Highway 20 can be driven in five hours; a two- or three-day tour offers opportunities to linger.
Sierra and Gold Country
Contact the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce (800/655-6569).
1. Sierra Discovery Trail. Easy 1-mile loop and picnic area. Take Bowman Lake Rd. 1/2 mile off State Hwy. 20, 4 1/2 miles from intersection with I-80 near Emigrant Gap; 916/386-5164.
2. Nevada County Traction Company. Three-mile round-trip on a train takes 1 1/2 hours. $10. North Queen Inn, 402 Railroad Ave., Nevada City; 530/265-0896.
3. Wine tasting, Nevada City. Indian Springs Vineyards (303 Broad St.; 800/375-9311); Iron Mountain Vineyards (130 Main; 530/432-7002); Nevada City Winery (321 Spring St.; 530/265-9463).
4. Cafe Mekka. Tasty desserts. $. 237 Commercial St., Nevada City; 530/478-1517.
5. Citronée Bistro and Wine Bar. Classy comfort food. $$$; closed Sun. 320 Broad, Nevada City; 530/265-5697.
6. Northern Queen Inn. Basic motel rooms and cabins at the edge of Gold Run Creek. 86 units from $80. 400 Railroad, Nevada City; www.northernqueeninn.com or 530/265-5824.
Across the valley
Contact the Yuba-Sutter Chamber of Commerce in Marysville (530/743-6501).
7. Bok Kai Temple. Built by Chinese settlers in 1880; tours by appointment ($5 donation). South end of First St., Marysville; www.bokkaitemple.org or 530/743-6501.
8. Brick Coffeehouse Café. $. 316 D St., Marysville; 530/743-5283.
9. Sopa Thai. Excellent spicy Thai dishes. $$; closed Sun. 720 Plumas St., Yuba City; 530/790-7672.
10. Harkey House Inn. Four elegant rooms in an 1874 house. From $105. 212 C St., Yuba City; www.harkeyhouse.com or 530/674-1942.
11. Rick's Freezette Burgers & Shakes. Perfect road-trip food. $. 854 10th St., Colusa; 530/458-2831.
12. Colusa National Wildlife Refuge. Great summer birding. At O'Hair Rd. off State 20, near Colusa; sacramentovalleyrefuges.fws.gov or 530/934-2801.
Lake country to the coast
Contact the Lake County Visitor Information Center in Lucerne (800/525-3743) or the Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce in Fort Bragg (707/961-6300).
13. Fife Redhead Vineyards Tasting Room. 3621 Ricetti Lane, Redwood Valley; 707/485-0323.
14. Lake Mendocino. Moderate 2 1/2-mile (one-way) Shakota Trail leads to an abandoned winery; trailhead is at Pomo Visitor Center, off Marina Dr. On Marina Dr., Ukiah; 707/462-7581.
15. Glass Beach. At a former dump site, the ocean turns up lots of beach glass. West end of Elm St., Fort Bragg.
16. Mendo Bistro. Great design-your-own entrées. $$. 301 N. Main, Fort Bragg; 707/964-4974.
17. Weller House Inn. Antique-filled Victorian mansion. 10 rooms from $105. 524 Stewart St., Fort Bragg; www.wellerhouse.com or 707/964-4415.