Bucks Lake Shore

Bucks Lake Lodge

When Snow Closes the Road

By Eileen Majors Fall 2020

Our last visit to Bucks Lake Lodge resulted in an article that published just days before a fire took the old lodge. It happened about 4:30am during a snowstorm on January 20, 2010. The roads were closed due to snow. Firefighters were only able to access the resort by snowmobile and other Plumas County officials arrived via snowcat. The fire, which started near the main-lodge fireplace, took out the main building, the owners’ home, and two outbuildings. Owners, Louie D., Luz P., Louie Guiterrez, and Rebecca Guereque are still running the resort today. They bought Bucks Lake Lodge in 2007. They rebuilt the lodge where a restaurant, bar and souvineer shop are open all summer.  In the winter they are open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.          

Life is informal and uncomplicated and with that comes rustic simplicity and modest rates. Summertime brings the most visitors; the cabins are for rent, there is plenty of outdoor recreation from fishing to birdwatching and hiking; and for some, just loafing and emerging      oneself in the solitude and beauty of this mountain lake. Summers also bring live music to the resort nearly every weekend.                                                         

Summers come and go in Plumas County along with the many vacationers who visit the region for outdoor adventure, fishing and watersports; but the Bucks Lake area takes on a whole new personality in the snow. The roar of snowmobiles tends to take over winter’s silence. For when the snow flies and the road closes, there are few locals who have remained to experience those rugged Bucks Lake winters. Rebecca described it as “a winter wonderland, so gorgeous with the tall pines and the ground all white.” She also said, “The Lake does freeze and ice fishing has been crazy the last few years.” It indeed sounded beautiful and serene, so I asked if a lot of folks stay year ‘round. They do not. As it turns out there are only a handful of residents who enjoy the picturesqe scenery during winter’s fury at Bucks Lake year ‘round, yet a lot of cabin owners come up on the weekends.

Avid snowmobilers return when the snow flies, welcomed by the adjacent  Bucks Lake Recreation Area located in the Plumas National Forest, where over 100 miles of groomed trails makes the destination one of the most popular in the west, according to a US Forest Service website. Snow play, sledding and cross-country skiing are also popular winter activities in the area.

We spoke to Jay Grubbs, one of the guys who’s been grooming trails for decades around Bucks Lake Lodge. He belongs to an avid group of local snowmobilers, a local non-profit called The Snow Drifters. The group’s work comes to life during the winter as a 100%-volunteer effort works to keep another 140 miles of trails clear. Facebook comments show gratitude for the hard work of Jay, Dave and Mike, with comments like, “It seems they never sleep. The roads are always groomed!” The club’s work year ‘round has brought about many improvements for snowmobilers accessing the area. Their work in the winter sounds quite exciting to say the least.

Snow permitting, the Snow Drifters club will hold their annual fundraiser on the first Saturday of February. Last year’s event brought plenty of snow and a great time. Participants enjoy a nice barbecue lunch and a poker run over groomed trails. They have prize drawings too. It’s a great experience for anyone who can snowmobile in when the road closes.

There is not much open in the winter at Bucks but you can count on Bucks Lake Lodge to be open on the weekends. Rooms at their Timberline Inn serve many snowmobilers in the winter and the restaurant and bar are also open weekends

Cabin rentals at Bucks Lake Lodge are available seasonally while the resort’s 12-room motel, The Timberline Inn, has rooms available year ‘round. What can that mean at Bucks Lake Lodge? It very well can mean the road is closed, the only way in is by snowmobile and the Inn is still open, and at times quite busy.

It makes for some great winter fun for visitiors and local residents, but as Rebecca told me, “There are a few families that live up here year ‘round, but it is a hard life, and not many do it for long. When I got here I had a sixth grader (my son Chris) that I took to school everyday on a snowmobile.”

Find Bucks Lake 17 miles southwest of Quincy and 32 miles northeast of Oroville. The high-mountain lake is surrounded by Bucks Lake Wilderness on one side and recreational offerings, residences and resorts on the other side. Sandy Point Day Use offers a boat launch and showers during summer.

Bucks Lake Recreation Area with map: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/plumas/recarea/?recid=13368               Bucks Lake Lodge: 16525 Bucks Lake Rd, Quincy, CA 95971•(530) 283-2262  BucksLakeCabinRentals.com r