Trip Time: One Week
California’s Gold Country and its surrounding environs offer a cornucopia of winter (and spring) charms, from the simple pleasure of a fine glass of Chardonnay on a crisp Nevada City evening, to world-class skiing at Lake Tahoe. From Sacramento, head west on Interstate 80. Stock up in Auburn at Ikedas , with a hot slice of one of their deservedly famous homemade pies.
Unpack your bags at the Holbrooke Hotel in Grass Valley, a historic inn flush with Gold Rush ambience. Take a short drive to Nevada City to sample the soigné grazing menu and wines at Citronée Bistro and Wine Bar .
Continue along State 49. Explore South Yuba River State Park , meandering along a 20-mile stretch of its namesake river. Enjoy another ruminative ramble in Downieville; a short stroll from downtown takes you to Pauley Creek Falls .
Fall asleep to the bubbling of the Yuba River at the Lure Resort , located just outside Downieville.
Finish with the piece de resistance, sampling some of California’s best skiing at Lake Tahoe. Heavenly Mountain Resort , with some of the steepest slopes in the Sierras, is a fine place to start.