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By Joe Laing, El Monte RV Rentals
The wildflowers have begun to reach skyward, echoing the upward creep of the thermometer. The likelihood of rain or snow continues to diminish with each passing day. Yes, it’s spring — time to emerge from winter hibernation and head into the outdoors to soak up some much-needed sunshine.
With its California climate and miles of forested mountains, Nevada County boasts some great outdoor hot spots. For your next family getaway, consider rolling your RV into the countryside for a fresh escape.
Whether you’ve got adventurers, foodies, artists or historians on board, Nevada County has something to please everyone. Here are some of the top to-dos for every sort of traveler:
For the Naturalist
Camp at Lake Spaulding in the Tahoe National Forest, if you can get one of the 25 RV sites. Originally built for hydraulic mining 100 years ago, the lake now is a camper’s paradise and makes an ideal jumping-off point for fishing, boating and hiking.
Just about every craft is permitted, including powerboats, jet skis, sailboats and inflatables. You can also windsurf and water ski. Anglers will love the challenge of going after trout, and hiking trails with panoramic views crisscross the area.
Hike up to nearby Penner Lake, also in the Tahoe National Forest, to one of the region’s many pristine alpine lakes — this one at nearly 7000 ft. elevation.
Discover the Bowman Lake Recreation area, a dog-friendly outdoor-lover’s paradise offering spectacular day hikes, mountain biking adventures, backpacking with lakeside tent sites, swimming, fishing and a lack of crowds.
For the Adventurer
Ski or snowboard at one of the area’s resorts, including Donner Ski Ranch, one of California’s last family-owned and operated resorts.
Backpack in the high Sierra Nevada Mountains, and go rafting with Tributary Whitewater Tours on the North Yuba and Truckee rivers. Try windsurfing, jet skiing and sailing at Rollins Lake, offering 250 developed sites for tents and RVs.
For the Culturist
Attend the Annual Summer Nights in Nevada City celebration, an outdoor festival of art and music being held this year on three Wednesday evenings: July 11, 18, and 25.
Enjoy classical music performances with Music in the Mountains at the Nevada County Fairgrounds. Window-shop in historic downtown Grass Valley.
For the Foodie
Tantalize your palate with the unique mountain terroir found at Sierra Vintners’ wineries. Visit Fifty Fifty Brewing Company in Truckee to taste great craft beer and view the solar eclipse on May 20. Pick your own lavender at Forster Herb Garden in Grass Valley.
For the Historian
Tour the gold mines at Empire Mine State Park home to the oldest, largest, and richest gold mine in California. Hike through Donner Memorial State Park to learn about the famous Donner Party and local Native Americans. Visit Saint Patrick’s Cemetery in Grass Valley, and stroll the Historic District and Chinese Quarter in Nevada City.
Catch gold fever and pan for gold in Bridgeport. Visit Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park to learn about the state’s largest hydraulic mine. Check out the 7,847-foot drainage tunnel and view exhibits on life in the old mining town of North Bloomfield.
A true mother lode of priceless memories awaits you this year in Nevada County — another jewel of the Golden State of California.