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Nevada County: Where Adventures Abound Year-Round
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Nevada County: Where Adventures Abound Year-Round

Nevada County is consistently rated one of the most charming river towns and travel destinations with so much to explore.

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4 min read

June 15, 2022

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Centrally located between the more popular vacation destinations of Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, and Reno, are the towns of Nevada County. The charming river towns and travel destinations of the county are sights to behold. Nevada County encompasses three incorporated areas: Nevada City, Grass Valley, and Truckee, though more than half of the county’s 100,000 residents live outside of these highly developed regions. The county stretches east to the California-Nevada border and encircles a portion of the 180,000-plus acres that make up the Tahoe National Forest. Nevada County combines the serenity of lakes in the southwest, the intensity of rivers in the northeast, and the thrill of the mountains in between—all within the county’s 978 square miles.

The county nestles in unexpected treasures, including opportunities for mountain biking along trails in the densely packed forests, fishing in the lakes of the Sierra Nevadas, and reliving California’s Gold Rush days by panning for gold among the banks of the Yuba River. It also invites a host of climates, from blustery snow to arid heat, providing the perfect slate for year-round excursions as varied as bird watching, river rafting, skiing, and snowball fights. To enjoy the area to the full, make sure you check as many of the Nevada County must-dos off your list.

Adventures You Should Go on in Nevada County

Between modern and vintage shops, you’re bound to spend a good time shopping in Downtown Nevada.

Explore Downtown Nevada

The Gold Rush might’ve ended a long time ago, but the memories of it still linger in Nevada County, California. A stroll through the streets of Downtown Nevada is the perfect introduction to the city, which was once a successful mining camp. The downtown area of this historic Gold Rush Town is home to many unique art galleries, museums, restaurants, vintage shops, and Victorian homes. At every corner, you’ll find something beautiful to photograph and something special to do.

Rafting along Truckee River promises fun and beauty.

Float Downstream Along Truckee River

Nevada County is the State’s ultimate playground with its gorgeous open spaces, which provide tons of opportunities for outdoor recreational activities. Rafting your way along Truckee River is arguably one of the most fun things to do in the region, and a must-try, both with family and friends. Put on your rafting apparel and prepare for an unforgettable NorCal rafting excursion with IRIE Rafting Company. We can’t think of anything more awesome than being surrounded by Nevada County’s breathtaking nature and having fun in the water at the same time.

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Spend a Day in South Yuba River State Park

Are you looking for a way to beat the heat in the Golden State? A day at Yuba River State Park might just be what you’re looking for. South Yuba River is the centerpiece of this can’t-miss state park. The park is open all year long and offers all sorts of recreational activities for all seasons and for every taste. Swim in the tepid turquoise waters of the South Yuba River or raft along with them, hike the park’s many trails, or have a barbecue with your besties at one of the picnic areas. Most importantly, don’t forget to do one of the most fun things to do in Nevada County; search for bits and pieces of Gold Rush history scattered across the park.

During winter Nevada County offers perfect, snow-covered slopes for ski enthusiasts.

Cross-Country Ski Along Donner Summit Mountain Pass 

Are you planning for the perfect winter getaway in California? Then you better start planning your trip to Nevada County ASAP. Donner Summit Mountain Pass is right on the border of Nevada County and offers you endless trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. After you settle in your warm winter cabin, head to the Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Resort in Truckee, where you’re bound to have the best skiing experience. If you’re on a family vacation, you’ll be happy to know that kids as young as three-years-old can tag along too, and learn the basics of skiing from experienced instructors.

Join the locals at the summertime Nevada County Fair for a lot of fun and entertainment.

Attend the Nevada County Fair

Every summer, around August, Grass Valley hosts the Nevada County Fair at Nevada County Fairgrounds, your destination for excitement and fun. Over the course of five days, attendees of the Nevada County Fair can enjoy live music, entertainment, good food, carnival rides, animals, and exhibits of all kinds.  Most importantly, the County Fair is where the community comes together, and we can’t think of a better way to know an area, than through interacting with its population.

Tour the North Star Powerhouse Mining Museum

If you’re one who loves touring California historic landmarks or are simply interested in the state’s Gold Rush era, a stop at the North Star Powerhouse Mining Museum is a must. The museum is located on a portion of the 14-acre North Star Mine site in Grass Valley and sits inside a stone building from 1895. This California gem sheds light on the area’s mining heritage and the impact the industry had on the people working in it. Among the museum's many exhibits are a blacksmith shop, assay room, stamp mill, and dynamite-packing machine. If you want to spend more time around this historic landmark, pack a basket, and have a picnic at the small creekside park outside.

The Deer Creek Tribunal Trail is considered one of California’s top trails you can hike with your pooch.

Hike the Deer Creek Tribunal Trail

On the outskirts of Downtown Nevada, you can enjoy one of the Golden State’s most other-worldly sunrise hikes. The Deer Creek Tribunal Trail immortalizes the contributions native Nisenan and Chinese people made in the county throughout history. Through most of the trail, you’ll be walking in parallel to the Deer Creek, and your steps will unconsciously synchronize with its burbles. Despite the beauty of the Deer Creek, it is the trail’s suspension bridge that steals the show. The Nisenan Tribute Bridge or “Angkula Seo” covers a good portion of Deer Creek, and connects the trail to the Environs Trail on the other side of the bridge.  Hiking the 3.1-mile, the out-and-back trail is a Nevada County activity you shouldn’t miss, and neither should your pup.

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