Explore mining history and the outdoors near this Northern California Gold Country town.
In California’s Sierra Nevada foothills, Grass Valley was once the “Gold Capital of America.” Campers rarely want to miss exploring the area’s rich mining history at the Empire Mine State Historic Park or stopping into the historic downtown (or that of nearby Nevada City). Outside of downtown, Grass Valley offers easy access to incredible outdoor recreation, with the Tahoe National Forest, numerous lakes, and the Yuba and American rivers nearby. Grass Valley camping options are plentiful, and include everything from RV parks and private campgrounds to forest service, riverside, and lakeside campsites.
Campers can park their RV at the Nevada County Fairgrounds, which offers partial and full hookups, or head a bit outside of town for tent and RV camping near the fishing and water sports found at Englebright Lake. Rollins Reservoir, Scotts Flat Lake Recreation Area, and Collins Lake Recreation Area. New Bullards Bar Reservoir offers tent, RV, and boat-in camping options, and for more mining history and camping, head to Malakoff Diggins State Park.
Head south to the Auburn State Recreation Area for camping, hiking, and water sports along the North and Middle Fork of the American River. Near Sacramento, several campgrounds can be found around Folsom Lake and Lake Natoma, as well as further south near the Sacramento River at Sandy Beach Regional Park and Brannan Island State Recreation Area. More water fun and camping can be found further south near Jackson, around Lake Amador, Camanche Lake, and New Hogan Lake.
Within two hours of Grass Valley are a large number of campgrounds in the Tahoe National Forest. Find options along the Yuba River, the American River, and along the Lakes Basin Recreation Area. A string of lakes and campsites can be found along Highway 80 and in Truckee, and further east, several lakeside campsites sit on the northwest shore of Lake Tahoe.
Summer is the most popular season for time outdoors in Grass Valley, especially when it comes to water sports and pleasant camping weather.water Many area campgrounds are only open seasonally and fill up early for the peak summer season. Lake fishing is usually open year-round, while streams are limited from April to November. Visit in spring for wildflowers, or in fall for colorful foliage. Winter weather can affect roads and recreation options.