Best Ways to Spend Your Time in Placer County, California

Northern California offers a different environment than the typical image one has of California. While Southern California is known for rolling beaches and crowded cities, Northern California has a more diverse landscape with some incredible natural scenery. Few places typify the unique beauty of Northern California more than Placer County, a stunning stretch of land that runs from just outside Sacramento to the Nevada border.

Placer County is roughly 1,400-square-miles of land that is often described as a continent within a county due to the wide range of geography that can be discovered in this relatively small area. Placer County includes some of the most picturesque natural landscapes in all of California. While Placer County isn’t coastal, it does include California’s best-known lake, Lake Tahoe, and has beautiful mountains, forests, and towns.

If you’re looking to vacation somewhere less crowded than the biggest California cities, with tons of stunning natural environments and great food and drink, you can’t go wrong with Placer County. But with thousands of square miles, narrowing down the must-visit spots isn’t easy. Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with some of the best ways to spend your time in Placer County, California.

Hit the Slopes in Olympic Valley

Also known as Squaw Valley, Olympic Valley was the site of the 1960 Olympic Games. It is an iconic mountainous stretch right near Tahoe with some of the best skiing in the United States. The primary destination in Olympic Valley is Palisades Tahoe, a historic ski resort where the games took place, which has been running since the 1940s.

Palisades Tahoe is a stunning resort town at the foot of two different mountains. The resort has 34 lifts and 6,000 skiable acres that accommodate skiers of all skill levels. The ski season lasts long in Tahoe, with winter at the Palisades running from November to May. With a peak elevation of 9,050 feet above sea level, these mountains are gigantic but accessible.

Regardless of what you’re looking for, chances are Palisades Tahoe has it. They have 170+ trails, with 25% for beginners, 45% for intermediate skiers, and 30% for advanced skiers. They also have 16 bowls for the skiers looking to defy gravity.

Palisades Tahoe is a dream ski getaway with great lodging choices, a ton of high-quality dining and après ski venues, and trendy shops. Live the Olympic dream at Palisades Tahoe.

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Explore the Placer Wine and Ale Trail

If there is one thing that Northern California is known for, it might be the incredible drinks that are created within the region. Very few places on the planet can match the wine and craft beers created in Northern California, particularly in the Napa Valley and Sonoma areas. But just because those regions attract the biggest spotlight doesn’t mean Placer County doesn’t have much to offer in this area.

Placer County has a well-known farm to fork scene, complete with authentic small family wineries and breweries. If you want to explore the region’s unique food and drink culture, take a trip down the Placer Wine and Ale Trail. This is the perfect way to familiarize yourself with some of the best drinks and eats Placer County has to offer.

Along this trail, you’ll find numerous delicious eateries, but the main appeal is the 23 boutique wineries, 15 craft breweries, and the craft distillery that operate within this small stretch of land. A trip down this trail allows you to see many of the different towns and landscapes in Placer County while enjoying the incredible food and drink on offer.

Image source: Bonitata Boutique Wine

Experience the Adventure of the Northern California Wilderness

Arguably the biggest driver of the appeal of Placer County is the stunning nature. While we discussed the mountains, the forests and waters near Lake Tahoe provide the perfect setting for an outdoor adventurer. With Tahoe National Forest and the Auburn State Recreation Area, some of the most picturesque landscapes in California await you.

There is much to do in these areas for those brave enough to head out and explore them. Eye-catching canyons and meadowlands provide unique backdrops, with lush green forests offering incredible hiking opportunities. Over 40 trails in these areas can be explored by foot, bike, or even horseback, and numerous guided tours are offered in the area.

There is also abundant freshwater that is great for whitewater rafting or kayaking, and the Northern California clear waters are a fisherman’s dream. Placer County is the perfect place to explore with families, friends, or alone with an incredible natural landscape filled with different environments. In this Northern California County, outdoor adventure awaits.