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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

  • Amador County, California

    Hike to Thunder Mountain at Carson Pass

    7 mi
    The trailhead begins on Rt 88 just past Kirkwood Resort or Silver Lake - depending on which way you are headed. There is plenty of parking but no other amenities. The trail begins at 7,900 ft and climbs steadily up Two Sentinels then along the ridge to Martins Point, ending at the 9,408ft summit ...
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  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    Ski or Snowboard Heavenly

    5.0
    One of the more beautiful resorts in Lake Tahoe to go snowboarding and skiing.  Heavenly is situated in South Lake Tahoe on the border of California and Nevada.  This ski resort has an amazing view of the lake while going down, as well as one of the largest total areas to ski in Lake Tahoe. This ...
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  • Carson City, Nevada

    Hike to Skunk Harbor

    4.5
    The parking for Skunk Beach is very limited and a little difficult to find. Make sure you get there early if you want a spot. The parking is a turnoff along highway 28, about two miles north of the junction with highway 50. There is no trail sign or anything but there is an old green pipe gate wh...
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  • Carson City, Nevada

    Skunk Harbor

    4.0
    2.83 mi / 564 ft gain
    Skunk Harbor is an out-and-back trail that takes you by a lake located near Glenbrook, Nevada.
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  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    Bike to Star Lake

    5.0
    21 mi / 2300 ft gain
    Start out at the top of Corral Loop, in South Lake Tahoe, and begin the climb up Armstrong Pass. After the 4 mile ride up, you reach the split to either Mr. Toads or Star Lake. Continue another 2.5 miles up the steep and sandy climb to the saddle just below Freel Peak, the tallest peak in the bas...
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  • Carson City, Nevada

    Hike to Secret Cove

    5.0
    0.9 mi / 209 ft gain
    Take a short little hike down from HWY 28 to Secret Cove to relax on the beach on sunbathe on rocks. The water is incredibly clear and has different shades of turquoise. There are many rocks to climb on and the water is great for swimming. It gets crowded early, and is a nude beach, so plan accor...
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  • Carson City, Nevada

    Secret Harbor / Whale Beach

    4.0
    1.67 mi / 384 ft gain
    Secret Harbor / Whale Beach is an out-and-back trail that takes you by a lake located near Carson City, Nevada.
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  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    Hike to Round Lake through Big Meadow

    3 mi / 1197 ft gain
    You will start out at the Big Meadow trailhead at the Luther Pass parking lot. It's three miles one way.  Near the end of the hike just before the lake the rock formations are prime...big trees, a crystal stream. The trail is well defined and easy going even though it's an 1100 foot gain in eleva...
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  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT): Big Meadow to Echo Summit

    17.51 mi / 2949 ft gain
    Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT): Big Meadow to Echo Summit is a point-to-point trail that takes you by a lake located near South Lake Tahoe, California.
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  • Carson City, Nevada

    Hike the Spooner Lake Loop

    2.2 mi / 150 ft gain
    The Spooner Lake Loop is perfect for any ages since there is basically no elevation gain and many benches along the trail to rest. The trail offers many educational signs describing the history, and flora and fauna of the area. This man made lake is perfect for the kids and pup. They will love th...
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  • Pioneer, California

    Camping at The Pots

    4.2
    This fantastic camping or chilling spot has beautiful granite pools and slides of all sizes. The area consists of a river flowing over a granite slab creating pools some of which are over ten feet deep. The water cascades down the granite in small water falls. The area is located next to Silver L...
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  • Carson City, Nevada

    Relax at Tahoe's Chimney Beach

    5.0
    2.2 mi
    Located on the East Bank of Lake Tahoe along Highway 28, Chimney Beach is a great alternative to the more popular and heavily used beaches which can be quite a challenge to gain access due to the parking limitations during the busy summer months and on weekends.From the parking area on the east s...
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  • Carson City, Nevada

    Marlette Lake via Chimney Beach Trailhead

    4.0
    5.96 mi / 1713 ft gain
    This trail starts right off NV28 between Chimney Beach and Great Tahoe Beach. Around 30 minute drive from South Lake Tahoe and the CA/NV border, we arrived close to 10am with plenty of parking available. While it seemed the trail was heavily used by mountain bikes, we encountered zero during our ...
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  • Pioneer, California

    Hike to Granite Lake

    Take the road to Kit Carson Lodge. When the road turns to dirt, take this one-lane dirt road as far as you can go. The road terminates into a round parking area, however, as of the writing of this post, there was a large tree blocking the road about 250 ft before the end.The Trailhead is clearly ...
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  • New Washoe City, Nevada

    Photograph Bonsai Rock

    5.0
    Bonsai Rock is a popular attraction for photographers as it is a unique boulder with tiny trees growing out of it, enclosed next to the shoreline. This makes it a beautiful place to enjoy a scenic sunset, as well as play with some long exposure photography.It's located on the east side of Lake Ta...
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  • Washoe County, Nevada

    Sand Harbor Nature Trail

    4.5
    0.54 mi / 33 ft gain
    While Sand Harbor Park is a popular summer destination, the sunsets from this spot are breathtaking year round and you will have less company in the winter. The park is located right off of Highway 28 and has an admission fee of $7. There is a parking lot that fills up quickly in the summer, so a...
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