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part ofPlumas National Forest, US Forest Service
Status: Open through Tue Oct 13 2015   Season Dates


Lightning Tree Campground is one of three family-friendly campgrounds located in the Lake Davis Recreation Area, which offers a wide variety of year-round outdoor experiences. It is the only campground in the area with larger group sites. It is located in a beautifully forested area of the Plumas National Forest in northeastern California.

Natural Features:

Lake Davis covers 4,000 acres and was created in 1967 for recreational opportunities, as well as to rejuvenate fish populations in nearby rivers and supply water to the town of Portola. The lake offers 32 miles of shoreline and is surrounded by tall pine trees. The campground is on the northeastern shore.

The trees provide ample shade for the campground, however privacy is limited by a lack of understory, which is comprised of grass and sagebrush. The campground is situated at an elevation of 5,800 feet.

Smith Peak State Game Refuge borders the lake to the east and the south, creating prime habitat for a variety of wildlife and birds.


In addition to camping, the area offers a wide variety of popular water-related activities, including fishing, boating and swimming. Numerous fishing access points are located around the perimeter of the lake and anglers will find rainbow and brown trout, bass and catfish. A boat ramp is located nearby.

Mountain biking, hiking, hunting and wildlife viewing are also available in the area. During winter months, visitors enjoy ice fishing, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing.


The campground offers more than three dozen single and double capacity campsites, available for tent and RV camping. Some sites are fully accessible as well. Quite a few sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Each site is equipped with a table and campfire ring with grill. Utility hookups are not available. Vault toilets and drinking water are provided. Coin-operated showers and a pay phone are available 4 miles away at Grasshopper Flat Campground.

Approximately 40 overflow campsites are available near the boat ramp and at nearby Mallard Cove. They are functional but provide limited amenities. Both areas have vault toilets, drinking water and trash collection bins.

Nearby Attractions:

The closest town is Portola, California, which is about 13 miles from the campground. It is home to one of the largest railroad museums in the western United States.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Accessible Sites
  • Campfire Rings
  • Cross Country Skiing
  • Drinking Water
  • Grills
  • Parking Area
  • Paved Parking Spurs
  • Picnic Area
  • RV sites
  • Snowmobile Trails
  • Tent Pads
  • Trash Collection
  • Vault Toilets
  • Wildlife Viewing
Less Than 1 Mile
  • Boat Ramp
  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Swimming
Within 10 Miles
  • Coin Showers
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Mountain Biking
  • Off-Road Vehicle Trails
  • Pay Phone
Know Before You Go
  • Some sites are available on a first-come, first serve basis
  • Bears frequent the area; practice safe food storage techniques
  • Frequent strong winds can cause the lake to become very hazardous for small craft
  • Water skiing and jet skiing are not permitted on the lake
  • Additional fees will be collected for extra vehicles
  • Click here for more information on the Plumas National Forest
  • Don't Move Firewood: Protect California's forests from tree-killing pests by buying your firewood locally and burning it on-site. For more information visit firewood.ca.gov.

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
39.92546, -120.51049
39°55'32"N, 120°30'38"W

From Reno, travel north on Highway 395 to Highway 70 and turn west to Portola. From Portola, take County Road 126 north for 7 miles, then County Road 112 to the east side of Lake Davis. Continue approximately 5 miles to the campground, which is on the left.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

CA 96122
Portola  CA  PO Box 626

Phone Number:

Project Office: (530)832-1076
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