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Susan R. Johnson, M.D., FAAP

PO Box 1621
Colfax, California 95713

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A Healing Place For Children

54 West Grass Valley Street
P.O. Box 1621
Colfax, CA 95713
(916) 638-8758

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By Car

Coming from Sacramento and the Bay Area, take Interstate 80 past Auburn to the Colfax/Highway 174 exit. Exit to the right and cross back over the highway to Auburn Avenue. Take a right and head 3 to 4 blocks into Historic Colfax. There will be a stop sign after the railroad tracks. Drive straight across Main Street. Auburn Avenue now changes its name to W. Grass Valley Street. Proceed 1/2 block more until you arrive at “The Little Yellow House” on the left side of the street, located at 54 W. Grass Valley Street (My mailing address is P.O. Box 1621, Colfax, CA 95713).

Coming from Reno/Truckee Area, Take Interstate 80 over the Summit and exit to the right at Colfax/Highway 174 exit. Take an immediate right turn at Auburn Avenue and follow the above directions.

Coming from Grass Valley/Nevada City, take Hwy 174 and make a right at Main street. Stay on Main Street then turn right on W. Grass Valley street .

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By Train

Amtrak’s California Zephyr serving Chicago, Denver, Salt Lake City, Reno, Sacramento, Davis, and the San Francisco Bay Area arrives in Colfax from the Sacramento Area around 12:30 pm everyday with a return trip leaving 3-6pm. Trains are known for not being on time so schedules need to be checked. It’s more predictable to stay overnight and then leave for Sacramento or the San Francisco Bay Area the following afternoon. For reservations and information call 1-800-872-7245 or visit Amtrak.com.

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By Bus

Capital Corridor/Amtrak bus 800-872-7245, Greyhound Bus 530-346-2248

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By Plane

Sacramento and Reno airports are both 1 1/2 hours from Colfax.

Colfax

Colfax California

Colfax remains a quaint, historic railroad town, known as the hidden treasure of the Sierra foothills. It is located in Placer County, on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Foothills, directly off of Interstate 80 (14 miles from Auburn and 50 miles northeast of Sacramento). The town is nestled in pine trees at an elevation of 2,422 feet, and maintains a rich history connected to the Gold Rush days and building of theTranscontinental Railroad. The town still serves as the Union Pacific mainline through the Sierras. Downtown Colfax, including the area surrounding the train depot and railroad park, has been designated as an Historic District. There is also a Heritage museum in the Depot open daily. The Empire Mine State Historic Park in Grass Valley, the site of the richest, hard-rock gold mine in California, is located outside of Colfax, off of Highway 174. There is also a new Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum in nearby Nevada City (check the website ncngrrmuseum.org for Summer and Winter hours). During the Summer you can actually ride on a mini Railbus. This railroad museum is right next to the new, Inn Town Campground (INNTOWNCAMPGROUND.com). Besides the pool at the campground, there are great places to swim along the gorgeous Yuba river which is nearby. The bed and breakfast towns of Grass Valley and Nevada City are only a 25 minute drive along beautiful Highway 174.

Colfax is bordered by the Bear River on the north (a campground is approximately 3 miles outside of town) and the North Fork of the American River (a short drive down Iowa Hill Road). The 4 mile Steven’s Trail begins in Colfax and descends via a beautiful scenic path along the canyon and down to the American River. A short 45 minute hike will take you to an old abandoned miner’s cave on the trail and a scenic spot for viewing the canyon. Lake Rollins is just 2 1/2 miles outside of town and has two, large, separate campgrounds with swimming, fishing, and boating (including paddle-boats) during the late spring and summer months. Even though Colfax is below the heavy snow line, it is only a 35 minute drive up Highway 80 for downhill (Sugar Bowl) and cross-country (Royal Gorge) skiing in addition to sledding and snowshoeing during the winter months. The town of Truckee, Squaw Valley Ski Resort, and Lake Tahoe are only an hours drive away.

Where to eat

Cafe Luna (Organic food), 38 N. Main St, Colfax, 530-346-8833 (open Tues-Sat for breakfast and lunch, 8am to 3pm and for dinner Thur and Fri, 5pm to 8 pm.
Dine and Dash, 1516 S Canyon Way, Colfax, 530-346-1000 (open daily for breakfast and lunch, 7am to 3pm and for dinner Thur-Sun, until 9 pm
Main Street Pizza, 46 N Main St, Colfax, 530-346-8200 (open Sun-Thur for lunch and dinner, 11:30am to 8:30pm and Fri-Sat, 11:30am to 9:30pm)
Happy Apple Kitchen, in Chicago Park just off of Hwy 174, 530-273-2822, (Mon-Sat for breakfast and lunch)
Monte Vista in Dutch Flats, 530-389-2333, (open every night at 5pm for dinner)
Buzz Thru Joe’s 530-346-7977 (right next to Starbucks, serves breakfast and lunch)
TJ’s Roadhouse 530-346-1040 (open daily for Breakfast, lunch and dinner)
Awful Annie's 13460 LincolnWay, Auburn. Right off of I 80, about 15 minutes South of Colfax (open daily for breakfast and lunch, 8am to 3pm) 530-888-9857
Latitudes in Auburn, 530-885-9535
(Starbucks, Taco Bell, Subway, Beach Hut sandwiches, and Sierra Market are located near the Colfax Avenue exit)

Where to stay

Sierra Sun Cloud Inn, 888-637-1083 (Bed and breakfast) Sierrasuncloudinn.com
The Outside Inn, Nevada City (ask for the climbing wall room) 530-265-2233
Colfax Motor Lodge, 550 S. Auburn Street 530-346-8382 (Most reasonable but next to I-80)
Dan and Manya's Airbnb in Colfax, 678-575-6719
Weimar Institute of Health and Education -- The Inn, 800-525-9192 weimar.edu
Many Bed and Breakfast places in nearby Auburn Auburnchamber.net, Nevada City Nevadacitychamber.com, and Grass Valley Grassvalleychamber.com
Additional Hotels-Motels:
Super 8 Motel (Auburn), 800-454-3213, Super8.com
Best Western Golden Key (Auburn), 800-201-0121, Bestwestern.com
Comfort Inn (Auburn), 530-885-1800
Motel 6 (Auburn), Motel6.com

Where to camp

Rollins Lake Campground, (off Rollins Lake road just outside of Colfax) Orchardspringscampground.com Campground has a place to eat and a small store.
Scott's Flat Recreation Area (off Hwy 20 near Nevada City), 530-265-5302 (has great facilities and showers) orchardspringscampground.com (click on menu sign at top of page to find details about Scott's Flat Lake Campground)
Inn Town Campground, in Nevada City inntowncampground.com, 530-265-9900 (New Railroad museum is next door ncngrrmuseum.org)
Bear River Campground, off of Placer Valley Road, is only a few miles from Colfax.

What to do!

There is also a small library just off main street, in addition to a tiny train museum at the train depot, several antique shops, a newly opened ice cream shop ("Scoops"), and the elegantly restored Colfax Theatre.

Now guess!

  1. How did the Town of Colfax get its name?
  2. What was the name of this railroad town before it was called Colfax?