Mill Creek Trail Bucks Lake

Mill About Lakeside

Hike along the shoreline of Bucks Lake on the Mill Creek Trail in Plumas County

Bucks Lake Recreation Area near Quincy has plenty of beautiful hiking trails, including a section of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). From the Bucks Summit trailhead you can hike 4 miles (one-way) to Spanish Peak, which rewards with a stellar panorama of the Cascades, Sierra Buttes, and lakes hidden high in the mountains.

For an easy hike with beautiful spots for sunning, swimming, and lounging on sand beaches or giant rock slabs, do the Mill Creek Trail. All in, the Mill Creek Trail is almost 9 miles out-and-back; but you can opt for a shorter 3-mile out-and-back ramble along the Bucks Lake shoreline and make your turnaround point the distinct rocky outcropping that's of historical importance to the Maidu people.

From the trailhead (parking is very limited) begin hiking through a fragrant forest of pines and aspens, a nice canopy on hot days. The trail traces the shoreline, with multiple outlets to small beaches, and the refreshing lake. Wildflowers festoon parts of the trail even in late summer. You can hardly miss the rocky outcropping because you hike right up to it. This is a good spot for a picnic lunch with gorgeous views of the water and surroundings. Lakeshore Resort sits almost directly across the way. Look for the Maidu acorn grinding holes on some of the bedrock. Return the way you came.

BONUS BIKE: Across the street from the Mill Creek trailhead is the Bucks Loop Trail, a 4-mile route that’s ideal for beginning mountain bikers. The path travels through woods, opening up to a few meadows, with occasional (seasonal) creek crossings.

BONUS EAT & DRINK: Bucks Lakeshore Resort makes a great lunch or dinner spot. Their lively patio overlooks the water and the menu of burgers, pizzas, fish & chips, pulled pork sandwiches, and vegetarian dishes covers the bases. If you go for dinner, try to time it around sunset. The resort also has a good general store, with everything from souvenirs and camp supplies to first-aid, toiletries, and an array of food and drinks.

Mill Creek Trail. Dog-friendly!

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST: In episode "56. The Secluded Sierra" Weekend Sherpa co-founders discuss their explorations of Plumas County and Lassen Volcanic National Park.

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