Lake Almanor Recreation Trail


11 Reviews

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Lake Almanor Recreation Trail Facts

States: California
Counties: Plumas
Length: 11 miles
Trail end points: Humbug Humboldt Cross Rd/FR 27N52, 0.1 mile east of CA 89/Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway (Canyondam) and Canyon Dam Boat Launch and Day Use Area, end of FR 27N02, 0.4 mile east of CA 89 (Canyondam)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 6513005

Lake Almanor Recreation Trail Description

The Lake Almanor Recreation Trail is much hillier than the simple, flat shoreline hike its name might suggest. The lake is a hydroelectric project that dates back more than 100 years to 1914 and is operated by the Pacific Gas & Electric Co.

This 11-mile trail through pleasant surroundings in the Lassen National Forest features a paved surface that is rutted and collects plenty of fallen forest debris, including the occasional tree. A hybrid or mountain bike is recommended instead of a road bike, and users of many types of wheelchairs could encounter problems. In-line skating is not recommended due to the conditions. It is also recommended that trail users review the state’s wildfire restrictions before hitting the trail.

The area around Lake Almanor was touched by the 2021 Dixie Fire that swept across five northern California counties, but it was spared significant damage. Wildflowers were reported growing in the burn areas during the spring after the fire.

The northwestern end point doesn’t have a parking lot—just an unpaved clearing in the woods where a vehicle could drop someone off. Parking is available 2.3 miles down the trail at the Almanor Boat Launch, which is accessible from Almanor Drive West.

The northwestern half of the trail is almost entirely wooded. Starting at the clearing on Forest Road 27N52/Humbug Humboldt Cross Road, the trail heads toward the lake and then alongside it to a boat launch. From there, it meanders away from the lake as it passes near the communities of Almanor and Prattville, both of which have a restaurant open in season. While lake views are relatively few, trail users will appreciate the serenity of the expansive conifer forest. Undulating hills and occasional obstacles provide fun for users seeking an experience loosely reminiscent of mountain biking.

The trail boasts more lake vistas about 5.5 miles from the start, including Mount Lassen Volcano in Lassen Volcanic National Park to the northwest. In 1915, Lassen Peak erupted, sending fiery ash 7 miles into the air and a gray ash cloud as far as Nevada. Until the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980, it was the most recent active volcano in the Cascade Range. The Cascade Volcanoes are a part of a volcanic chain known as the Ring of Fire—hot spots along the edges of plates under the Pacific Ocean bordering the Americas, Asia, and Oceania. Lassen Peak is the world’s largest plug-dome volcano.

In 3 miles, the trail passes the Rocky Point Campground with a picnic area and a sandy beach. The trail ends about 2 miles farther south at the Canyon Dam Boat Launch. The lake spillway into the North Fork Feather River is 0.7 mile south on CA 89/Volcano Legacy Scenic Byway.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available at several locations along the trail, including:

In Almanor, parking is available at the Almanor Boat Launch (north of Prattville) on Almanor Drive West, 1.1 miles east of its northern intersection with CA 89.

In Prattville, parking is available at the Dyer View Trailhead on Almanor Drive West, 0.6 mile northeast of its southern intersection with CA 89.

In Canyondam, parking is available at Rocky Point Campground (Rocky Point Campground Road, 0.1 mile north of CA 89) and at the Canyon Dam Boat Ramp and Day Use Area (end of FR 27N02, 0.4 mile east of CA 89).

Visit the TrailLink map for all options and detailed directions.

Lake Almanor Recreation Trail Reviews

Great Trail

Biked the entire length on Aug. 6, 2023. A very pretty ride. Started at the north end where the parking is limited. The trail is all asphalt and in very good condition, but there are some potholes. It seemed like it had just been swept as there was almost no pine needles or twigs on the trail. The first 1.5 miles on the north end are in the burn scar and include a mild hill. A casual rider should consider starting at the boat launch where the bathrooms are. Most of the ride has mild hills that casual riders and kids might find challenging (the south end is the flattest). On the way back, we bypassed the biggest hill on the route and rode into Prattville for lunch along Almanor Drive. Consider this alternative route not only for a bite to eat but also for its nice views of the Lake. The south end is also in the burn scar, but only for quarter mile. A very nice ride.

Hidden Gem in need of some TLC

Parked at the north trailhead and rode south to end of trail. Fire devastation from Dixie fire at north and south end of trail, but in between beautiful forest and lake shore trail with beaches, picnic and camping areas. We came around a curve and startled a bald eagle that was feeding on a fish. What an experience to see our national bird up so close as it spread it's wings and flew off over the lake.
My only complaint is the lack of maintenance on this trail. I would think the US Forest Service and other involved agencies would have done a better job of repairing/restoring this beautiful trail after the Dixie fire. But this should not discourage anyone from visiting the area and riding this trail.

