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Overview

Besides boasting a hopping gold industry back in the day, Calaveras County can also be credited with giving Mark Twain the inspiration to pen his first successful short story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." And while the county may be best known today for those hopping amphibians (and some Wild West inspired kitsch), the highlights of this region live high in the hills. Bypass the only incorporated town in the county, Angels Camp, for the hilly hamlet of Murphys. Murphys has an artful blend of galleries, family friendly eateries (with farm fresh cuisine, a downtown park with a river running right through it (ideal for ...

Besides boasting a hopping gold industry back in the day, Calaveras County can also be credited with giving Mark Twain the inspiration to pen his first successful short story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." And while the county may be best known today for those hopping amphibians (and some Wild West inspired kitsch), the highlights of this region live high in the hills. Bypass the only incorporated town in the county, Angels Camp, for the hilly hamlet of Murphys. Murphys has an artful blend of galleries, family friendly eateries (with farm fresh cuisine, a downtown park with a river running right through it (ideal for cooling off on summer afternoons) and wineries hawking big reds with bold finishes. Just a short drive from town you can travel deep into crystalline covered caverns, explore a redwood forest, zip line across the sky, pan for gold, swim in alpine lakes, cycle the mountain trails, or whitewater raft burbling rapids. Motor up Ebbetts Pass to the enchanting (and overlooked) forest to camp, fish, horseback ride, and hike deep into the trees, then hide away in the mountain town of Bear Valley to relax your hiker's muscles.

Michele Bigley
About the Expert

Michele Bigley is the author of Northern California: An Explorer's Guide and Great Destinations Kauai from Countryman Press.

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Michele Bigley for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Located in California's Gold Country, 82 miles from Sacramento. Calaveras is the Spanish word for skulls; the county was reportedly named for the remains of Native Americans discovered by a Spanish explorer Captain Gabriel Moraga.
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summer, late spring, early fall.