains and Forests:

Plumas County is renowned for its rugged mountain terrain, with a significant portion of the county located within the Sierra Nevada range. The county is home to several prominent peaks, including Mount Hough, Mount Ingalls, and Mount Elwell, which offer stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

The Plumas National Forest covers a vast expanse of land in the county, encompassing over a million acres of pristine wilderness. The forest features dense pine and fir forests, alpine meadows, and rocky ridges, providing habitat for a wide variety of wildlife, including deer, bears, mountain lions, and bald eagles.

Lakes and Reservoirs:

Plumas County boasts an abundance of picturesque lakes and reservoirs, offering opportunities for fishing, boating, swimming, and other water-based recreation. Lake Almanor, one of the largest reservoirs in California, is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with its crystal-clear waters and scenic shoreline.

Other notable lakes in Plumas County include Bucks Lake, Frenchman Lake, and Davis Lake, each offering its own unique attractions and recreational opportunities. These lakes provide habitat for a variety of fish species, including trout, bass, and catfish, making them ideal destinations for anglers of all skill levels.

Rivers and Streams:

Plumas County is crisscrossed by numerous rivers and streams, which play a vital role in shaping the region’s landscape and providing habitat for fish and wildlife. The Feather River, the largest river in the county, flows through the western part of Plumas County, offering opportunities for fishing, rafting, and kayaking.

The Middle Fork of the Feather River is a designated Wild and Scenic River, known for its pristine waters and scenic beauty. The river winds its way through rugged canyons, dense forests, and alpine meadows, providing a wilderness experience for outdoor adventurers.

Other notable rivers in Plumas County include the North Fork of the Feather River, the East Branch of the North Fork of the Feather River, and the South Fork of the Feather River, each offering its own unique opportunities for recreation and exploration.

Outdoor Recreation:

Plumas County is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, with a wide range of recreational activities available year-round. In addition to fishing, boating, and hiking, the county offers opportunities for camping, backpacking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and wildlife viewing.

The region is home to several designated wilderness areas, including the Bucks Lake Wilderness, the Caribou Wilderness, and the Mount Hough Wilderness, which offer solitude and natural beauty for those seeking a backcountry experience.

During the winter months, Plumas County transforms into a winter wonderland, with opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. The region is home to several ski resorts and snow parks, including the Plumas-Eureka State Park, the Lake Davis Recreation Area, and the Bucks Lake Snowmobile Area.

Historic Sites and Landmarks:

Plumas County has a rich history dating back to the Gold Rush era, with several historic sites and landmarks that reflect its cultural heritage and significance. The town of Quincy, the county seat, is home to several well-preserved buildings and structures from the 19th century, including the Plumas County Courthouse and the Quincy Railroad Depot.

Other notable historic sites in Plumas County include the Indian Valley Museum, the Western Pacific Railroad Museum, and the Johnsville Historic Ski Bowl, which preserves the history of the region’s mining, logging, and railroad industries.

Plumas County, California, offers a diverse and scenic landscape characterized by its mountains, forests, lakes, and rivers. Its Mediterranean climate provides four distinct seasons with ample opportunities for outdoor recreation and exploration year-round. Whether fishing on Lake Almanor, hiking in the Plumas National Forest, or exploring historic Quincy, Plumas County invites residents and visitors alike to experience the natural beauty and cultural richness of northeastern California.