Discover the Trails in…
Plumas, Sierra & Nevada Counties North on CA HWY 70 & 49
78) Beckwourth Pass – Located 15-miles east of the town of Beckwourth on CA 70. Jim Beckwourth was the African American mountain man who opened one of four mountain passes through the Sierra Nevada range for emigrant wagon trains in 1851.
79) Plumas-Eureka State Park – South of CA 70 and five miles west of Blairsden. Visitors can see the one-time miner’s bunkhouse that today serves as a museum. This day-use park features an old-time five-stamp ore mill, a mine office, home and blacksmith shop with historical reenactments in the summer.
80) Sierra County includes Loyalton, on CA 49, featuring the Loyalton Museum where visitors can discover why the town changed its name for the Union cause. Sierraville is rich in timber and history. Sierra City, on CA 49, is a picturesque community established in 1850 as a mining boomtown. Downieville, on CA 49, is considered one of the least changed towns from its 1849 beginnings.
The Yuba River Scenic Byway is designated as a California State Scenic Highway for the 41-mile section from Tahoe National Forest southwest on CA 49 to Camptonville. This byway travels at river level along the North Yuba River providing scenic views of placer mining camps and towns with Native American, emigrant and heritage sites located along the route.
81) Nevada County includes:
Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park – Off CA 49 at Tyler-Foote Road. Site of the state’s largest “hydraulic” mine where huge cliffs were carved by powerful streams of water. Park features and activities include picnic and camping sites, hiking, fishing and the visitor center with early mining exhibits.
South Yuba River State Park – Off CA 49 at Pleasant Valley Road, this park features the largest single-span covered bridge in the world. You can hike, swim and pan for gold along the Yuba River.
Nevada County also includes Nevada City, on CA 49, where Gold Rush days are on display at the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum, the historic Nevada Theater, the Firehouse Museum and the classic Bourn Cottage. Grass Valley, on CA 49, includes the classic Gold Rush-era Holbrooke Hotel and local mining history at the North Star Powerhouse Mining Museum.
Empire Mine State Historic Park – South of Grass Valley and CA 49. The site of the oldest, largest, deepest and richest gold mine in California. Today the day-use park features many of the mine’s buildings, a visitor center museum, guided tours, and beautifully forested backcountry with eight miles of scenic trails.
I-80/Truckee Trail Route
82) Truckee – On I-80. Named for the Paiute Indian chief who helped guide emigrants through the desert and over the Sierras on their westward journey to Gold Country.
Donner Memorial State Park – East on I-80 at Truckee. This is the site of the ill-fated Donner–Reed Emigrant Party who were trapped by winter storms. The park today features scenic picnic sites, hiking, camping, fishing, waterskiing and a visitor center. The Pioneer Monument will be re-dedicated for its centennial celebration on June 9, 2018.
Placer & Sacramento Counties:
83) Auburn – On I-80 and CA 49. In 1849, gold was discovered in the Auburn Ravine and this picturesque town was quickly founded in 1850. Today visitors can enjoy a walking tour of the former Gold Rush boomtown at Old Town.
Auburn State Recreation Area – South of I-80 and Auburn on CA 49. Once teeming with thousands of gold miners, today this outdoor recreational playground covers 40-miles that include the North and Middle Forks of the American River. Park facilities include hiking trails, family, group and boat-in campsites, picnic areas, beach, swimming, fishing and gold panning.
84) Sacramento – Visitors won’t want to miss Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park, located in downtown Sacramento at 26th and K streets. The fort is a re-creation of the first non-Indian settlement in California’s Central Valley, and the first stop for many early California Trail emigrants. Old Sacramento State Historic Park is off I-5 at the J Street exit in downtown Sacramento. Today this restored early California Gold Rush community features over 50 historic buildings that include a colorful assortment of museums, dining and shopping opportunities. The California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento has fascinating exhibits and artifacts documenting the arduous task of building the first transcontinental railroad over the Sierra. Visitors can also tour the nearby California State Capitol Museum, located in the State Capitol at Capitol and 10th streets, to see the restored historic offices of the Secretary of State, Treasurer and Governor of the State of California.
Folsom Lake State Recreation Area – East of Sacramento off Hwy 50. Located at the base of the Sierra foothills, the park offers hiking, biking, running, camping, picnicking, horseback riding, water-skiing, boating and fishing.