Explore the spectacular and uncrowded Sierra Buttes, with lakes, rollicking mining history, and elegant resorts.
Length of trip: 1 day
Total mileage: 38.9mi/62.6km
Graeagle. Relax on the deck of Graeagle Outpost , a snug little coffee spot perched on the edge of peaceful Mill Pond. Take a brisk mountain bike ride or walk on local trails, such as the Graeagle Pathway and the Mowhawk Trail System. Stop by Lost Sierra Adventures for tips, maps, and gear.
Blairsden (1.4mi/2.3km; 4 min). Swing by one of the most historic old lodges in the region, the Feather River Inn , a touch of early 20th Century elegance tucked into the High Sierra. Take a swing on the resort’s 9-hole golf course, and learn about the massive restoration project now underway throughout the classic European-style chalet and grounds.
Plumas Eureka State Historic Park (6.9mi/11km; 18 min). Head west to explore this uncrowded park , with fascinating gold-mining history, trails winding through thick conifer forests, and 7,447-foot Eureka Peak jutting into the sky.
Portola (9.7mi/15.7km; 12 min). Retrace your route to Blairsden and drive northwest on State 70 to the Western Pacific Railroad Museum. Climb in and explore over 100 different types of rail cars—you can even take the controls of a real diesel locomotive. Stop by the Jim Beckwourth Museum , a tidy log cabin built in the 1850s by this legendary African-American explorer.
Lake Davis (9.9mi/15.9km; 17 min). Time-warp back to a simpler era, when summer meant a lawn chair, a lake, and a good fishing rod. See if you can snag a trophy trout at this popular reservoir , known for particularly good rainbows. Low-key resorts and vacation cabins dot the pine-trimmed shoreline. Retrace your route to Graeagle via County Road A23.
Whitehawk (11mi/17.7km; 23 mins). End your day heading south on State 89 to check out spectacular vacation homes that have sprung up in this stunning valley framed by the Sierra Buttes. Relax on the deck of The Lodge at Whitehawk , where you can sip a drink at sunset, then enjoy dinner—perhaps local catch of the day or an herb-crusted Angus filet.