Calaveras Fall Vacation Itineraries

Calaveras County fall itineraries
Here we offer 3 itineraries for fall in Calaveras County. Use these links to view each or scroll down: Unwind, indulge…or both | Easy exploring: Catch the highlights | Go for it! Active adventures.

Unwind, indulge…or both

Ayrael Vieux Vineyard

Ayrael Vieux Vineyard | Photo: Calaveras Winegrape Alliance

Go out for a leisurely breakfast at Grounds. Forget about calorie-counting and order the French Toast with hand-sliced sourdough or the Fresh Tomato and Basil Scramble. But if it’s Sunday, don’t miss the Eggs Benedict special. Get there early like the locals and you’ll be guaranteed a spot.

It’s harvest time and the smell of grapes is in the air. Arrange transportation with Courtwood Wine Tours so you can safely visit some of the working wineries in the area like Chatom and Twisted Oak, as well as taste at gems on the outskirts like Irish Vineyards, Indian Rock and Ayrael Vieux. 

If you’d rather walk, plant yourself on Main Street Murphys where you can now find nearly two-dozen tasting rooms. Search out some of the area’s best varietals like Barbera, Zinfandel and Tempranillo or unique finds like Torrontes, Vermentino or Alicante Bouschet.

Need a break from tasting? Stroll the shops. Hunt down exotic spices for your next dinner party at The Spice Tin, try local olive oil at Marisolio Tasting Bar or find thoughtful gifts for your gourmet at Creative Cookware.

Today is all about being a foodie. Make a reservation for dinner at V Restaurant where you can spend the evening sharing small plates with friends or diving into divine seafood and meat entrees. The cocktails are pretty amazing too.

Area Lodging: Cozy up at the historic Dunbar House (every room has a fireplace), grab a cottage at La Honda Park, or stay right in the middle of historic downtown at the Victoria Inn.

Have more time in the area? Here are a few other suggestions…

See a show at Black Bart. Yes, there is live theater in Calaveras! Throughout the year Murphys Creek Theatre troupe performs their take on the classics, as well as some hilariously-named shows well worth three hours of your time, at the Black Bart Theatre.

Find wine off the beaten path. If you see the wine tasting sign in Douglas Flat that looks like it will take you to nowhere, follow it. You’ll be pleasantly surprised when you arrive at the intimate winery and tasting room for Ayrael Vieux a half mile down the road. Bonus: You also get to try the winemaker’s personal label, Boyle MacDonald.


Easy exploring: Catch the highlights

Hotel Leger Saloon

Hotel Léger’s Saloon | Photo: Rick E. Martin

Eat with the locals at Country Cliff’s in San Andreas. For under $10 this charming diner will deliver a breakfast that fills you up. Don’t eat too much though because you might have to crawl through some small spaces in a bit.

The incredible 300-mile Mokelumne Coast to Crest Trail goes right through Calaveras. Still in the process of being completed, you can hop on the 1.6 (out and back) portion alongside the Mokelumne River known as the James Bar Trail.

See for yourself if there are really ghosts at Hotel Léger. Grab a local glass of wine or a cocktail at their charming 1800s saloon while you wait for a “sighting” of old George Leger. Ghost hunting kits are loaned out from the front desk. Do you dare? Finally, enjoy a sumptuous meal at the Whitewater Grill & Saloon right here at the Léger before turning in for the night.

Area Lodging: Step back in time at the historic Hotel Leger, or unwind at the charming Robin’s Nest Bed & Breakfast.

Have more time in the area? Here are a few other suggestions…

Warm up at The Red Apple. If the apple-shaped open sign is out, stop by this local gem for the perfect fall day treats like hot apple cider, apple pie or one of their locally famous homemade apple donuts covered in sugar.

Drive the Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway. Before the snow comes and the road closes for the season at Lake Alpine, enjoy the fall colors on the scenic stretch of road between Arnold and Markleeville.

Be a lumberjack for a day. Or just watch others show off their log rolling and saw skills at West Point’s Lumberjack Day held annually the first Saturday in October. Your other chance to practice honing your axe throwing skills is at the Sierra Nevada Logging Jamboree (Labor Day weekend).

Make wine with your feet. Grab a partner and celebrate harvest by dressing up in your best costume and entering the Calaveras Grape Stomp competition. At this off the wall annual event held in Murphys, teams of two try their hand at crushing grapes the old-fashioned way…with their feet. Collect the most juice for a chance to win cash and prizes.


Go for it! Active adventures

California Cavern's Middle Earth Expedition | Photo: Dave Bunnell.

California Cavern’s Middle Earth Expedition | Photo: Dave Bunnell.

Fuel up with a coffee and a breakfast burrito from the Angels Camp Mercantile in the historic 1889 general store building in Angels Camp.

Head out to Glory Hole Recreation Area at New Melones Reservoir where approximately 20 miles of single-track mountain bike riding awaits. Park at the lower trailhead to access the Carson Creek Trail and the challenging Tower Climb. Not into riding? This trail system is also great for hiking and trail running, but heads up for the mountain bikers who can sneak up on you quickly.

For lunch, make a pit stop at Glory Hole Sports, which has a full deli and is rumored to have the best tri-tip sandwich in the county.

Spend the afternoon squeezing, crawling and spelunking through California Cavern in Mountain Ranch. Sign up for the 1-mile Middle Earth Expedition for the most exhilarating way to explore the cave’s various chambers. Be prepared for nearly knee-deep mud, tight spaces and rafting down below. Yup, “Tom’s Lake” needs to be crossed in a boat. Reservations required in advance.

After this action-packed day, kick back at the Burger Bar in Angels Camp for a wide variety of great burgers and old-fashioned milkshakes. Finish up at Greenhorn Creek’s Cellar Room to taste wines from 13 Calaveras wineries.

Area Lodging: Sleep under the starts at one of New Melones Reservoir’s campsites, get the best bang for your buck at the Gold Country Inn, or enjoy mom and pop hospitality at the Jumping Frog Motel.

Have more time in the area? Here are a few other suggestions…

Cycle Copperopolis. Make a loop around Salt Spring Reservoir for rolling hills, soothing scenery and little to no traffic. Start on Rock Creek Rd. in Copperopolis and loop right at Milton Rd. for a 30-mile ride. The country roads can be rough, so plan accordingly when road biking.

Go geocaching. Spend the day with your GPS in hand and you could find hundreds of treasures within a short drive from Calaveras (33 within a one-mile radius of the town of Altaville).

Eat at Mike’s Pizza. With favorites like the BBQ Chicken and Creamy Garlic Pizza, this classic pizza parlor will win you over as much as it does the locals.

Share this: