Trip Ideas

things to do in October

Pumpkin Spice It Up Things To Do In October In California Nevada County

Not sure what to do this October? Why not make a trip to the fall foliage mecca of Nevada County. Go leaf-peeping, take in some amazing art, and even push yourself to the limits in a gravel grinder. In fact, there's so much to do you may need to take a few trips to take it all in.

Tips & Resources

From trick or treating to Halloween-inspired camping here’s the full list of things to do in Nevada City for Halloween

74 miles, 11,000+ feet of elevation gain or a 46 mile jaunt with 7,100 feet of gain you’ll need lungs of gold for the Heart Of Gold Gravel Grinder on October 7th

Get inspired at the annual Center For The Arts Open Studios art tour throughout the month of October

Fall into autumn fun in Truckee-Tahoe – leaf-peeping, hiking, mountain biking, and more!


By Alex Silgalis

When you say the word “October”, most parts of the country shiver. Not so in California’s Nevada County. Alongside a colorful canopy of fall foliage, you should expect glorious sun-filled weather to go along with it. Need a push to take a trip? Here’s some of the many things to do in October in California Nevada County.

Heart Of Gold

October 7th

cyclists pedaling over South Yuba River on Heart Of Gold Gravel race from up above
Image appears courtesy: Topo CollectiveBike Monkey

Not a new concept, the original Tour de France was pretty much a gravel grinder. They consisted of a big serving of gravel roads, a dash of singletrack, and a whiff of smooth pavement. Less of a race and more of a community gathering of like-minded enthusiastic cyclists. The Heart of Gold is a true tour of Nevada County’s quieter side. Pedal past old-growth trees. Take in historic parks and the cozy towns of Bloomfield and Washington. And most of all, get challenged by more than 11,000 feet of climbing across its 74 miles. Too much? New for 2023, for the first time ever there will be a cash purse of $2,000.

Open Studio Tour

October 14th,15th,21st, & 22nd

Open Studios Art Tour things to do in October
Artist Denise Wey in her studio – Studio 14 – Photo taken by: Nathan Angline

The Center for the Arts presents their annual Fall Colors Open Studio Tour. Visit 70+ local artists in 47 studios this October and see where art is made, displayed, and appreciated in Nevada County. The tour features painters, printmakers, photographers, ceramicists, illustrators, jewelers, designers, woodworkers, and more. You’ll have the opportunity to meet the artists, view new work, and buy original art in a wide range of media and styles. See their workspace, watch live demonstrations, observe works in progress, and learn about an art process from concept to completion. Beyond an art sale, Open Studio is a chance to experience first-hand how, where, and why art is created. Start your tour at the Center for the Arts to get your guide and visit as many locations as you like.

Truckee River Day & Fair

October 15th

volunteers working in a marsh near Truckee River on a sunny fall day
Image appears courtesy: Truckee River Watershed Council – Photo by: Peter Kulchawik

Do you love Nevada County’s great places and want to ensure that your great, great, great grandkids can enjoy them too? Then the annual Truckee River Day & Fair is the perfect way to do it. Since 1996, thousands of like-minded and passionate nature lovers meet to celebrate as well as take on restoration projects throughout the Truckee watershed. Over the years, volunteers have helped restore meadows. Invigorate riparian areas and plant native vegetation. But don’t just take our word for it. The Truckee River Watershed Council has created a self-guided tour to show all the hard work that has been done with your own two eyes.


October 31st … And More

Haunted House in Nevada City one of the many things to do for Halloween
Image appears courtesy: Nevada City Chamber of Commerce – Photo by: © Photographer Faye White

If there’s an excuse to celebrate, Nevada City goes out of their way to make sure there are festivities to enjoy for both young in age and in heart. Amongst the magnificent fall foliage, you’ll find a great selection of tours including a cemetery hike, spooky tales of haunted historic sites, and celebrations all topped off with pumpkin ice cream. Not to be left out of the spooky fun, downtown Grass Valley is hosting on Tuesday, October 31st from 10am-1pm the Safe Trick or Treat for preschoolers. And last but not least, for those up in the “high country” near Truckee, don’t miss the Halloween Parade which is happening on Friday, October 27th from 4:30-8pm.

Camping Halloween-Style

Haunted Pathway in Inn Town Campground for Halloween
Photo by: Erin Thiem Image appears courtesy: Inn Town Campground

Another unique option is to go camping in October amidst the magic of Halloween (all the charm but none of the scariness!) at the Inn Town Campground. Throughout the month, the campground is decorated with skeletons climbing trees, an outdoor skeleton yoga installation, and zombies in a camping tent. Keeping with the festive theme, the Inn Town Campground encourages campers to decorate their campsites to get into the season as well. Costumes are recommended but not required. And on weekends, they play kid-friendly Halloween movies so bring a blanket and a thermos of hot cocoa to enjoy the autumn camping vibes. Be aware that this is limited to campers only (i.e. get your reservations in advance because they sell out).

As you can see, October is a BIG month of celebrations. For more fun ideas of things to do in October in California Nevada County, be sure to visit our event calendar. And for a list of our biggest annual events of the year, check out our Festivals & Special events page.


Alex Silgalis

Alex founded Local Freshies® in 2014 to be the #1 website providing the “local scoop” on where to eat, drink & play in mountain towns throughout North America. When he’s not writing and executing marketing strategies for small businesses & agencies, he’s in search of the deepest snow in the winter and tackiest dirt in the summer.

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