Portola/Sierra Valley

Portola, Plumas County’s only incorporated city, is intersected by the Union Pacific Railroad and the Middle Fork of the Feather River. Nearby Lake Davis is well known for excellent trophy trout fishing and camping and for viewing wildlife and spring wildflowers.

The city also is home to the world renowned Western Pacific Railroad Museum where visitors can climb about an extensive collection of train cars and locomotives and even drive a diesel locomotive themselves.

A log home on Highway 70 on the east end of Portola houses the Williams House Museum. The 1931 house, on the California Historical Register, displays history of Portola and the surrounding area.

Portola's Riverwalk features a paved path that meanders a short distance along the north bank of the Middle Fork Feather River, with additional access from the Williams House. This pleasant stroll with views of Beckwourth Peak begins at the Beckwith St. and Riverside Ave. in Portola. It continues through the U.S. Forest Service picnic area off Highway 70 to Rocky Point Road, where you can continue along the river.

There are also ample quiet roadways near Portola and Lake Davis popular with bicyclists. During winter, these routes provide great terrain for skiers, snowshoers and snowmobilers.

East of Portola is the Jim Beckwourth Museum, a log cabin trading post once owned by the famous pioneer, James Beckwourth.

Grizzly Ranch, a private golf course and residential community, is located east of Portola, along Grizzly Road leading to Lake Davis.

Annual events like Railroad Days, Winter Holiday snowmobile poker run and sled dog races at Lake Davis, and the Lake Davis Fishing Derby attract many visitors to Portola. A variety of restaurants and lodging options, shops and other amenities can be found both along Highway 70 and across the Feather River in old downtown.

The city's downtown park, which hosts a number of outdoor concerts and events, has a skateboard park, swimming pool, tennis, volleyball, and basketball courts, playground and picnic area.

Further east along Highway 70, the vast expanses of the Sierra Valley occupy a large portion of Eastern Plumas County and play a major role in the county’s cattle-producing industry. Here are situated the towns of Beckwourth, Vinton and Chilcoot, the latter being the gateway to Frenchman Lake, a great trout fishery and popular camping area. A bi-annual Cowboy Poetry show is held in Vinton in March and September.

The headwaters of the Feather River are located in the Sierra Valley and this wetland habitat has made it a prime location for bird watching. Bird watchers can commonly observe diverse types of waterfowl and raptors along the county roads south of Highway 70.

Rock hounds also have much to explore in this area. Fossils, quartz, and astounding sculptures of natural volcanic rock, found in places like Little Last Chance Creek Canyon, are evidence of the valley’s unique geological formations.

For more information, visit the Portola Visitors Center,(530) 832-0671.