Lakes Basin, Plumas National Forest

5-star hike.
10 mile loop • Medium difficulty.
Elevation 6,300 - 7,500 feet. Gain 2,400 feet.
Plumas National Forest, Northern California.
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Plumas County might seem to have only three stoplights, but it has more than its fair share of great lakes to discover. An hour north of Truckee and a world away from the often busy Lake Tahoe traffic, the Lakes Basin is a tranquil escape full of beautiful lakes and great hiking opportunities.

We've chosen ten mile loop trail which weaves around some of the prettiest lakes, provides some high ridgeline hiking with excellent vantage points and also links to a detour up the 7,812ft tall Mt. Elwell for those looking for even more challenges. However, there are other shorter looping routes that will carry you through these landscapes.

Summer and early fall is the best time for a snow-free experience here in the Plumas National Forest, but this and similar routes can also be tackled on snowshoes as Gold Lake Highway is plowed throughout the winter. We've also provided a link in this guide to road conditions if you need to check winter access for yourself.

Also here you'll find clear evidence of mining activities - the trail passes by a former stamp-mine, old huts can still be found dotter around the hillsides, and aftifacts are on display adjacent to the trailhead parking lot.

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