What to do near Nevada City, CA?
June 15, 2010 3:32 PM   Subscribe

I'm going to be in Nevada City, California for work next week, and I'm planning to add on an extra personal day or two to the trip. What town to stay in for the personal day to best enable fun activities, and what to do?

I'm going to be in Nevada City, CA for work on Thursday, June 24, and boyfriend is coming with me. My company is paying for my hotel in Grass Valley on Thursday night. Since we'll have a rental car for the weekend, we're planning to stay an extra night somewhere nearby in order to go hiking & other fun stuff.

My work commitment is complete at the end of the evening on Thursday. Our freetime for fun activities: Friday all day, Friday night, Saturday daytime. We'd drive back home to San Francisco on Saturday night, unless there's a really awesome/cheap reason to stay another night.

This part of California is far enough off my radar that I don't know what town/area would be best to 1) stay overnight on Friday night and 2) the best fun things to do on Friday and Saturday.

I imagine we'll want to spend much of the time hiking, but I really don't know what trails or areas would be best, or if there's other fun stuff we should be doing. Stuff we like to do when traveling: hiking, wine tasting, photography, local food related things (both restaurants and more experiential places like Harley Goat Farm), beer, arts/culture stuff. If it helps, the last few domestic trips I went on that were super awesome were: Eugene, OR (race + vegetarian food trucks/interesting food and beer + taking the Coast Starlight train home), and Monterey/Big Sur/South of Big Sur (hiking + Hearst Castle + wine tasting).

Looking at the map it seems that Lake Tahoe or Truckee are reasonably close. Would it be best to book Friday night's hotel around there and plan activities there? If so, what hikes/things do you recommend?

Or should we just stay put in Grass Valley on the second night for hotel purposes, and find fun outdoors stuff within driving distance? If so, what activities do you recommend?

Or is there somewhere else within an hour or two's drive where we should stay and spend Friday/Saturday fun time?

Although camping is nice, we probably don't have enough time to get it together (gear/planning-wise) before this trip.

Sorry for the vague travel-planning question, and thanks for the help...this all stemmed from the rental car + my co-worker commenting how pretty it is around there at this time of year.
posted by soleiluna to Travel & Transportation around Nevada City, CA (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I love that area, especially the hikes and lakes accessible from Bowman Lake Road. I'm at work so I don't have my camping and hiking books with me, but there are several trailheads with great hikes, both short and longer. Fantastic fishing, too, but it doesn't sound like that's your thing. It's a very rustic area, so this may not meet your requirements for the several days you have available, but I'd be remiss if I didn't comment on one of my favorite spots in the I-80 corridor.

Worth noting is that Bowman Lake Rd. changes from paved to unpaved about half way to Bowman Lake itself, but you don't have to drive to the end of the road to find excellent trailheads and hikes. BTW, this is a great route to travel in a SUV -- it's not rough enough to really warrant 4wd, but the final few miles to Bowman Lake, if you go that far, are dusty and rugged, so a vehicle with some ground clearance and a decent suspension is a good idea. But again, the first 5-8 miles of Bowman Lake Road is well paved and maintained, so no worries if you have a sedan.
posted by mosk at 3:49 PM on June 15, 2010

I should have added, Bowman Lake Road is about 12 miles from Nevada City via. Hwy 20.
posted by mosk at 3:52 PM on June 15, 2010

Best answer: On your way to Lake Tahoe, you'll go through Donner Pass, which is food for thought.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:33 PM on June 15, 2010

Best answer: Go swimming in the Yuba River.
posted by salvia at 7:04 PM on June 15, 2010

Thanks salvia, that was what I was trying to remember, with my sister and her two kids, born and raised in Nevada City, the Yubu was known to us as "flat rock river."

Nevada City meetup coming soon.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:17 PM on June 15, 2010

Best answer: Welcome to Nirvana Silly! I'll second the swimming hole suggestion. Once the weather heats up, Edward's Crossing is a popular spot. Also hooray, Lazy Dog finally has a website with the locations of where their trucks are going to be.
posted by green_flash at 11:33 PM on June 15, 2010

Response by poster: Yay, more good ideas! Swimming and ice cream, woohoo! Thank you!
posted by soleiluna at 11:37 PM on June 15, 2010

If you are into mountain biking you are very close to Downieville, home of the Downieville Downhill.
posted by Big_B at 10:36 AM on June 16, 2010

Response by poster: An update for future people who may find this question: all of our plans have been a bust so far :( As of June 25, 2010, we've been told due to late snow/lots of snow/something like that, it's too cold and unsafe to go swimming. And the National Forest Service says Bowman Lake Rd. is currently closed because it is covered in snow.

(The locals we talked to made it sound like this snow situation isn't normal for late June.)

Boyfriend also is worried about our cat, so we're heading back early. Sigh. Anyway, with the rest of our day we're going to go to South Pine Cafe for breakfast, stroll down Bridgeport/Buttermilk Trail, and go to see a big mine of some sort (?). We might stick around for part of the Music in the Mountains concert tonight + the ice cream truck, but I'm not excited about driving back to San Francisco late at night.

Ah well. I'll need to try this trip again sometime later in the summer. I was really looking forward to the hiking part of things, and I'm sad that's not working out.
posted by soleiluna at 9:58 AM on June 25, 2010

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