Heart K Ranch

Photo by Carl Raymond

History, biodiversity, and beauty in the heart of Plumas County

Picturesque and rural, the Heart K Ranch in Genesee Valley, is a place of quiet beauty and scenic mountain vistas. The biodiversity of this working landscape is unmatched in the region with black oak woodlands, open meadows, old pine groves, and a riparian forest along 2+ miles of Indian Creek. 

Open sunrise to sunset year-round

About Heart K Ranch

Highlights
Map & Directions
Activity Info
History
Guidelines
Highlights

The history of the Heart K Ranch is palpable as you explore hand-hewn historic barns, sandy ranch roads, and homestead orchards.

This 900+ acre working ranch holds connections to the past, present, and future of the American West. From the beginning of time to today, the property and surrounding lands are of great importance to the Mountain Maidu people. The Ranch has a variety of habitat types and interesting geologic formations making it visually stunning.

Arrive prepared to choose your own self-guided adventure in this rugged and remote mountain valley. Take a walk down to the creek, wander through the oak woodlands looking for rare plants and wildlife, or use the porch of the Main House as a picnic site before jumping on your bike to explore Genesee Valley and beyond.

This preserve is truly a gem in the heart of Plumas County.

READ CONSERVATION STORY

Map & Directions

Directions

From Quincy

  • Follow CA-70-89W for 10 miles until you reach CA-89 (Greenville Wye).
  • Turn right onto CA-89 (towards Greenville and Lake Almanor) and follow for 6 miles.
  • Turn right onto Arlington Road/A-22 towards Taylorsville.
  • Heart K Ranch is approximately 15 miles from the intersection of CA-89 and A-22 (aka the Taylorsville “T”). Follow A-22 through Taylorsville, approximately 5 miles.
  • Bear right onto Genesee Road and follow for 9 miles. Heart K Ranch will be on the left (look for the Main House and the big red barn).

Open in Google

Map

Download a map of the preserve to use while visiting the property.

 

Activity Info

*Please be aware that the Heart K Ranch is home to many animals, including rattlesnakes. Watch where you walk, wear boots and pants, and avoid tall grass.

Birding

As one of the most biodiverse properties in the upper Feather River Watershed, birding is great year-round at the Heart K Ranch. An eBird hotspot was established by volunteers from Plumas Audubon Society and to date has documented 115 species of birds, including 11 waterfowl species, two quail species, seven raptor species and four owl species

  • Spring/Summer
    • Western Tanager
    • Willow Flycatcher (endangered)
    • Greater Sandhill Crane
    • Several swallow species including Bank Swallows (threatened)
    • Mountain Chickadee and many other songbirds
  • Fall/Winter
    • Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle
    • Wild Turkey (lots of ‘em)
    • Red-Shouldered Hawk
    • Barn Owl and Great-horned Owls (look in the red barn)

Fishing

Indian Creek and its upstream tributaries provide good trout fishing and enjoyable scenery. Fishing is open on Indian Creek the Saturday preceding Memorial Day and until November 15. A catch and release ethic is strongly encouraged as the ecosystem is fragile in this part of the Region. Follow all CDFW fishing regulations.

Fall Foliage

Black oak woodlands, Cottonwood trees, large willow stands, and golden grasses offer a dazzling display of color. If you are a fall foliage aficionado, the Heart K Ranch is a must see! Generally the best time to view the fall colors in Plumas County is between late September and early November but it varies each year. 

Photography

With historic barns, an old log cabin, giant ponderosas, and snow capped mountain vistas the Heart K is a great place to practice photography. Each season has its own beauty. We would love to see your captures of this beautiful place. Please share your photos with us by tagging #HeartKRanch

Picnicking

Pack a lunch or grab food to-go from a local business and head down the Beckwourth-Genesee Road for an enjoyable drive to your picnic destination. We recommend having lunch on the big lawn or up on the porch at the Heart K Main House. We do have a few picnic tables but you could also bring a blanket or chairs if you prefer. The lawn, orchard, and red barn are fun to explore with kids and the mostly level ground makes it suitable for most people. Watch out for ground squirrel and gopher holes! 