Great trail with the right bike!

Great, meandering, mostly-shaded, shoreline trail with multiple mild climbs and coasts. All paved, although a bit rough in spots. Really 12.x miles because it extends to canyon dam launch ramp. Can be made into a loop of sorts using west shore drive. Plenty of needles and sticks before Memorial Day cleanup. A bit rough for skinny-tire road bikes and a bit tame for full-suspension mountain bikes, but perfect for touring bikes or my 3 speed cruiser! Start and end at Plumas Pines tavern and finish with a smile, a beer, and a great view of Lake Almanor. It really doesn't get any better for the young or old, beginner or intermdiate, casual or serious cyclist. Serious mountain bikers can extend their loops into the dirt on either side of 89 where hidden single tracks will stimulate endorphin production and deplete calories. Enjoy!

Quiet and Peaceful

Rode this track at the end of May, starting at the Canyon Dam Boat ramp parking lot. Although it had been cleared of all fallen trees and branches, the trail still had thick patches of pine needles throughout. With constant change between sunshine and shade, lots of abrupt turns, bumps from roots under the pavement, pine needle patches, this ride needs one's full attention in places, particularly with heavier traffic under normal campground occupancy. Some great views, lots of benches and tables for stops, but no water, and no restrooms open at the campgrounds alonf the way. Decided to go back on Almanor Dr. to see that part of the lake front as the trail goes inland away from the water heading north west. Had a great lunch at Plumas Pines resort, and explored historic Prattville. The old cemetery was relocated there when the canyon dam was built.


anybody out there?

i know covid-19 is still out there and the forest service probably doesn't have any thing to do with this trail, but. does anyone love a trail that's paved and is covered with a few fallen trees, branches to many to remember and the soft quiet riding pine needles that can make the trail a bit "slick" in the corners? we should have packed a chain saw and broom! oh well we rode the whole thing anyway!

Easy trek and beauty to boot.

We have a house nearby so we use this trail in all seasons. Cool in the summer as most of it is in the trees and shade.
In the dead of winter it's great for X-country or snowshoeing.
If you have issues with the rolling terrain (very mild grades) you probably need to refined yourselves to walking or bicycling around town.
This is an easy all-weather trail and it hugs the west shoreline the majority of the time.
Excellent spot!

Beautiful views but be ready for hills

Based on the description and previous reviews, I expected this to be a fairly level, meandering paved trail with a few gentle hills. Well, after traveling the entire trail I would have to say there are barely any flat spots at all. The elevation gain is 1,322 feet, but it is mostly up and down, up and down. It is a very scenic trail but just be prepared for a bit of climbing. The trail itself was all paved, and aside from pine needles and a few fallen sticks it was great. My GPS said the entire loop was 22.92 miles.

Great ride but use caution

Love this trail and ride it frequently.
Not as well maintained as in years past so watch for debris on trail and blind sharp corners where brush has grown to 6' tall or so. All in all a terrific ride !
Climbs toward north third can be difficult for young kids or infrequent riders.

Rolling, wooded lake trail

Fun trail with some variety in the terrain; not just flat. Well maintained and well marked. Lake views and scenic views of Mt. Lassen. Stayed at a bicycle friendly motel, Cedar Lodge in Chester, CA. Lodge is clean, family friendly and no frills i.e. no pool,A/C or ice machine.
Looking forward to another trip to the area to ride this trail and the Bizz Johnson trail.

TRAILBEAR THROUGH THE WOODS: The Lake Almanor Recreation Trail – North

October 2012 It was a busy day for trail survey. Finish up the survey on the Eagle Lake Trail, then down to Chester – where there are no fast food establishments – and on to the Lake Almanor Rec Trail after lunch. There have been some improvements since we were last here. One big one is that there are now highway signs pointing the way to the north end trail head on Humbug-Humboldt Rd. off CA 89. We turned in. Yes, there is a small dirt parking lot and a nice information sign, plus a blacktop trail. The other end of the trail is down in Rocky Point Campground. The TrailBear last surveyed here in August of 2009 and it was storm season. You could get a morning in, and then it was time to scamper for shelter ahead of the thunder storms. Now, in October after a drought summer all was sunshine and cloudless skies. Good survey weather for looking at the north half of the trail. We parked in a campsite at Almanor North CG. Assemble the trike and TB was off, heading north. The trail runs through both Almanor North and South campgrounds. A short pedal puts you on a spur trail to the boat launch. Here is parking, a choice of a vault toilet and a nice new flushie and lake views. Good place for a trailhead if you are not camping (day use fee included in CG fee). These are the last facilities on the north end. Downhill from the parking lot to the lake. Here is something new: mile posts. Posts in both directions. The one on the slope is a 9, so there are about two plus miles to the end. The trail is broad, with a chip seal surface and lots of tight curves as it wanders around the trees. It is either climbing or descending. The trail follows the lake for about a mile. There is one wayside and other views, but these woods are not managed for views from the trail. For that you want the Eagle Lake Trail. By MP 10 it is obvious that you are in for a long uphill grind as it climbs the slope and winds around a ridge, descends, climbs again, and descends to the north end trailhead. Now turn around and retrace the route. Happily, that long uphill grind is now an exciting downhill. It is made more exciting by the tight turns, the needles that cover and obscure the trail and the large pine cones that litter it. Try not to hit a cone while careening around a corner. TrailBear is hiking out and using brake steering on the trike to slingshot around the tight corners while trying to see where the trail runs to find the line to the next corner. Where is the sweeper truck for some trail grooming when you need him? TB was a bit busy to keep an eye on the speedo, but the GPS recorded a max speed of 20.4 mph on that section. Not bad. Do the slope a few times and we can kick the speed up. Probably not in summer with the crowds, but today there were only a few folks on the trail. Soon enough the campground appears. Pack up and head down the mountain to Chico Costco for some $3.94 gas in the midst of another California Gas Price Panic. This is an excellent price. It’s almost like Oregon, but not quite. Trike on! TrailBear Schussing between the trees.

