Lakes Basin Ridge Trail in Sierra County

Lakes Basin Ridge Trail

Sierra City, California

Once you get up on this ridge, you'll experience little elevation change on this 12-mile trail with stellar views of the entire Lakes Basin area.  Hiking even a few miles of the Ridge Trail and coming back is worth the effort, as the views look very different in each direction. Many options (including beautiful Deer Lake) are possible with a two-vehicle shuttle. 

Getting there: From Highway 49 between five miles east of Sierra City, turn north onto Gold Lake Highway at Bassetts Station. Turn left at Sardine Lake Road (1.4 miles) and, after a short distance, cross the Salmon Creek Bridge.  Continue .3 miles and turn right onto Packer Lake Road. Continue 2.5 miles, following signs for the Pacific Crest Trail,  to the trailhead and parking area at Packsaddle camping area. . 

Downieville, California <br/> Photo Credit: @bernies_best
Downieville, California
Photo Credit: @bernies_best
Historic Highway 49 in the north starts in the Sierra County town of Vinton and winds south through a mountainous region where the rivers still run free. Even during the summer high season, this county of fewer than 4,000 souls is off the beaten track for most visitors. In fall, it can feel like your own private realm. Set up basecamp in Downieville, a Gold-Rush town on the Yuba River, and prepare to be charmed. more »
Dog in the water
Even during the summer high season, Sierra County, home to fewer than 4,000 souls, is off the beaten track for most Northern California travelers. In fall, it can feel like your own private realm. Pack a suitcase, pop Max and Moxie into the car and embark on a 170-mile loop trip along the Yuba-Donner Scenic Byway to explore this rugged, less-visited part of Gold Country.

The first part of the route springs north from Interstate 80 to follow Highway 49  through Grass Valley and Nevada City. From there it charts a winding, 44-mile course to Downieville, one of the hands-down most charming, history-steeped  towns in the Mother Lode. The rushing North Yuba River is scenic centerpiece for pet-friendly lodging at places including Sierra Streamside Cabins, the Lure Resort, Riverside Inn and Downieville Loftmore »
Barn in Hope Valley
If you’re not already packed up and headed for the hills, get moving! The first week of October is prime time for fall foliage in the upper elevations of Gold Country, and right now extensive stands of quaking aspen in Hope Valley, Donner Lake and elsewhere in the Lake Tahoe basin are dressed in their autumn best. The Highway 88/Carson Pass corridor, with its string of silvery lakes tucked into a rugged mountain landscape, is a favorite haunt of hikers and photographers, many of whom hang their hats at Sorensen's Resort, where dogs are welcome in the cozy cabins at no extra charge. more »
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