Victorian homes, iron-shuttered brick buildings: Nevada City lives up to its early name, "Queen City of the Northern Mines." Relics include the Firehouse No. 1 museum and the restored Nevada Theatre.
At the confluence of the Downie and Yuba Rivers, Downieville boasts picturesque bridges and swimming holes. Pick up a walking-tour map and follow the plaques detailing the town's raucous history.
With the Pacific Crest Trail and Yuba nearby, Sierra City is your supply stop for outdoor fun. Fuel up with a three-inch-thick BLT from the Sierra Country Store.