Swimming

Indian Creek is clear, cold, and refreshing on a hot summer’s day. The water level in the creek varies during the spring and summer season and at times can be swift. Only swim if accompanied by other people. By mid-summer there are gravel bars and shallow water which makes the creek suitable for families with young kids. Beach spots with sand can be scarce so sturdy water shoes are recommended. FRLT is in the process of improving creek access on the Ranch.

Walking

The Heart K Ranch offers nice walking with good views of Grizzly Ridge and Cat Rock. There are two parking options. For a little longer walk, park at the Main House in the gravel parking area and walk up the Beckwourth-Genesee Rd to the fork where the road begins to climb up to Antelope Lake. Veer right onto the Beckwourth-Genesee Road and cross the bridge over Indian Creek (Flournoy Bridge). On your right there are two roads, a higher and lower road. Take the lower road (Ward Creek) and follow it to access the south side of the ranch. This dirt road leads to the Davis Homestead which features a granary-style barn with a hand-hewn granite foundation built in the mid-1800s. To shorten this walk, park on the far side of the Flournoy Bridge. Make sure not to block the road and only park in clear, dirt parking areas. Important: leave all gates as you find them. Don’t let the cows out!

Road and Gravel Biking

Use the Heart K Ranch Main House as your starting point for an epic biking adventure. The paved Beckwourth Genesee Road and Antelope Lake Road offer miles of big views with fairly sparse traffic. Looking for some dirt? Bring a Plumas National Forest quad map and explore the unpaved Nye Creek Road and the Walker Mine Road. There are miles and miles of dirt roads with steep climbs in this part of the county. Be prepared and self-supported for your biking adventure.

History

The Heart K Ranch, like most ranches in the inter-mountain valleys of the Sierra Nevada, has a complex history with many people who have called the place home. Genesee Valley (Yotomato Koyo in Maidu) was a traditional gathering, hunting, and year-round living area for the Mountain Maidu. Use of the Valley by the Mountain Maidu is recorded in both written local history and in Maidu oral tradition (we recommend a stop to any of the local Plumas County Museums to learn more).

During the Gold Rush, ranches and dairies were established in the Genesee and Indian Valleys to support the local mining industry. Heart K was a self-sufficient farm and dairy producing grains, produce, milk, butter, meat, and other important commodities.  As gold prospecting slowed down, logging of the forests around Genesee Valley increased. Throughout the 20th century, small and large scale mining, ranching, timber harvesting, and farming dominated the local land use and economy.

The legacy of agriculture and Maidu stewardship on the ranch is ever evolving. Currently the Heart K is a working ranch grazed by a local ranching family. FRLT works with our neighbors and with the direct descendants of the original homesteaders of the Davis Ranch (Maidu and Welsh) to find solutions to a variety of land management activities and goals.

Guidelines

Hours: Open year-round from sunrise to sunset.

Camping: Camping and overnight parking is prohibited.

Motorized Vehicles: Motorized vehicles only allowed on paved roads and the Ward Creek Road. We monitor for unauthorized OHV use.

Pets: Dogs are allowed in areas where livestock are not grazing. If you encounter livestock when walking your dog, please leash your dog and avoid livestock. Please pick up after your pet and maintain control at all times.

Trails/Roads: Please keep foot traffic to roads and previously walked paths and trails. Bikes are only permitted on the Ward Creek road and surrounding roads off the property.

Smoking: Smoking is prohibited.

Fires: Fires are prohibited.

Plants & Wildlife: Please leave plants and wildlife undisturbed. Do not pick wildflowers or remove anything from the property, even rocks may be an artifact of this historic place.

Group events: Permits are required for all organized group events. Please fill out the form below or contact Nils Lunder, Stewardship Manager, at (530) 283-5758 for more information.

Large events: No weddings or other large private events at this time.

Preserve Activities

Birding

Fall Foliage

Fishing

Photography

Picnicking

Road Biking

Swimming

Walking


Share your shots!#HeartKRanch

More Ways to Explore