What to do in Placer County this summer

By: ToLewis, The Press Tribune
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With school ending and gas prices continuing to hover around $4 per gallon, some South Placer residents have chosen to vacation close to home this summer. But that doesn’t mean they have to sit around the house and do nothing. According to Jan Decker, CEO of the Placer County Visitor’s Bureau in Auburn, there is a wide variety of quality things to do right here in our own backyard. “The beauty is given our close proximity to Sacramento and the Bay Area, people can do a weekend trip without it costing an arm and a leg and still see some great sights,” Decker said. Decker offered a sample list of a few things to do in Placer County that won’t break the bank. Go ride a bike Placer County has hundreds of miles of paved, scenic country roads that are rarely used by motorists. Decker recommends taking a road bike to Bell Road, just outside of the Auburn area off of Highway 49, where rolling green hills will challenge the cyclist as they take in the view. “Some of the hills up behind Newcastle and Penryn are also really beautiful this time of year,” Decker said. “There are also some wineries out in that area that they might run across. So biking and sipping grapes while you’re out there might be a good way to spend the weekend.” For those who prefer to go off road, the Auburn Recreation Area and the American River canyon offer a number of trails on which to hike or bike. Decker encourages anyone interested to pick up a map of cycling and hiking trails at the California Welcome Center, 13411 Lincoln Way, in Auburn. Maps can also be viewed and downloaded by visiting the Placer County Visitor’s Bureau website at The city of Roseville also has miles of paved bike paths that Decker recommends for families. Bike path information and maps can be viewed and downloaded by visiting the city of Roseville’s website at Go taste some wine Placer County is home to 18 wineries, most of which are small, family owned, boutique-style wineries, Decker said. The Placer County Visitor’s Bureau has a winery map available at its California Welcome Center as well as online. The Placer County Wine Trail is open every weekend and is made up of seven small, family-run boutique wineries dedicated to showcasing the history of winemaking in the Sierra foothills, according to Donna Dotti of Placer Valley Tourism. Dotti said some local hotels have partnered with the Placer County Vintners Association, offering wine packages that include a special room rate, discounts on tasting, picnic bags, wine glasses and possible upgrades for limousine services. “It is convenient to get to and it’s not overcrowded like some of the better known wine destinations,” Dotti said. Some of these hotels are the Larkspur Landing, Hamton Inn & Suites Roseville, Hyatt Place Roseville, Staybridge Suites Rocklin and Days Inn Rocklin. Get lost About 15 minutes outside of Foresthill is an area known as China Wall, a staging area that provides access to any number of outdoor activities, Decker said. “There’s a parking lot and bathroom facilities there,” Decker said. “There are a lot of trails, a lot of things to see and do out there. While you’re out there, you can go fishing, go hiking, camping or whatever.” Decker said there still might be snow up in the area and people should dress accordingly. Dotti said the Placer Valley Tourism website,, provides suggestions and links for hundreds of things to do in the area. In addition, the Placer County Visitor’s Bureau also offers links, maps and many options on its website. Toby Lewis can be reached at