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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

  • Olympic Valley, California

    Hike the Thunder Mountain Trail

    5.0
    3.2 mi / 2000 ft gain
    The Thunder Mountain Trail is the perfect hike to explore the Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. Squaw may be famed for its mountain ski runs in the winter, but when the snow melts in the summer, beautiful alpine meadows line the mountain and the ski runs turn into hiking trails! The Thunder Mountain T...
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  • Kyburz, California

    Backpack Desolation's Primitive Western Edge through Rockbound Pass

    4.4
    26.28 mi / 5151 ft gain
    This 26 mile loop meanders through some of the most primitive trails in Desolation Wilderness. Starting from Wrights Lake, the route proceeds over Rockbound Pass, loops around several lakes, and returns to Wrights Lake. Not many hikers venture past the steep and rocky Rockbound Pass to enter this...
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  • Kyburz, California

    Gertrude Lake Trail

    8.28 mi / 1362 ft gain
    Gertrude Lake Trail is an out-and-back trail that takes you by a lake located near Kyburz, California.
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  • Homewood, California

    Eagle Rock

    4.0
    0.84 mi / 105 ft gain
    Starting at an outcrop off Highway 89 in Tahoe Pines, hikers make their way up the trail through a gradually sloping forest. Climbing rocks and logs, it is strenuous at times but only takes about 15-20 minutes to accomplish. Once at the top, the elevation is 6,286 feet and consists of an absolute...
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  • Nevada City, California

    Emerald Pools

    4.0
    0.68 mi / 49 ft gain
    Emerald Pools is an out-and-back trail that takes you by a river located near Emigrant Gap, California.
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  • Kyburz, California

    Hike to Twin and Island Lakes

    5.0
    7 mi / 1600 ft gain
    The Twin Lakes trail starts winding through a pine forest, with a couple bridge crossings over crystal clear trout-filled streams.  The marsh-like water is very slow moving, and even though it is indeed beautiful, it is also a prime location for pesky mosquitoes in the summertime.  Be sure to loa...
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  • Kyburz, California

    Backpack to Smith Lake, Desolation Wilderness

    5.0
    5.6 mi / 1750 ft gain
    To get to the Twin Lakes Trailhead from the Bay Area/Sacramento, head east on HWY 50 past Kyburz for 4 miles until you see the left-hand turnoff for Wrights Road. If coming westbound on HWY 50, this will be a right-hand turn 5 miles past Strawberry. Follow this paved road for 8 miles (watch for p...
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  • Kyburz, California

    Hike the Grouse, Hemlock, and Smith Lake Trail

    5.0
    Starting from the Wright's Lake parking area, walk past the service gate to find the loop trail. Follow the loop trail to the signed trail for Twin, Grouse, Island, and Hemlock Lakes heading toward the right. You will begin an approximate 150 foot ascend before coming to a saddle. Another 150 foo...
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  • Tahoma, California

    Backpack to Crag Lake

    4.0
    11.1 mi / 1220 ft gain
    Day 1:This trip is a great early season trip while you are waiting for the snow to melt in the high country or it could be a good first backpacking trip because of its proximity to the trailhead and the fact that it's a relatively easy hike.  Also, you get to camp by a beautiful lake with a drama...
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  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    Paddle from Meeks Bay to D.L. Bliss

    The water at Meeks Bay is perfectly crystal clear, a mix of different blues and greens – you can see the bottom floor in most places. Hug the buoy line to have a clear view to the lake's bottom, or cruise the dark blue waters where the lake falls off from 20ft deep to some of its deepest levels o...
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  • Nevada City, California

    Bowman Road and Meadow Lake Road to Henness Pass

    3.0
    35.45 mi / 4895 ft gain
    Bowman Road and Meadow Lake Road to Henness Pass is a point-to-point trail that takes you by a lake located near Alta, California.
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  • Kyburz, California

    Hike Pyramid Peak

    5.0
    Although it stands only slightly higher than its neighbors, Pyramid Peak nonetheless dominates the Crystal Range atop which it sits. Great views from the summit make this a must-do.The Route: The route is fairly straightforward to Lake Sylvia (see map). Simply follow the well-defined Lyons Cr...
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  • Pollock Pines, United States

    Hiking the Jenkinson Lake Loop Trail at Sly Park

    4.0
    The Jenkinson Lake Loop Trail runs along Jenkinson Lake, making for an easy, shaded, and well-marked hike that the entire family can enjoy. The full loop is over eight miles, but can be easily modified into a shorter trip, as well.Along the way, you will see a variety of activities along the lake...
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  • Truckee, California

    Hike the Truckee Tunnels

    5.0
    To get here, drive along Donner Pass Rd. There is a turnoff about 100 yards away from the Donner Summit Bridge where you can park. The hike begins at a plaque for the China Wall- a large retaining wall built by Chinese railroad workers. Hike up the trail towards the tunnels. Some spots may requi...
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  • Twin Bridges, California

    Summit Price & Agassiz from Desolation Wilderness

    5.0
    Mount Price (9,975') is the second highest summit in the Desolation Wilderness, standing just eight feet lower than Pyramid Peak to the south. In between these two peaks stands Mount Agassiz (9,967'), whose overhanging summit resembles a granite wave poised to crash down into the Desolation Vall...
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  • Tahoe City, California

    Paddle Commons Beach

    5.0
    Commons Beach is a small beach and park on the northwest side of the lake. It is located very close to the CA-89 exit, so is ideal for road trip stops. There is a park for kids, and a grassy area near the beach. The beach itself is on the smaller side, but is relatively uncrowded. This area of th...
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