Take a Spectacular Autumn Drive to There and Back, Starting at American River Resort
Autumn and early winter find the Sierra Foothills and upper mountain reaches clothed in spectacular glory! During your stay at American River Resort, plan a drive to experience the natural wonderland that surrounds you.
Here are three easy drives we recommend.
With dramatic views at every time of year, the drive east along Hwy 50 to Lake Tahoe is particularly stunning during autumn and early winter. When heavy snows arrive, crews keep the pass clear, but chains are required from time to time, so check road conditions beforehand.
Your drive takes you from the foothills of the Sierra Nevada through the American River Canyon, over the granite peaks of Echo Summit and descends into the Tahoe Basin with spectacular views of Lake Tahoe.The beautiful, sapphire-blue waters of the lake rest at 6,225 feet elevation with surrounding peaks towering over 10,000 feet. This world-renowned clear water lake has been designated an Outstanding Natural Resources Water.
From American River Resort, drive north on Hwy 49 and discover classic foothills and Gold Rush views on your way to historic Grass Valley.
Winding through pastoral valleys, around twisting canyon-hugging roads, this is the route the gold miners used after gold was discovered at Coloma. You will drive along canyon roads that explode into fantastic open views of the canyon, glimpses of the American River and hills on the other side of the canyon. Digger pines, black oaks, old cabins, piles of rocks and signs to still-existing mines will greet you all along the way. Exploring Grass Valley is an added bonus after a stunning drive.
Nestled in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Foothills, Grass Valley, California is truly a postcard-image town.
You could take Hwy 50 east to the Sly Park/Pollock Pines exit and drive south to Sly Park and beautiful Jenkinson Lake. But why take the quick way when the scenic route is so…well, scenic?
First, take Hwy 49 south to Diamond Springs and turn left onto Pleasant Valley Road. Follow it to the quaint little town of Pleasant Valley and turn left again onto Sly Park Road. It will take you the rest of the way to Jenkinson Lake.
This drives takes you from 2,000 foot elevations up to 5,500 as you pass through oak woodlands, mixed conifer forests, and past steep slopes and rocky outcrops. Jenkinson Lake is picturesque, tucked deep into the forested hills. We suggest you take a picnic…and the short route on Hwy 50 back to American River Resort.