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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

  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    D.L. Bliss State Park to Emerald Bay State Park via Rubicon Trail

    7.21 mi / 1424 ft gain
    D.L. Bliss State Park to Emerald Bay State Park via Rubicon Trail is an out-and-back trail that takes you by a lake located near Tahoma, California.
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  • Colfax, California

    Hike The Historical Stevens Trail

    5.0
    8 mi / 3376 ft gain
    Best known as one of the most popular hiking and biking trails to the North Fork American River, in part because of the easy access from Colfax. However, this is a remote trail, and hikers are advised to bring plenty of fluids as well as carry a whistle. The entire trail is primarily shaded, pa...
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  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    Rock Climb at Eagle Lake Cliffs

    4 mi
    To Access Eagle Lake Cliffs Crag, head to the West Shore of South Lake Tahoe. You’ll want to park at Emerald Bay Parking Lot and head to the trail register. It’s almost always packed, so come early, or plan to park on the road and walk. Sign yourself and your party number in for the day access pa...
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  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    Rock Climb the 90ft. Wall

    5.0
    Park at the Eagle Creek Canyon parking lot. If it's full, park alongside the Hwy 89, right at the entrance of the Eagle Creek Canyon parking pullout. Both parking areas fill up quickly, so if those two are full, park across the street at Emerald Bay Vikingsholm Trail parking lot. That area can fi...
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  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    Eagle Falls & Eagle Lake Loop

    4.4
    2.39 mi / 617 ft gain
    Eagle Falls Trail is located off Highway 89 and is surrounded by some of the most beautiful landscapes in California. Eagle Falls is one of the most popular short hikes in Lake Tahoe because of its beautiful cascading waterfalls, lush green scenery, and trees. Alongside one of the bluest pristine...
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  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    Middle Velma Lake via Eagle Falls Trailhead

    4.5
    9.18 mi / 2251 ft gain
    Hiking or backpacking to the Velma Lakes area is a must do if you want to explore and escape the summer crowds of South Tahoe. There are 3 lakes, Upper, Middle, and Lower Velma Lake. The trek out to Middle Velma is 9+ miles roundtrip, but you can add to it depending on how many other lakes you wa...
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  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    Eagle Lake Trail

    4.0
    2.35 mi / 571 ft gain
    The trailhead starts (and ends) by the beautiful Emerald Bay of Lake Tahoe, and goes west. The trail is well-marked and composed of mostly granite steps. Once you get to the lake, you can swim: it's cold but beautiful. If you keep following the path to the wooded areas (to the left), there are s...
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  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    Eagle Falls Vista Loop

    0.56 mi / 138 ft gain
    Eagle falls is a short walk from the main Emerald Bay vista point. The top of the falls are cool to look at themselves, with great views of the lake. 
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  • Soda Springs, California

    Hike to the Top of Andesite Peak

    5 mi / 1000 ft gain
    From the trail map sign, follow the dirt path straight, following signs for the cross-country skiing route, not snowmobiling. Continue until you see a trail marker. You'll veer left to head over to the Hole in the Ground trail. Once you see another identical trail map board, you'll head left. Thi...
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  • Soda Springs, California

    Snowshoe to the Peter Grubb Hut

    5.0
    8 mi
    The Peter Grubb Hut is located below Castle Peak in Round Valley, 3 miles north of the Castle Peak trailhead near I-80. Overnight parking is available at the California Sno-Park at the Boreal-Castle Peak exit on I-80. Park on the frontage road east of the Boreal Inn and walk back under the freewa...
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  • Soda Springs, California

    Summit Castle Peak

    4.0
    6 mi / 1800 ft gain
    The trailhead is very easy to access as it is just off Highway 80 at the Boreal Mountain exit. When taking the exit, take a turn to the North, rather than to Boreal on the South side of the Highway. On busy summer weekends this trailhead can get quite crowded so you may have to park at the bottom...
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  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    Emerald Bay

    4.3
    1.84 mi / 358 ft gain
    The View at Emerald Bay is not to be missed. This is an amazing place to catch a sunrise over the lake or to see the east side of the lake lit at night. During the day, you should take the quick hike down the trail to enjoy the beach to rent a kayak and explore the dark blue water. The perspecti...
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  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    Capture the Milky Way over Emerald Bay

    4.5
    There is a reason Emerald Bay is one of the most photographed places in the world and that is because of its stunning beauty! I am sure you have experienced it during the day, but the bay really comes alive at night. The Milky Way reaches over all of Emerald Bay and it is a sight to see! Head out...
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  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    Boulder at D.L. Bliss State Park

    This place is bouldering heaven. Short approach to the first boulders, challenging routes for every level, good landings, and set in a beautiful area. It's like Bishop, but without the long drive.Technically you can come anytime in the season, but it is highly suggested to get a morning session i...
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  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    Hike the Lighthouse Trail at D.L. Bliss State Park

    4.8
    2.3 mi / 505 ft gain
    The Lighthouse Trail is a 2.3 mile loop located in D.L. Bliss State Park on the lower west side of world famous Lake Tahoe. To get the trail, enter the park through the main entrance ($10 parking fee), the  follow the road until you see two parking areas of the left side with about 6 or 7 spots e...
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  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    Hike the Rubicon Trail

    5.0
    7 mi / 400 ft gain
    The Rubicon Trail is a through hike connecting D.L. Bliss State Park and Emerald Bay State Park.  You can start at either point.  I opted to start at D.L. Bliss State Park to avoid the long walk uphill to catch the Nifty Fifty shuttle.  Also, there is more available parking at Bliss.  Park your c...
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