As you go in search of authentic travel experiences this summer, Calaveras County should be at the top of your list of places to visit. With a hearty mix of the great outdoors and a local food scene, rich history and homegrown entertainment, Calaveras is a prime example of why the Sierra Nevada region has earned a spot on National Geographic’s roster of the top sustainable tourism destinations.
Let’s Eat – For farm to table cuisine, make a point to visit Outer Aisle Foods in Murphys and Arnold Pantry in Arnold. The good folks at Outer Aisle have been growing produce in Murphys for 20 years and now have a restaurant to showcase all that‘s fresh, local and organic in the region – not to mention a great selection of craft beer and wine. Meanwhile, Arnold Pantry has built a following with its well crafted barbecue featuring locally raised meats, and generous breakfasts. They also retail fresh produce and seasonal delights from local forest foragers.
If you’re heading into the area on a Friday, time your arrival for early evening at the Angels Camp Farmers Market, where you can provision for the weekend with locally grown products and sample the rotating selections of Calaveras wines and live music. Several other restaurants, including the Murphys Hotel and CAMPS at Greenhorn Creek, also offer locally raised beef on their menus.
Across the county, there are new eateries to check out – we recently featured them here – many of which are run by young entrepreneurs who have fallen in love with Calaveras and all it has to offer!
The Learning Experience – try out some of these interactive ways to connect with the region’s history.
Tour the Angels Camp Museum’s collection of stagecoaches, scale models of gold mines and railroads, then head over to Gold Rush Originals to try your luck panning for gold in the creeks near downtown Angels Camp.
Camp out among the ancient giant sequoias at Calaveras Big Trees State Park, making sure to explore the interactive wildlife exhibits and documentaries inside the park’s visitor center, then venture out to one of the park’s hiking trails through the towering trees.
Calaveras’ timber industry is on display at the Sierra Nevada Logging Museum at White Pines Lake. Check out the amazing woodwork and model replicas of lumber mills and logging camps. If you time your visit with Labor Day Weekend, you can also enter the axe throwing and log sawing competitions at the annual Logging Jamboree!
Explore the High Country – Granite basins dotted with lakes, volcanic peaks and red fir forests await in the Stanislaus National Forest and surrounding wilderness areas. The Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway on Highway 4 is your gateway to get there.
Rent kayaks and stand up paddleboards from Bear Valley Adventure Company in Bear Valley or Sierra Nevada Adventure Company in Arnold, where you’ll also find gear for camping and hiking on the Arnold Rim Trail. Remember to check in with the local ranger district in Hathaway Pines for info on specific areas you wish to visit. There are some campgrounds where you will need to bring your own water, and wherever you go, follow the best practices of Leave No Trace:
- Camp in established campsites on durable surfaces and use preexisting fire rings
- Consider purchasing local firewood – available at most area gas stations and convenience stores – rather than bringing your own, imported firewood is a common vehicle for importing invasive insects
- If you plan on hiking into areas without trash service, be prepared to carry out all that you carry in!
Wherever you decide to recreate this summer, hashtag your instagram photos #lovingcalaveras @gocalaveras for a chance to be featured on our Instagram feed.