48 Hours in Nevada City, CA
Updated: Sep 19
Hi hi hi hi hi! It's been a while since I've posted (about 5 months to be exact), but I'm back and hope to post more consistently from here on out. I'll spare you the life updates and get right into it!
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Cabin by the Creek
We recently stayed at a hidden gem of a Hipcamp in Nevada City, CA. The cabin is a converted garden shed with huge windows that overlook the creek and garden, private outdoor space, and direct access to the creek.
Hipcamp Rating: 100%
My Rating: 99% because I don't want this place to get too popular and have it be impossible to book.
Quick Facts about the property:
Location: Nevada City, CA—the CUTEST town there ever was. About 2.5 - 3 hours from the Bay Area, ~1hr15min to Sacramento, ~1hr15min to Lake Tahoe.
Studio cabin with a fold-out very comfortable full-sized sofa bed (plenty of room for 2).
The converted garden shed is located directly behind the owner's property on a sprawling private garden. Though the owner lives close by, it still feels very private.
Private access to a patio in the terraced garden and private creek access.
Outdoor shower that feels INCREDIBLE especially on hot days.
Literally a 2-minute walk to downtown Nevada City, and yet you feel like you're in the forest.
Sink, mini-fridge, potable water, fan, and power outlets all provided.
We slept with the huge windows wide open and had zero issues with bugs, even on a 100-degree day. It cools down to a comfortable temperature at night, and we woke up both mornings to the sound of the rushing creek.
What to do in Nevada City, CA
I hadn't heard much about Nevada City and I have no idea why. It is a charming town in the Sierra foothills that truly feels like a movie set. There are a few main streets lined with old-timey saloons, hip breweries, coffee shops, and boutiques. There was live music in the square every night and the majority of folks in the town seemed to be visitors. The locals were incredibly kind and NOT the scary racist/Trump-supporting kind you can sometimes find in these tiny rural towns (sorry to generalize, but it's true!!) The visitors were also from all walks of life, and we felt very comfortable, safe, and welcome.
Where to eat:
Three Forks Brewing for beer, pizza, delicious pastries, and coffee. Closes at 8PM.
Heartwood Eatery for coffee, avo toast, healthy lunch bowls, and more. (Sidenote: if you're lactose sensitive, avoid the chocolate brownie cookie. It's delicious but probably not worth the discomfort).
Java Johns for breakfast & coffee. Their bagel sandwich was delicious—I found out later the bagels were from Safeway but you could've fooled me cause they were unreal. We also bought a cute Nevada City handmade ceramic mug from them!
One11 for dinner & patio drinks.
Fudenjuce for post-hike smoothies, wraps, sandwiches, and more. This is the only spot that's not walking distance from Nevada City—we stopped on our back from the Yuba River and it was phenomenal.
Where to drink:
One11 again—big outdoor patio with live music in the evenings, delicious drink menu, and good vibes.
Nevada City Winery—we didn't get a chance to go but walked by a million times and it looked amazing.
Golden Era for cocktails. Again, didn't get a chance to go, but recommend by our host.
Three Forks Brewing for craft beers.
Where to hike:
There were miles of hiking trails right out our front door at the cabin. We did a short hike but caught glimpses of the trailheads of a few others, and I don't think you can make a bad choice when it comes to hiking in this area.
Short hike (1.8 miles): Downtown Nevada City to Nisenan (Anqkula Seo) Tribute Bridge (out&back). This hike is pretty easy and not super eventful until you reach the Deer Creek trailhead. It's a nice private stroll through the back roads of Nevada City and into the forest by the creek. Once you reach the suspension bridge, you can choose to go across and continue hiking, head down to the creek to swim in the swimming holes, or turn back. This hike is worth it for the bridge—it's very unique and beautiful
Short to Medium hike (3.2 miles or more): Deer Creek Tribute Trial. This trail consists of part of the above-mentioned trail to the bridge, however, there are a few different routes you can take to lengthen the trip, go deeper into the woods, and explore more of the creek. Bring water—it gets VERY hot.
Medium hike (~7+miles): Scotts Flat Trail. This one's about a 20 minute drive from downtown Nevada City.
All the hikes: Tahoe National Forest. Nevada City is right on the outskirts of Tahoe National Forest and is a great jumping-off point for longer, more strenuous hikes in the area.
Where to swim:
Deer Creek - accessible directly via the Hipcamp property above, from the Deer Creek Tribute Trail, Miners Trail, and anywhere you can find access from downtown Nevada City.
Hoyt's Crossing at the Yuba River
This was my first time to the Yuba River so admittedly I'm not the expert on the place. There are several swimming holes at the Yuba that can be accessed from different points. This blog post is a great resource for finding the best spot for you.
Hoyt's Crossing is can be accessed from the trailhead at Highway 49 Bridge at South Yuba River. You can choose to climb down right at the bridge where you'll find many swimming holes, or walk on the Hoyt Trail to find somewhere further down the river. There are several access points along the trail where you can climb down and swim, or you can take the trail the whole way to Hoyt's Crossing.
It's about .8 miles there (took us about 20 minutes due to the heat), and a bit hilly. Hoyt's Crossing is more than worth the sweat. There are a few main swimming holes with crystal clear water, and of course a clothing optional area. There's something for everyone—rocks to sunbathe on (naked, if you wish), a sandy patch of beach to lay on, small swimming holes, big swimming holes, water to play in, water to float in, water to lay in. It's heaven. Just make sure you protect your food cause the squirrels are absolutely ruthless.