Cassius hiking in Nevada County. Photo: C. Hardesty
California’s dog-friendly Gold Country spans the western slope of the Sierra Nevada, covering diverse landscapes ranging from just above sea level to the mountains’ crest. View our interactive map to get the lay of the land, and consider these quick suggestions for spring travel.
Nevada County: Explore the Gold Rush heritage of Grass Valley and Nevada City and hike the scenic Independence Trail, constructed from remnants of 19th-century mining flumes.
Placer County: Enjoy exceptional weather and beat the summer crowds during a day spent wine tasting on the Placer County Wine Trail. Most wineries are north of Interstate 80 near Auburn.
El Dorado County: Head up to Tahoe to enjoy low-season hotel rates and hiking in scenic areas usually under snow at this time of year.
Amador County: Find a sense of adventure exploring the many “blue highways” and historic, dog-friendly towns—Plymouth, Ione, Sutter Creek, Jackson,Volcano, Amador City—dotting this rugged and largely rural county. Along the way, you can “sin with zin” at more than a dozen dog-friendly wineries.
Folsom: There is a lot to enjoy in Folsom’s revitalized historic district, but the real attraction is water: Folsom Lake State Recreation Area, Lake Natoma and the American River Parkway are all right here.
Calaveras County: Head to hip and happening Murphys for laid-back wine tasting along Main Street and easy reservations at dog-friendly restaurants that are jammed in summertime.
Tuolumne County: Grab the kids and the dog and spend a weekend exploring Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown and nearby Columbia State Historic Park. Living history is the lure—and yes, Spot can join you on a train ride.
Mariposa County: Waterfalls are gushing now but won’t be for long at Yosemite National Park. Travel Highway 140 to the Arch Rock entrance and plan on lots of sightseeing along the way.