Outbound Collective logo

Backpacking Bucks Wilderness Loop

Plumas County, California



21 miles

Route Type



Added by Nienna Komorebi

21 mile loop through the Bucks Lake Wilderness, with epic views reaching Lake Almanor. The last 3 miles parallel the expansive Bucks Lake.

This 21 mile loop begins at Mill Creek campground, hike towards the back of the camp to the sign for Mill Creek Trail. You'll start with the most difficult part of the hike, but no worries, it only last about .2 miles...this is a strenuous ascenst. After ascending for what seems like much longer than .2 miles (although it's worth it!) you'll get to a road, Road 33. Follow this road uphill for about .8 miles, on the right side of the road you will see a white sign that simply says "trail." Take that trail soon reaching a creek crossing, cross the creek and continue. Along the way you'll see the trail split and there is a trail that leads you back to the creek and the road (going left) keep straight and soon you'll cross another creek with a fallen log for easy crossing. Soon entering a lovely meadow full of wildflowers, it's possible to lose the trail here but look around and it's easy enough to find, somewhat left and across the meadow from where you enter. From here the trail is very easy to follow and silver diamond shaped signs on the trees let you know that you are definitely on the right track. After about 6 miles you will reach a sign post, an arrow pointing left for the 3 lakes, or an arrow pointing back for Mill Creek. This crossing is where you meet the PCT.

We headed towards the 3 Lakes to spend the night here. From the sign post it is only about 1.8 miles to the lakes, following the main trail to the lakes you'll come across a bathroom and some camp spots out in the open, but if you head back and through the woods a bit (where there are trails) you can find some hidden spots and do some exploring of all three lakes.

Getting back onto the PCT head the 1.8 miles back to the sign post and instead of going back the Mill Creek direction continue going straight. You'll eventually cross Clear Creek, there is a sign at the creek, this will be your last place to fill up on water for quite some time, so make sure to get all the water you need from here!  About 1/2 - 1 mile from here you will ascend to the peak of Mt. Pleasant, soon after reaching a ridgeline with absolutely amazing views, in one direction the distant Lake Almanor, in the other, the town of Quincy (which has an AMAZING natural food store). After the ridge the rest of the trail is largely downhill!

After a bit of decline you'll see a sign for silver lake, which if you wanted to extend your trip would probably be a great place to do it but I have not done it personally, so I really can't say. If not, continue straight on and you'll shortly see another sign for Right .... (totally forgetting what that is called currently) but at this sign go right! :) Soon you'll be in a meadow with a creek to your left! This creek will follow you until you get to the lake. Once you reach the lake there is a small 1 tent campground, or you can push on and eventually see a cliff side campground with plenty of spots to pitch a tent and it overlooks a large portion of Bucks Lake. This place is definitely large enough to find some solitude but it is a bit of a walk to a creek for filling water. (maybe 1/4 mile) After this campground you have a very quick couple miles back to Mill Creek Campground. One more river crossing on the way, and once you cross the river head left to the campground. :)

A lovely hike, full of a variety of wildflowers, fields of ferns, several creeks, plenty of shade but also plenty of sun (so be sure to bring sunscreen) and at times amazing views. The trek can be difficult at times but for the most part is fairly laid back.

For parking, there is a parking spot, with a sign, above the Mill Creek Campground.

Directions: From Quincy, CA take Bucks Lake RD, passing the resort and several campsites and trail heads, turn right onto Bucklin Rd until you reach the Mill Creek Campground. This road turns into FR 24N24. Mill Creek is the last campground on the road.

Read More

Download the Outbound mobile app

Find adventures and camping on the go, share photos, use GPX tracks, and download maps for offline use.

Get the app


Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Food Nearby

Backpacking Bucks Wilderness Loop Reviews

Have you done this adventure? Be the first to leave a review!

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


Explore Deer Creek Falls

Lassen Volcanic National Park Scenic Drive

Hike to Little Jamison Falls

Hike to Hollow Falls

Hike to Phantom Falls

Camp at Last Chance Creek Campground on Lake Almanor