Hotel At a Glance: Harmony Ridge Lodge
Set right inside the Tahoe National Forest, Harmony Ridge Lodge is a newly built bed and breakfast that serves as a comfy jumping-off point for anyone exploring the mountain scenery of California's Gold Country. This wooden inn is set on five acres of private property in a rustic mountain setting and has sweeping views of the forest. It's fairly secluded and has just eight contemporary luxury rooms.
- Direct access to trails: Take off on any of more than a dozen hiking, walking, or mountain biking trails through Tahoe National Forest, including the popular Pioneer Trail and the South Yuba trail
- Landscaped gardens onsite: Wander the extensive gardens on the grounds, or enjoy a cup of coffee in the apple orchard, which has tables and chairs
- Lodge solitude: With no phones or TVs in the rooms, you can take a book from the stocked library and read in the spacious great room amid exposed wooden beams, cedar paneling, and cushy furnishings.
- Easy day trip: Nearby is the historic Nevada City, which has local restaurants, galleries, and antique shops
- Don't miss out on: swimming and fishing at South Yuba State Park, with its hiking trails and kayaking spots
- Bring Fido: This is a dog-friendly lodge—pups can run around in three-and-a-half enclosed acres of pine forest, and dog-friendly beaches are close by. Guests should call ahead to check the availability of dog-friendly rooms.
Nevada City, CA: On the Edge of the Tahoe National Forest
The natural barrier separating Reno from Sacramento, Tahoe National Forest has towering mountains, rivers, and forests stretching over more than 850,000 acres. It has hundreds of lakes and reservoirs, making it a popular spot for swimming and camping, and in the fall, the forest changes from green to red and gold. It's also a good spot for a day trip and picnic if you're looking to get out into nature but stay close to Nevada City, the unofficial headquarters for Tahoe National Forest. The city is located just five miles from Harmony Ridge Lodge.
Nevada City was settled during the California Gold Rush of 1849, and it's lined with original 19th-century buildings (the entire downtown is on the National Register of Historical Places). Check out a show at the circa-1865 Nevada Theater, which holds ongoing independent film screenings and live theater productions. Guests can also visit one of the many restaurants, stroll around town on a walking tour of Nevada City or Grass Valley, or check out one of the many street and music festivals that take place every year.
While you're downtown, make sure to stop in at The Historic Firehouse No. 1 Museum. The old fire station is now a site for exhibits on the town's history, with photographs, historic clothing, and even relics from the ill-fated Donner Party expedition.