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  • Writer's pictureGabriella Viola

10 Fun & Outdoorsy Things to do in Nevada City, California

Updated: May 23

Nevada City California Guide

Are you looking for some of the best things to do in Nevada City, California? You've come to the right place.

Located halfway between Sacramento and North Lake Tahoe, Nevada City is a picturesque mountain town in the Sierra Nevada Foothills of Northern California. It's known for its outdoor recreation, quirky shops and cafes, and rich history dating back to the California Gold Rush.

In this Nevada City Guide, I'm sharing 10 awesome things to do in Nevada City, California.


Explore Historic Downtown

Historic downtown Nevada City California
Downtown Nevada City, CA

Nevada City California

Nevada City California
Cute little crystal shop in downtown Nevada City

Nevada City's charming downtown is a mix of well-preserved historical landmarks, eclectic boutiques, cozy restaurants, and old-fashioned bars. The downtown area is relatively small, so it's easy to wander around and take in all the sites. For those interested in learning about Nevada City's history, they offer a downloadable walking tour map


Stroll the Victorian Homes

Victorian Home in Nevada City, California

Nevada City is home to some beautiful Victorian houses. It's fun to drive along the side streets near the downtown area and admire the remarkable design of the homes, some of which were owned by lumber barons and mine owners during the 1800s.


South Yuba River State Park

South Yuba River State Park, Nevada City California

Wildflowers along the Yuba River near Nevada City, California
Wildflowers along the Yuba River

South Yuba River State Park is home to scenic hiking trails, historic bridges, and the pristine Yuba River. In the springtime, there are tons of wildflowers along the riverbanks, and you may spot a few kayakers and whitewater rafters paddling by. When the water levels are lower in summer, the river is a great place to hang out and cool off on a hot summer day.


Buttermilk Bend Trail

Buttermilk Bend Trail in Nevada City California
Buttermilk Bend Trail in early May

Buttermilk Bend Trail in Nevada City California

Located in South Yuba River State Park, the Buttermilk Bend Trail is an easy-going, 2-mile out-and-back trail that takes you along the Yuba River. One of the best times to hike Buttermilk Bend is in the spring, when wildflowers, primarily poppies and lupines, dot the entire path. The trail starts from the Visitors Center of South Yuba River State Park.


River Rafting + Kayaking

white water rafting near nevada city california

Nevada City is within easy driving distance of the Yuba and American rivers. Both of which are known for their crystal clear water and big rapids in the spring. Several companies in the area offer whitewater rafting tours, including H2O Adventures and Tributary Whitewater Tours.


Crystal Hermitage

tulips in a botanical garden