West Side Spring Activities

Published on March 20, 2014

As the chill of winter fades into the warmth and sunshine of spring, the western side of Placer County provides a wealth of recreational ideas for residents and visitors alike. Here is a partial list of activities, both rugged and adventurous to a bit more sedate, that are but a few minutes away from anywhere on the western slope of the county:Hiking: there are innumerable trails and parks throughout the area

  • Mountain biking: the foothills offer some of the best fire roads, double track and single track trails in the state
  • Road biking: a multitude of county roads, rolling hills and bucolic scenes are available for free
  • Fishing: there are lakes, streams, rivers and ponds to try your skill and luck
  • Equestrian trails: Placer County maintains numerous staging areas for those who want to take their horses on trails. The Tevis Cup, a 100-mile endurance ride begins, ends and never leave Placer County
  • Motorcycling: both road bikers and dirt bikers have their choice of trails and country roads where the journey is the reason for the activity
  • River rafting: for the adventurous who don’t mind getting wet, there are rivers to raft
  • Wine tasting: the county’s rolling hills are home to many small wineries that offer the fruit of their vines
  • Farmers Markets: agricultural products are produced throughout the region and many farms sell their wares directly to the public at
  • Museums: since Claude Chana discovered gold in Auburn Ravine in 1849, Placer County has had a colorful history. There are many museums that memorialize the search for gold and the settling of the foothills
  • Camping: from valley scrub oak terrain to the forests of the high country, there are many places to spend a night or two outdoor
  • Picnics: With a veritable cornucopia of parks and meadows, picnickers can have scenic views while consuming their meals that can consist of all-locally grown produce
  • Parks: there are many parks in Placer County. Here are a sampling of a few of the sometimes forgotten parks that you will be sure to enjoy in spring

Griffith Quarry Park and Museum

7587 Rock Springs Road

Griffith Quarry Park and Museum encompasses 25 acres and boasts a small museum, 3 miles of nature trails, picnic sites and views of the old quarry sites that furnished granite to such landmarks as the State Capitol and Alcatraz. The site has been developed as a historical park to commemorate the beginning of Placer County’s industrial merit as exemplified by the granite industry. Hiking along the beautiful trails and picnicking under large oaks in the vicinity of the original quarry holes provide the park visitor with a lasting recreational and educational experience.

The history of Griffith Quarry and Penryn really began over a hundred million years ago when volcanic activity and earthquakes rocked the region, releasing molten rock, which later became granite. This time period, which geologists call the Upper Jurassic age, saw the birth of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the formation of large deposits of both fine quality granite and gold bearing quartz. This site is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is also a California State Historic Landmark (#885).

Traylor Ranch Bird Sanctuary and Nature Reserve

5050 English Colony Way

At the Traylor Ranch Bird Sanctuary and Nature Reserve, you will find 88 acres of Valley Oaks, riparian areas, wetlands, and grassland that has been set aside for the preservation of habitat for birds and other wildlife; to encourage outdoor recreation – horseback riding, bird watching, hiking, walking, nature study, and for the promotion of community education.

It was established in 1998 by a donation to Placer County from Art and Helene Traylor. For the previous 42 years, the Traylor’s operated a small cattle ranch on the 88 acre site. Over those years, Art and Helene shared a growing appreciation for the birds and other wildlife that accompanied them during their work and leisure. It became their dream to preserve the land which has provided not only a good living but beauty and wonder as well. The Reserve is intended for quiet use and for the viewing of nature and wildlife. Traylor Ranch Nature Reserve contains 3.5 miles of native surfaced trails. There are picnic areas, portable toilets, horse tie posts and a historic horse watering trough from the mid-1800’s within the Reserve. This is a bird sanctuary so don’t forget your camera!