By Michelle Romano
I’m a sucker for the road less traveled, and it just so happens I’m also completely in love with Placer County.
This off the beaten path itinerary, for a Foresthill weekend getaway, is sure to give you a taste of the natural beauty and quaint small town vibes that Placer County is filled with!
My newest Placer County discovery is the charming little town of Foresthill. Like the name suggests, you will find Foresthill nestled in the trees right on the edge of the Tahoe National Forest. The quaint appeal of the town itself is only part of why I recommend it, the fact that its centrally located to a lot of outdoor adventure makes it a must visit for a weekend getaway or a semi-local staycation.
Foresthill became a town in 1850 because of gold mining operations along the American river, so the perfect way to enjoy a weekend there would be to book yourself into one of the adorable nostalgic Miner’s Camp cabins. They have 17 different cabins to choose from; all varying in theme and accommodation size. They sleep anywhere from 1-6 people depending. They are also pet friendly, which is a major plus!
Check-in for the cabins isn’t until 3, so I suggest you get to town early enough for breakfast and a caffeine fix before heading out to see what the area has to offer.
Mega’s is your place if you’re looking for a quaint sit down breakfast spot, or if you’re ready to hit the trails right away, head to Worton’s Market for a to-go breakfast with a view, and grab another sandwich for the trail. You can also stock up on waters and snacks, as well as supplies for the cabin.
Once your stomach (and backpack) are full, it’s time to find some adventure! If river rafting is your thing, check out All-Outdoors California Whitewater Rafting with access to all three forks of the American River, you’ll be able to find a Whitewater adventure for your particular skill level! You will definitely want to book in advance and check the availability of their excursions.
If you’re a motorcycle enthusiast, the ride along the mountain on Mosquito Ridge Road is one you won’t want to miss. With beautiful landscapes and twisty turns, this road isn’t likely to disappoint.
This same road will also take you to Big Trees Grove, a scientific anomaly where you can find 6 giant Sequoia trees. Big Trees Grove is the northernmost range of the Giant Sequoia Redwoods and is about an hour from town, along the incredible aforementioned Mosquito Ridge Road; the parking lot for this hidden gem can be found here.
This little known area is definitely off the beaten path and is host to two trails, and tons of peace and quiet. The Big Trees Trail is only a ½ mile loop, while The Forest View Trail is a 1.6 mile loop. Both trails will take you through the grove, and though the trail is open year round it’s only maintained from May – Nov. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit in the off season, just make sure to bring some sturdy (and possibly snow suitable) hiking boots, as you may have to “off road” a bit.
Once you’re done exploring the grove, you can either head back to town for lunch – across the street from the cabins is Brewmasters, which the locals swear by, and is perfect for a casual lunch – or if you’ve stocked up on sandwiches and snacks you can head about 30 min back the way you came and pick up the North Fork of Middle Fork Trail, which is a 2.1 mile out and back moderate trail that has lots of wildflowers and a swimming hole or two for you to discover.
I definitely recommend bug spray (specifically mosquito spray) for both spots!
If you opt not to go on the second hike, after lunch spend some time exploring the little town of Foresthill. There is a city park filled with beautiful trees and a little outdoor mining museum showing off Foresthill’s heritage.
For dinner, if you didn’t already check out Brewmasters you can head there and have a relaxed meal on the patio, or you can head over to Maker’s Mountain Eatery, which boasts 34 different tap beers and showcases local wines.
For day two, if you haven’t scheduled a rafting trip, pack up a picnic lunch and take the 45 min drive out to Sugar Pine Reservoir, in the Tahoe National Forest. This is a perfect spot for kayaking because of the calmness of the water and the peacefulness of the surroundings. This also makes it a great place to fish and swim. There is a designated swimming bench on the north shore by Giant Gap campground.
There is also a beautiful, dog friendly, trail that takes you around the reservoir. This 4 mile loop can also be enjoyed on bikes. This trail is super easy and is even considered wheelchair and stroller accessible!
While the lake will be busiest in the summer, it’s gorgeous year round and is the perfect place to submerge yourself in the natural beauty of Placer County.
I never cease to be amazed at the beauty of this area, and find it to be the perfect place to find those less traveled roads and off the beaten path adventures. This weekend getaway is sure to leave you craving more of what Placer County has to offer!