Jonesville Outdoor Adventurer Hiking

Winter Wonderland: Jonesville and the High Country

Butte County’s high coun­try turns into a win­ter won­der­land once the snow sea­son begins. Whether by ski, snow­shoe, or snow­mo­bile, one of the best local spots to expe­ri­ence win­ter sports is in Jonesville. This tiny but his­toric town just past Butte Mead­ows lies with­in Lassen Nation­al Forest not too far from the head­wa­ters of Butte Creek. The Jonesville Stag­ing Area off of Hum­boldt Road is the start­ing point for a vari­ety of win­ter adventures.

Cross-Coun­try Skiing

The Col­by Mead­ows Win­ter Recre­ation Area offers nine miles of ungroomed cross-coun­try ski trails in a beau­ti­ful val­ley that fol­lows Col­by Creek, mak­ing it the per­fect spot if you’re ready to cross-coun­try ski or snow­shoe. Enjoy begin­ner routes per­fect for new win­ter explor­ers as well as inter­me­di­ate and expert options. There are also sev­er­al routes mea­sur­ing about five miles in length that can bring you to the top of Col­by Moun­tain Look­out (a 1,000 foot ascent). While on the trail, keep an eye out for aqua-blue dia­mond mark­ers and mark­ers indi­cat­ing trail dif­fi­cul­ty. To access the Col­by Mead­ows area, find the trail head on the west­ern side of the Jonesville Stag­ing Area that includes a bridge over Wil­low Creek. Snow­shoers are asked to walk next to, not on, estab­lished ski paths.

Lis­ten Up

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The Jonesville Snow­mo­bile Park  also starts at the Stag­ing Area and pro­vides over 60 miles of groomed trails with sev­er­al loop options. Snow­mo­bil­ing trails are gen­er­al­ly on for­est ser­vice roads and include Hum­boldt and Hum­bug Sum­mits. There is also snow­mo­bile access to Col­by Moun­tain Look­out (via 2NN57) which includes views of Lassen Peak on clear days. You can even cruise all the way to Lake Almanor via snow­mo­bile if you’re pre­pared for a full day! The Jonesville Stag­ing Area has day-use hours of 6:00AM to 10:00PM and includes a vault toilet.

Gear Up

Chico has sev­er­al loca­tions to help you pre­pare for fun in the snow! Cross-coun­try skis and snow­shoes can be pur­chased or rent­ed from Moun­tain Sports, Chico Sports LTD, and Hugh­es Ski Hut.


Make your way to Chico via High­way 99 (85 miles north of Sacra­men­to, 75 miles south of Red­ding). Take Exit 385 east­bound onto High­way 32. Ascend into Sier­ra Neva­da foothills past the com­mu­ni­ty of For­est Ranch. After 26.7 miles, turn left onto Hum­boldt Road (you’ll see a sign direct­ing you towards Butte Mead­ows). Con­tin­ue 10.2 miles through the com­mu­ni­ty Butte Mead­ows (last chance for food, sup­plies, and gas). 

Dur­ing the win­ter, the main­tained por­tion of Hum­boldt Road will be gat­ed at the Jonesville Snow­mo­bile Park stag­ing area. Those want­i­ng to trav­el by ski or snow­shoe should park towards the west­ern (left) side of the park­ing area to access Col­by Mead­ows. Road con­di­tions may vary depend­ing on win­ter weath­er! Be pre­pared with chains and extra supplies.