Skiing in the Lost Sierra

There are many great locations for crosscountry and backcountry skiing in the Lost Sierra near Johnsville.

Avalanche and Ski Safety

There are vast expanses of State Park and US Forest Service lands near the Johnsville Ski Bowl ripe for exploration on ski or splitboard. While we encourage backcountry skiing in the area, the areas discussed below are used at the recreator's own risk and the Plumas Ski Club does not assume any liability for skiiers in the areas below. Winter conditions in the northern Sierra Nevada can change frequently and caution is always recommended. Skiier discretion is advised and skiiers should assess the snow conditions and their own skill levels while in the backcountry. 

Avalanche or backcountry ski courses are recommended before embarking in the backcountry. The Sierra Avalanche Center provides a wealth of resources relating to avalanche and backcountry safety.

Cross Country Skiing

Plumas Eureka Groomed Trails

Plumas Eureka State Park Association maintains cross-country ski trails in Johnsville. The PESPA website has more detailed information about the current conditions of the ski trails.

Additionally, the Ski Hill has a Nordic track that leads to Eureka Lake (see map of the Ski Bowl below).

Lakes Basin

A ski and snowshoe trail is available from the Gold Lake Staging Area that heads south ends at Graeagle Lodge, leading to additional trails to Long Lake and Smith Lake. Other hiking trails can be used as cross-country ski trails depending on conditions and skiier skill level.

When weather and conditions allow, Plumas County plows the parking area and Gold Lake Highway to the staging area.

Day Use Backcountry

Ski Bowl and Eureka Lake

Hiking to Eureka Lake along the "Nordic Trail" and skiing back down towards the Indorf Lodge is a great beginners track for people interested in trying out backcountry skiing.

Eureka Peak

The false peak of Eureka Peak is a popular backcountry ski route that leaves from the Ski Hill parking lot. In general, skiiers hike to the peak from the parking lot along a trail through the tree-line that near the ridge east of Eureka Lake.

Mount Washington

The route to Mount Washington is considered an expert-level excursion.

Friends of Plumas Wilderness provides an in-depth description of the route to Mount Washington.

Mount Elwell

The route to Mount Elwell is considered and expert-level excursion that may extend into an overnight trip.

Friends of Plumas Wilderness provides an in-depth description of the route to Mount Elwell.

Multi-day Use Backcountry

Lost Sierra Traverse

The "Lost Sierra Traverse" begins in Johnsville and ends in Onion Valley, home of the American's first organized ski races. To ski the traverse, start in Johnsville and head up Jamison Canyon towards Florentine Canyon and "A-Tree" (the historic Woodson Gap pioneer route circa 1875), and continue over Gibraltar and Beartrap Peaks towards Mt. Etna. Then head down Bunker Hill Ridge to Pilot Peak and into Onion Valley. The road to Nelson Creek leads out of Onion Valley when the route is finished.

An in-depth description of the route can be found on the Friends of Plumas Wilderness website.

Map Note: The red track on the map is only a general marker to help demonstrate the route and does not necessarily indicate the exact skin track to be taken.