|photo by Kurt Bertilson|
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, the site of the richest, hardrock gold mine in California, is located just outside of Colfax, off of Highway 174. 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 campgroud 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 Rolllins 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.
What else to do:
There is a park, baseball field, basketball hoop, picnic tables and a large children’s play structure. There is a Farmer’s Market on Main Street every Wednesday afternoon from 4 to 7pm. There is also a small library on main street in addition to several antique shops, novelty and retail shops, and the elegantly restored Colfax Theatre.
Where to eat in and around town:
Cafe Luna (Organic food) 530-346-8833, (open for lunch until 3 pm)
Happy Apple Kitchen, in Chicago Park just off of Hwy 174, www.bierwagens.com, 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 in Old Town Auburn, 530-888-9857
Latitudes in Auburn, 530-885-9535
(Starbucks, Taco Bell, Subway, and Sierra Market are located near the Colfax Avenue exit)
Where to stay in and near town:
Sierra Sun Cloud Inn, 888-637-1083 (Bed and breakfast) www.sierrasuncloudinn.com
Colfax Motor Lodge, 550 S. Auburn Street -530-346-8382 (Most reasonable)
Weimar Institute of Health and Education -- The Inn, 800-525-9192 www.weimar.org
The Outside Inn, Nevada City (gnome houses) 530-265-2233
Rainbow Lodge Inn and Restaurant (Before Soda Springs exit), firstname.lastname@example.org, 530-562-5061
Many Bed and Breakfast places in nearby Auburn (www.auburnchamber.net), Nevada City (www.nevadacitychamber.com), and Grass Valley (www.grassvalleychamber.com)
Super 8 Motel (Auburn), 800-800-8000, www.super8.com
Best Western Golden Key (Auburn), 800-201-0121, www.bestwestern.com
Comfort Inn (Auburn), 530-885-1800
Motel 6 (Auburn), www.motel6.com
Where to camp overnight:
Rollins Lake Campground, (off Rollins Lake road just outside of Colfax)
Scott's Flat Recreation Area (off Hwy 20 near Nevada City), 530-265-5302 (has great facilities and showers)
Bear River Campground, off of Placer Valley Road, is only a few miles from Colfax.
Finally, two questions to explore:
1) How did the Town of Colfax get its name?
2) What was the name of this railroad town before it was called Colfax?
ENJOY YOUR VISIT !
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