Mary West: Tips for urban hiking |

Mary West: Tips for urban hiking

Mary West
Photo by Mary West
The Nevada Theatre on Broadstreet in downtown Nevada City.
Photo by Mary West
The courthouse in downtown Auburn.
Photo by Mary West
A Coca Cola sign sits on a street in downtown Placerville.

Editor’s note: While many local trails and downtowns offer opportunities for responsible recreation, please be sure to practice all local COVID-19 guidelines.

The views are varied, the trail is usually level, it is often high traffic, but with so much to see and do, urban hikes are a great option during the holidays. COVID-19 is definitely a factor this holiday season. We all want to support local business, but they are not all open. This is a way to get out and see what our options are and put some steps into our day.

Highway 49 is a favorite drive for me to hit multiple foothill towns to show off to visiting friends and family during the holidays. Shopping, dining, wine and beer tasting and so much more await. Start in Placerville’s downtown or Folsom in El Dorado County, Auburn’s Old Town or Tahoe in Placer County, Nevada City and Grass Valley in Nevada County or Amador County’s Sutter Creek and more. If you are feeling really adventurous, head up to Downieville and beyond in Sierra County.

Urban hiking gives you warm coffee shops to duck into should rain or snow find us on our urban trail. You can also add some weight lifting if you do your shopping at the same time.

History lessons, architecture, new vistas and new ideas of places to go and things to do can all be found on such an urban hike. You may also be surprised how many miles you can travel on foot in town. Look for local docent or self-guided tours. By example, each Saturday at 10 a.m. the Placer County Museum in Auburn offers a docent led walking tour. Check for COVID-19 restrictions.

Put on your hiking boots, fill your water bottle and let’s go to town — to hike and support local businesses.

Mary West is author of the book series Day Hiker – Gold Country Trail Guide I, II and III (Available on Amazon). The books are a collection of the Day Hiker columns where West shares her longtime love of the outdoors, favorite hikes in Northern California’s Gold Country and beyond. West was the recipient of the 2017 and 2019 CRAFT Award for Best Outdoor Column and the 2020 Craft Award for her second book in the series-Day Hiker Gold Country Trail Guide by the Outdoor Writers of California. You can follow West on Facebook and Instagram.

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