Big Cove (Plumas National Forest, CA)

Plumas National Forest

Big Cove Campground (5,700 feet) is located near the shores of Frenchman Lake in Northeastern California. Some families have been returning here for more than thirty years. Situated at the interface between the wild Sierra and the high desert, it's a perfect place to serve as hub for a wide range of recreation opportunities. Plumas National Forest has many back roads open for exploration. Take advantage of the beautiful blue waters of Frenchman Lake for boating, fishing and other water sports. Tell stories around your campfire. 

The campground offers single and double family campsites for tent and RV camping. Accessible campsites are available. Fifteen of the 38 campsites can be reserved during peak season. All other campsites may be taken as 'First Come' sites. All 'First Come' sites must be occupied on the first night rented. Big Cove Campground also offers coin operated showers, accessible flush toilets, drinking water, trash bins and paved roads during peak camping season. An RV dump station is located nearby, at Cottonwood Springs Campground.

Need to Know

Natural Features

Just experiencing the drive into the Frenchman Lake Recreation Area is worth the trip. Little Last Chance Creek has eroded through ancient lava flows to produce this very scenic canyon known as the Little Last Chance Scenic Area. At the interface of desert and mountain climates, this area gets less precipitation than areas to the west and more precipitation than areas east. Desert scrub grows alongside pine forest. Some campsites overlook the lake's blue waters and nearby meadows.

Nearby Attractions

Little Last Chance Canyon Scenic Area.
Sierra Valley - Largest valley in the Sierra Nevada.
Stores and services in the towns of Chilcoot and Loyalton.
Many forest roads to explore - take along a map and a full gas tank.


Little Last Chance Creek offers plenty of streamside recreation including fishing, nature viewing, photography and just relaxing. Frenchman Lake provides the perfect location for swimming, boating, lake fishing, skiing, jet skiing, paddle boarding and canoeing. The entire recreation area and surrounding National Forest is available for nature viewing, photography, picnicking, hunting, biking or exploring forest roads.
Dispursed camping is not allowed in the recreation area.

Changes & Cancellations

America the Beautiful Senior and Access Passes are accepted for single family sites and not for double sites.

Contact Information

Phone Number

For campground inquiries, please call: 530-836-2575

Rental Options

Learn more about gear rental options for your trip

Driving Directions

From Reno, Nevada, take Highway 395 north for 24 miles. Merge onto State Rout 70 west and continue for 5 miles to the town of Chilcoot. Turn right on State Rout 284 and continue for 8 miles to Frenchman Lake. Cross the dam and proceed 2 miles to the campground.

Available Campsites

Photo Gallery