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Top 5s & 10s From California Camping California Camping

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1) Eureka Lake -
This is the most common destination for newcomers to the Plumas mountain country. A beautiful little lake, it is the centerpiece of Plumas-Eureka State Park. A new bonus is that the access road to the lake, which used to be closed from Friday through Sunday, is now open every day of the week.

2) Gold Lake -
You can drive right up, with a boat ramp provided and a campground nearby. The lake is at an elevation of 6,400 feet in Plumas National Forest, a beautiful setting. Several trails that start here are routed to nearby wilderness lakes. Another bonus is the big Mackinaw trout, though they often lurk deep. During midsummer, it can be quite windy here, particularly in the afternoon.

3) Long Lake -
Of the three lakes in the immediate are (the others being Snake Lake and Big Bear Lake), this is the best. Long Lake is deep and beautiful, very clean, and requires only a half-mile hike in. It is something of a legend for large (up to 18 inches) but elusive trout, along with lots of smaller fish.

4) Packer Lake -
This little lake is quiet and pretty, with great views of the Sierra Buttes. It can be reached by car, but there is no piped water at the primitive U.S. Forest Service campground nearby. The fishing is poor to fair, with far fewer fish stocked than at nearby Lower Sardine Lake.

5) Lower Sardine Lake -
This is one of the prettiest drive-to-lakes in California, a small pool in a rock bowl near the Sierra Buttes. It is also loaded with trout, courtesy of plentiful stocks. A lodge, a restaurant, cabins, and boat rentals make this a unique, although quite popular, destination.

6) Upper Sardine Lake -
If the crowds at Lower Sardine scare you off, this nearby alternative may offer the solitude you desire. It's a great spot for hiking and mountain biking, but fishing is poor, as the fish are very small.

7) Wade Lake -
You'll hike only two miles to reach Wade Lake, but it's a rugged climb with some rock-hopping. The reward is plenty of brook trout that take Panther Martin spinners during the evening bite.

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