Discover Calaveras: Valley Springs

Delicious food, gorgeous hiking and mountain biking trails, great golf courses (of all sorts) and other small-town surprises make Valley Springs worth the stop.

Valley Springs served as a stagecoach stop for gold seekers from Stockton heading to Jenny Lind, Paloma, and San Andreas to seek their fortunes. In 1885, the Sierra Nevada Railroad reached Valley Springs (you can still see the original station at the four corners), opening up the Gold Country and Calaveras County even more for visitors and fortune hunters. Rich in natural resources and known for outdoor adventure and beauty at the three surrounding reservoirs, Valley Springs sits right at the crossroads of Highways 12 & 26 as a gateway to western Calaveras County. If you enjoy bird and wildlife viewing, boating, fishing, and a variety of geographical features, think about pulling over to stretch your legs, grab a bite to eat, and maybe even stay the night.  Here are some great reasons why Valley Springs is worth the stop…

An Abundance of Trails – Hiking & Biking

New Hogan Lake, New Hogan Mountain Bike Trail, Mountain Bike, Mountain Biking,
Mountain Bike Trail at New Hogan Lake Valley Springs tri-lake area I Courtesy of Daniel Arbuckle

Especially nice in the winter and spring when the temps are mild and you want to get outside minus your snow gear, there is no shortage of hiking and mountain biking opportunities near Valley Springs.  Try the Mokelumne Coast to Crest Trail, the China Gulch Trail at Lake Camanche or “The River of Skulls” nature trail at New Hogan Reservoir located below the dam at the Monte Vista Recreation Area. Check out the intermediate Coyote Point Trail at New Hogan Reservoir at

An Abundance of Fish

Check out the other two reservoirs – Lake Camanche Resort  that includes a multi-award winning campground with year-round recreation and fishing, 54 miles of shoreline, and 7,700 surface acres of water, all for your outdoor recreational activities.  The lake features family and group camping by the lake shoreline, cottages, RV sites, hiking, boating, fishing, swimming, kayaking, equestrian trails and equestrian camping. Lake Camanche is also a popular venue for outdoor weddings, festivals, and corporate events. Although it’s best known for great bass fishing, it is also a favorite of trout anglers. 60,000 lbs. of trout are planted every year between October and May with each weighing at least a pound up to trophy sized eight (8) pounders.  Pardee Reservoir is in one of the most beautiful settings in the Mother Lode, it’s an easy drive from valley and Bay Area locations. It’s the perfect outing for day or weekend of picnicking, camping, fishing, RV’ing and relaxing with the family. The peace and quiet here is perfect for seniors and families. About 90 percent of Pardee Lake anglers fish for trout, both from the shore and from boats. Other available species include Brown Trout, Kokanee salmon, Black Bass, and three kinds of catfish. Children will particularly enjoy the fast-paced fishing for crappie, bluegill and sunfish.

World Class Golf

La Contenta Golf Club Valley Springs
The fairway at La Contenta

Honored by Golf Digest and around for more than 35 years, La Contenta Golf Club is considered one of Northern California’s best courses. A Richard Bigler course set in the rolling foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, La Contenta Golf Club challenges you with “out-of-bounds stakes lining fourteen holes and water hazards coming into play on nine holes. Be ready to hit plenty of blind shots as well as approach shots from off side hill lies. The layout affords outstanding vistas of the surrounding area on virtually every hole”.

La Contenta Bar and Grille

This public/semi-private golf club also serves delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the La Contenta Bar and Grille, overlooking the 1st and 9th holes. Enjoy a peaceful view from the restaurant patio with friendly staff and a chef’s menu focused on using in farm fresh ingredients for the homestyle recipes and in-house prepared brisket burgers.

Disc Golf

New Hogan Lake Disc Golf
Disc golf at New Hogan

Disc golf is popping up all over Calaveras County, but it’s the course at New Hogan Reservoir that takes the cake for being the best of the best.  This 18-hole disc golf course with rolling hills, gorgeous oaks and great views of the lake offers challenging play for the die-hards out there, but provide plenty of family-friendly play too.

One of the Best Bakeries in the Foothills

Speaking of cake, your sweet tooth will thank you when you stop at Mo’s Devil Food.  But that’s not all, because this real bakery (that means fresh daily) not only specializes in exquisitely decorated cakes for every occasion, it also pleases with yummy breads, bagels, pies and pastries. Everything is made from scratch, using freshly squeezed juices, locally sourced produce that is garden grown with no use of pesticides, and food grade essential oils. Why not have lunch too? Mo’s has delicious wraps, paninis, and quiches.  “Cakery magic and custom sweet evils. No fondant required” at Mo’s Devil Food!

Good Food!

Pad Kee-Mow with Beef - Thai House Valley Springs
Pad Kee-Mow with Beef

Yup, right where you wouldn’t expect it. Fusion Grill has brought Mongolian BBQ to the Foothills.  And it’s good.  Grab a bowl, pick your meats and veggies, add a little sauce, hand it over to the good folks behind the grill, and you’ve got yourself a meal perfectly suited to your liking.  A great place to take the family since you build your own bowl. Then, there’s legit Thai food.  Don’t take our word for it, even the folks on Yelp are raving about the food at Thai House in Valley Springs.  They serve up all the favorites and then some.  Like it spicy? They will deliver the heat, just ask. Brewgers and Hawg Dawgs both serve up your favorite pub food and beer on tap.  Perfect after a day on the lake or the golf course.

Wine & Olive Oil Tasting

Olive Crush Farms offers locally produced items like award winning Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Free-range Eggs, and local wine tasting! Plus this gift shop is filled with beautiful local art, consigned items, furniture, and so many wonderful unique home goods.

Need a Place to Stay?

Valley Springs Lodging: 10th Green Inn, Valley Springs | Barbara Steinberg
10th Green Inn | Barbara Steinberg

Check in to the cute and cozy 10th Green Country Inn (rooms overlook La Contenta Golf Course). The 10th Green Inn is the perfect getaway close to fishing and boating at New Hogan Lake, in addition to great golf at La Contenta. All rooms are non-smoking, and 8 of out the 10 rooms have a golf course view. Enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast before you begin your adventure in Valley Springs!

August in Calaveras, Valley Springs
Night sky at New Hogan Lake in the Valley Springs tri-lake area I Courtesy of Instagrammer @jossscelyn

Can you stay longer? Looking for more great places throughout Calaveras County? Give us a call at the Calaveras Visitors Bureau at 209-736-0049 or come by and see us at 753 South Main Street, Angels Camp. We’d love to help plan your visit to Calaveras, and we look forward to hearing from you soon!