Everyone seems so eager to scurry off to the giant resorts to stand in line for their winter recreation. This year, we challenge you to try something different. How about cozying up in a small town for a few days, just you, a few friends and some cross-country skis? The region got a good start on snow and local businesses are ready to cater to winter travelers. Cozy lodges, downtown hotels and B & B’s are open year ’round throughout the Sierra Cascade region for quality winter recreation.

It is always fun to choose a downtown location for lodging and thoroughly enjoy small-town ambience with its shopping, quaint restaurants and friendly folks within walking distance. Chester, Quincy, Graeagle and Portola have plenty of trails nearby and well represent the small town experience.

You can ski around a lake, by a stream or in a vast meadow, with magnificent birds to watch. Cross-country skiing is a workout for sure, but it is a ton of fun. Beginners can start in a meadow and practice skiing close to the road. Dressing in layers is a good idea because things tend to warm up when you’re skiing — and don’t forget the sunscreen. It is amazing how many beautiful, bluebird-blue days there are in our winter wonderland.

For a list of accommodations near cross-country ski or snowmobile trails, contact the local chambers of commerce:

Eastern Plumas Chamber of  Commerce: 530-836-6811 easternplumaschamber.com

Chester Lake Almanor Chamber of Commerce :530-258-2426 or 800-350-4838 lakealmanorarea.com

Quincy Chamber of Commerce: 530-283-0188 – quincychamber.com

Westwood Chamber of Commerce: 530.256-2456 westwoodchamber.com

Lassen County Chamber of Commerce: 530-257-4323 lassencountychamber.com

Plumas County Visitors Bureau: 1-800-326-2247 –  plumascounty.org


In Lassen County, the Eagle Lake Ranger District offers several trails: Gold Run Road Tour: 8 miles round trip, The Bizz Johnson Trail,  Roxie Peconum Trail, Willard Hill is more of a snow fun hill for sledding, etc. Fredonyer Pass trails and the Coppervale adventure are also nearby. Hog Flat Reservoir is a perfect loop for beginners, offering scenic valleys and gently rolling trails. Paring is available off Highway 44 at the Goumaz Road intersection. Keep right and ski around the edge of the frozen reservoir.

From December to April during snow season, the sport is on in Plumas County. You will find groomed trails in Johnsville, Bucks Lake, La Porte, Child’s Meadow and Lassen Volcanic National Park, outside of Chester. Literally hundreds of miles of ungroomed trails also exist for backcountry skiing within the Plumas and Lassen National Forests. For guides and maps, contact Plumas County Visitors Bureau, (800) 326-2247 or the Plumas National Forest, 530-283-2050, Lassen National Forest, 530-258-2141, and Tahoe National Forest, 530-994-3401.

Cross-country ski and snowshoe rentals available:
Lost Sierra Adventures in Graeagle, (530) 836-1708
Mountain Hardware in Blairsden, (skis only) 530-836-2589
Sports Nut in Chester (skis only), 530-258-3327
Bodfish Bicycles in Chester, 530-258-2338
Child’s Meadow Resort (skis only), 530-595-3383