NorCal Roadtrips

An Explorer's Guide to Northern California

Plumas Eureka State Park

Jamison Creek

Description: A multi-faceted park near Graeagle. Level One is a history lesson. A mining complex details the history of hard-rock mining in the area, with a stamp mill, blacksmith shop, stable, museum and other informative features. Level Two is an outdoor recreation area, with camping, hiking, fishing and access to man-made and natural alpine lakes. Lakes include Eureka Lake, Madora Lake  and Grass Lake along with Little Jamison Creek and Jamison Falls. There are a plethora of hiking trails; we recommend taking the 1 mile jaunt to Grass Lake and then continuing on another 2.5 miles to Rock Lake. Backpackers can find a spot to pitch a tent there; the best spot can be found just as the lake comes into view, nestled in a grove of trees at lakeside. The Pacific Crest Trail can also be accessed from that trail, as well as others within the park. Nearby in the Lakes Basin Recreation area, a gold mine (no pun intended) for folks who like to camp at lakes. Gold Lake is the flag bearer but is hardly the only worthy destination. Click here for more info: Lakes Basin Recreation Area.

Facilities: 67 developed (forested) campsites for tents or RV's to 30 feet at Upper Jamison Creek Campground. Group site for 50 people at Camp Lisa. Picnic tables, fire rings and food lockers. Separate picnic areas, visitor center/museum, mining exhibits, ski area, hiking trails, restrooms with flush toilets and showers and a dump station. Some handicap campsites. Sites are generally large and well-spaced and would rank highly in the state park system. During high season there is a campground host on site, and rangers put on some educational programs for kids and adults. Reservations at 800-444-7275 or www.reservaamerica.com. Supplies of any sort and fuel can be had in Graeagle. And there is a golf course if your fishing rod isn't working.

Open: Year round for some. Museum open daily in summer; weekends only in the off-season. Campground open mid-May thru mid-October, weather permitting. Phone: 530-836-2380. Given California's budget issues check times and dates before coming.

Location: Option 1: From San Francisco take Int. 80 north to Truckee. From there, take Hwy. 89 north to the town of Graeagle. A mile or so past Graeagle you will see signs pointing the way. Turn left where it's marked and drive about 5 miles to the park. Option 2: From the city of Auburn take Hwy. 49 north to the intersection with Hwy. 89. Turn left and drive north on Hwy. 89 to Graeagle as noted above. Hwy. 49 is more windy but also more scenic, and passes thru the gold rush-era villages of Downieville and Sierra City. There are numerous forest service campgrounds along the way if you are making this trip in stages.

Off-road Opportunities: The Gold Valley Trail starts at the Upper Jamison Creek Campground. It's a mostly unpaved 15.4 mile jaunt into some serious backcountry. It starts out with a difficulty rating of 4 (out of 10- suitable for an SUV) and gets more challenging. If you are not an experienced driver in these conditions stay away (an excellent reference is "Backcountry Adventures- Northern California" by Peter Massey and Jeanne Wilson). Among other places it will lead you into the Lakes Basin Recreation Area where you can visit many of the lakes, including but not limited to Gold, Sardine, Goose, Snag and Packer. Once there, other back roads abound.

Grass LakeJamison CreekRock LakeCampsite 3