Upper Sardine Lake
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Camping, hiking, fishing, boating, cycling and snow!
Everything for your visit. Lodging, dining, supplies . . .

Welcome to Sierra City!
High in the majestic Sierra Nevada mountains, nature used the wild waters of the North Yuba river to carve our little townsite, a natural observation deck for the mighty Sierra Buttes, gateway to the magnificent lakes basin and a refreshing portal on the famous Pacific Crest Trail. Here, hikers, cyclists, anglers and boaters have a world of choices for adventure and challenge. Lodging and dining are sumptuous in the pine air, which makes food taste better and sound sleep natural. Your soul is restored.

At a glance . . .
Our little mountain village is located in northern California on the spine of the Sierras. It is only an hour and a half from Reno (west), Lake Tahoe (north), about two and a half hours north of Sacramento, and four hours northeast of San Francisco.

We're bordered on the south by the North Yuba River, and on the north by the craggy Sierra Buttes that rise 4,000 feet above Main Street. We are completely inside the beautiful Tahoe National Forest.

The climate is gentle here. The mountains protect us from the bitter cold winds that sweep down from Donner Pass, and insulate us from the blasts of summer heat from the Sacramento valley. Average temperatures range from summer's mid 80s to the high 20s in the winter.

Getting here . . .
Sierra City is on Highway 49 along the Yuba-Donner Scenic Byway. This beautiful 160-mile loop connects portions of Interstate 80 (the main freeway between San Francisco and Reno) and state highways 49 and 89. The Yuba-Donner Scenic Byway has two routes from I 80 to Sierra City: the Rivers Route through Auburn on the west and the Summits Route through Truckee on the east.

Rivers route:
From Interstate 80 turn north at Auburn on Highway 49. This road leads you through the upper end of the historic California Gold Country through Grass Valley and Nevada City. Thirteen miles west of Nevada City, Highway 49 loops across the rocky chasm of the South Yuba River. As the highway winds its way up again through the mountainous terrain toward the placid Middle Yuba River, you can see mighty conifers begin mixing with the oak and dogwood trees. The road then descends, curving gracefully along the edges of a thickly forested canyon and crossing the turbulent North Yuba River. Passing through the charming town of Downieville, Highway 49 climbs up the North Yuba River canyon to Sierra City.

Summits route:
Interstate 80 sweeps you up and over Donner Summit. In 1846, this was the site of the infamous Donner Party snow tragedy, but today as you travel along the tops of these mountain ridges, you're hardly aware that you're climbing 7,000 feet. The views of the Sierra mountains from this road are magnificent -- and lots of pulloffs are available. At Truckee, turn north toward Sierraville on Highway 89. Follow it across the fertile Sierra Valley to Sattley, then turn west on Highway 49 and head up the mountain. This road climbs steadily up and over Yuba Pass, then gradually curves around and catches the panoramic expanse of the towering Sierra Buttes at Bassett's Station, only five miles above Sierra City.

Be sure to look at the maps on this site.

For more information about the Yuba-Donner Scenic Byway or maps, phone: Sierra County Chamber of Commerce, 1-800-200-4949; Nevada City Chamber of Commerce, 1-800-655-6569; Truckee-Donner Chamber of Commerce, 530-587-2757

Things to do . . .
Sierra City is an ideal base for lovers of the outdoors. It is only minutes away from the Sierra Buttes and the Lakes Basin. Here you'll find wonderful year-around recreation: fishing, hiking, boating, rafting, mountain biking, skiing, kayaking, snowmobiling, bird watching, and there's lots of wildlife to see!

More than 45 picturesque lakes are in the Lakes Basin within a half-hour drive from Sierra City. The lakes -- large rock bowls -- were created by glaciers; they fill with melting snow and are kept fresh by natural springs. The lakes host a range of fine trout: Eastern Brook, Mountain Brook, German and Rainbow.

Hikers have immediate access to the magnificent Pacific Crest Trail as well as many other challenging trails and climbs. All trails are well-marked and maintained by the U.S. Forest Service. Local businesses have maps and supplies.

The North Yuba River offers wily challenges to the experienced fly fishing enthusiast. And its 18 miles of Class 5 (experts only) whitewater beckon the experienced kayaker in the spring.

Abundant winter snowfall turns nearby mountain roads into adventurous snowmobile trails. And cross-country skiers can break tracks through the high-country meadows.

For more information about adventuring, call: Bassett's Station, 530-862-1297; Tom's Snowmobile Country, 530-862-1128; Coyote Adventure Company, 530-265-6909; Downieville Outfitters, 530-289-0155; Sierra County Chamber of Commerce, 800-200-4949; Tahoe National Forest Downieville Ranger District, 530-288-3231

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