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Placer County, California

Placer County, California is a top destination for outdoor adventures. The best trails and outdoor activities are plentiful here. One must-visit is the Stevens Trail, a scenic 9-mile round trip hike that offers stunning views of the American River Canyon. The trail is moderately difficult with steep inclines and rocky terrain, but the sight of the river, waterfalls, and wildflowers make it worth the effort. For those interested in rock formations, the Donner Summit Canyon trail is a great choice. It features intriguing granite formations and views of Donner Lake. If you're up for a challenge, the 6.9-mile round trip hike to Shirley Canyon is a must. You'll pass by rushing streams, waterfalls, and have a panoramic view of Squaw Valley. Remember to pack a picnic to enjoy by the lake! These are just a few of the best outdoor activities in Placer County, California.

Top Spots in and near Placer County

  • Alpine County, California

    Hike to Round Top Peak

    5.0
    9 mi / 1821 ft gain
    This hike begins at Carson Pass which is accessible from Highway 88. The trail leaves from the parking lot (parking requires a fee of $5) and is easy to follow. After about a mile, you'll pass Frog Lake on the left, which is a nice place to stop for a quick snack.Continue along the trail and stay...
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  • Washoe County, Nevada

    Sledding Fun for the Whole Family

    5.0
    You can't miss this spot in the open snowfields of Tahoe Meadows. This area is not privately owned or maintained, which is perfect. It is a short drive up the Mt. Rose Highway from Reno and Sparks and there is plenty of free parking (except on super-busy days) right next to the sledding slopes an...
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  • Reno, Nevada

    Mt. Rose Summit Loop

    5.0
    10.74 mi / 2392 ft gain
    This challenging hike offers great views of the greater Tahoe area. The first part of the hike to the waterfall is relatively easy, but once you pass that, you'll be doing a decent climb to the summit. During the summer months, you'll want to get an early start as there can be a decent crowd head...
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  • Carson City, Nevada

    Kings Canyon Falls

    4.0
    0.63 mi / 233 ft gain
    ...Living in California, I know all about waterfalls! For me personally though, no matter the shape or size of the waterfall, it has my interest. Now when it comes to Nevada, I honestly can't think of too many waterfalls off the top of my head, but when you're passing through a town that you're u...
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  • Penn Valley, California

    Visit the Bridgeport Covered Bridge

    4.0
    The famed and picturesque Bridgeport Covered Bridge, spanning the width of the Yuba River, was originally built in 1862. It was an integral passage for a freight hauling route from San Fransisco to Nevada. This historic site is now protected and is no longer able to be walked or driven through as...
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  • New Washoe City, Nevada

    Ski or Snowboard Mt. Rose

    5.0
    The Resort is located about 30 miles (50 km) south of Reno in the Carson Range. Mt. Rose is Tahoe's highest base elevation at about 8,260 ft (2,520 m) and the summit is 9,700 ft (3,000 m). The resort area is 1,200 acres (4.9 km2), and is located in the Toiyabe National Forest.See the resort map h...
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  • Penn Valley, California

    Fairy Falls Trail to Shingle/Beale Falls

    4.1
    4.87 mi / 535 ft gain
    Start at the Fairy Falls trailhead in Spenceville Wildlife Area Field Trial Grounds in Penn Valley (careful on the bumpy roads in). From the parking lot, cross a small bridge and make a right onto a dirt road. After about a mile you will follow the road to the right and continue through the gate....
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  • Calpine, California

    Gold Lakes, Sierra Buttes, 45mi

    If you never travel north of the Tahoe Basin into the Sierra Valley and beyond, you should. It is gorgeous, peaceful country, with wide open spaces and, compared to Tahoe, relatively uncrowded roads. This loops takes us from Bassett’s Station toward Sattley, north on 89, a brief stop to regroup i...
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  • Sierra City, California

    Paddle Lower Sardine Lake

    5.0
    Lower Sardine Lake is a short drive from Sardine Lakes Campground.  It has crystal clear water and is a very smooth place to paddle. This is also a popular fishing and kayaking spot. There are many fallen trees in the lake and a couple rocks that come up almost to the surface. The water in genera...
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  • Sierra City, California

    Camp at Sardine Lake Campground

    5.0
    This campground is first come first serve and is located near Lower Sardine Lake.  There are a couple bathrooms located around the loop. Most campsites have trees, perfect for hammocking and shade. The campsite has great views of the mountains. There are a couple hiking trails nearby. Lower Sard...
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  • Sierra City, California

    Sardine Lakes

    1.32 mi / 253 ft gain
    Sardine Lakes is a loop trail that takes you by a lake located near Sierra City, California.
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  • Sierra City, California

    Relax at Sand Pond

    5.0
    Sand Pond is a great place to relax after a day of hiking or paddling. It's located between Sardine Lake Campground and Lower Sardine Lake and is an easy 10 min walk from the campground. Sand Pond has beautiful views of the mountains and is a great place to watch the sunset. There are small fish ...
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  • Sierra City, California

    Sierra Buttes Lookout Trail

    5.09 mi / 1365 ft gain
    Sierra Buttes Lookout Trail is an out-and-back trail where you may see beautiful wildflowers located near Sierra City, California.
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  • Sierra City, California

    Sierra Buttes and Sardine Lakes

    4.8
    6.19 mi / 3333 ft gain
    The Sierra Buttes are one of the most scenic mountain features in all of the Sierra Nevadas. Nestled below the buttes are Upper and Lower Sardine lakes which both offer amazing fishing. Sardine Lake Resort lies at the base of the mountains and offers boat rentals, dining and cabin rentals. Just m...
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  • Markleeville, California

    Snowmobile at Hope Valley Sno-Park

    Book a snowmobile trip through a local adventure center (we love Lake Tahoe Adventures) or bring your own gear. Don't forget to grab permits ahead of time if you come on your own (more info here.) Drive (from anywhere) to Highway 88 and the snow park entrance is on the south side of the highway. ...
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  • Calpine, California

    Camp at Salmon Creek Campground

    Salmon Creek Campground is a quiet campground in the Northern Sierra Buttes. Since it is right up the road from Sardine Lakes it seems to get overlooked a bit. We were able to reserve three campsites the same week of our trip. There were 11 to choose from! The campground is just passed the turn f...
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