TRAILBEAR CRUISES THE LAKE: The Lake Almanor Recreation Trail

TRAILBEAR CRUISES THE LAKE: The Lake Almanor Recreation Trail

Chester, CA


Ratings on the ToolBear Triple Trail Rating Scale (1-5) is 4/4/5

Trail surface - 4-5. Eight foot black top trail with root heaves marked in white as need.
Facilities - 4. Benches, bike racks, overlooks, signage, vault toilet, blacktop parking, etc.
Scenery – 5. Lakeshore sections with views of lake, Mt. Lassen, etc.

The Lake Almanor Recreation Trail starts in the PG&E Rocky Point Campground on the west shore of Lake Almanor, about 2.5 miles west of the dam on Rt. 89 and runs up the lake to the Almanor Campground and beyond. You are riding in forest. Sections have lake views. Other sections are up in the woods.


You have choices of trail head and where to start the ride. You can park at the small trail head at the entrance to the Rocky Point campground road. (GPS: 40d 11.481N x 121d 07.099W) Enter the campground and they will want $$$, however it’s a nice campground with a lot of lake view sites. Sure beats the USFS Almanor Campground (swampy, antique loos) up Rt. 89.

You can park at the Dyer View Trailhead (no fee) to the west and ride some out and backs in both directions (GPS: N40d 12.153 x W121d 08.171). Look for Almanor West Drive off Rt. 89 appx. 0.6 miles west of the campground entrance road. The road into Dyer View is at GPS N40d 12.106 x W121d 08.238. Dyer View has ample parking, a vault toilet, trash, info and interpretative signage, bike racks and benches with lake views. However – no water.

You can go up to the USFS Almanor campground some miles up the road and pick up the trail there. ((GPS: N40 13.046 W121 10.603). There is parking, water, loos, tables, etc.

For a map of the trail…

The trail starts to the east of the campground trailhead on a small point. You can take a nice ride out and back through the campground to the trailhead and then head west. This section has root heaves marked in white paint.

First stop is the wayside and viewpoint on the Point (GPS: 40d 12.199’N x 121d 07.414’W). Enjoy the lake views. There are benches, a bike rack and interpretative signs. The trail winds in and out around trees, up and down slopes, past overlook benches and views and generally is going up or down.

As you near the summer home hamlet of Pratville, the trail leaves the lake and the private lands ahead and climbs inland to get around them while remaining in Forest Service lands. Then it’s down into Almanor Campground where you can find water and restroom. Another route would be to follow the road thru Pratville and thence uphill to Almanor CG.

I did the eastern section of the trail as an Out N Back from my campsite at Rocky Point CG. Where the trail left the lake to get around Pratville, I headed back on Almanor West Drive, then cut down a power line trace to the trail east of Dyer View. Didn’t see much shoulder up on Rt. 89, but that is a quicker way back. I was inspired to get moving back by those wet-looking clouds and the sound of thunder growing ever closer.

Made it back dry, but we were getting deluge showers on as we headed up to Almanor CG in the van. Sat there a while, watching it come down, then packed it in headed on. In summer, make this an early morning ride. If you are off the trail by noon, you don’t catch a deluge. Usually.

If you do Almanor, head over to Susanville and do the Bizz Johnson Trail. Keep an eye on the clouds gathering as you ride. The best parts are the first miles from Susanville to the highway crossing over the Susan River, i.e., tunnels, bridges, canyon scenery. There is also a new mountain bike park in Susanville, so there is something for everyone over there. Even a Wal-Mart.

Ride on!

Trying to outride the rain.

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