Both Grass Valley and Nevada City are resplendent with color right now, though it hasn't always been so. Located in the mid-Sierra's the area features mostly pines, firs, cedars, madrones, with a sprinkling of oak, a few big-leaf maples, and a smattering of dogwoods. Not really much to give an autumnal display worth noting. However, with the discovery of gold in the area, most of the trees where quickly logged off to build, not only towns and homes, but to fuel the ever-hungry mining stamp mills – which operated twenty-four hours a day and consumed hundreds of trees per day.
As gold fever waned, and the mining camps became respectable communities, a variety of trees were replanted around the new homes and townsites, some of which we still see today. We now have streets framed in brilliant, light-gathering gold, red, peach, yellow, and faun colors from magnificent oaks, maples, Japanese maples, and liquidambars, shining against the dark green backdrop of the native evergreen trees. A couple of streets you don't want to miss are Nevada Street and the top end of Coyote (some lovely Virginia creeper there), both in Nevada City. Lovely trees can also be seen right off of Highway 49, if you're just passing through, but I would suggest a leisurely stroll through both towns to get the full Fall effect.
Now is your chance to enjoy our lovely, crisp weather and the beautiful, seasonal display of nature's beauty. It won't last for much longer. For more information and fall color tour maps, go to: www.nevadacitychamber.com/events/fallcolors.cfm.
UPDATE: With this past rainy weekend, everything is now washed brilliantly clean, but the tree canopy is now a carpet of color upon the ground. There are still some beautiful trees to see, but the window of opportunity is quickly closing.