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Escape city bustle with trek to Sierra City

By: Lauren Weber, The Placer Herald
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Calm instantly creeps in as you enter Herrington’s Sierra Pines resort. Just a two-hour drive from Rocklin, passing charming small Northern California towns with populations of mere hundreds scattered along Highway 49, until the aroma of pine and clean air fills the car, lays Sierra City — population less than 300. At the base of the city, Herrington’s Sierra Pines is nestled between the Sierra Buttes, a cluster of peaks stretching toward the sky, and the North Yuba River. At the mountain’s base you’ll find a lusciously-green meadow where deer can sometimes be found feeding. The view and wildlife make it seem as it you’ve left civilization completely. But just across the way, the resort awaits. Inside the simple rooms with a five-station television and large glass doors, guests are encouraged to take in the view outdoors — views of the rocky North Yuba River bordered by soaring pines and a waterfall rushing down into the river. But what awaits outside the room’s view is what drives most people to visit Sierra City. For a quick morning or pre-dinner walk, take a stroll along the river and take a seat in the red wood chairs perched on a rock-free patch overlooking the water. Read a book, take a nap or simply enjoy the peace and quiet here. For more vigorous hikes, Herringtons’ staff is full of highly-recommended and tested hikes, including a loop around Cub Lake, Little Bear Lake and Big Bear Lake. Bordering the Plumas National Forest and Tahoe National Park, the air fills with the fresh scent of green trees and the sky is a crystal-clear blue and a comfortable feel of about 70 degrees during the summer months. You may only pass a handful of fellow hikers, but that’s part of the appeal — it’s just you and nature. For lunch on the go, stop in the general store in the heart of downtown Sierra City along Main Street where you’ll not only find hardcore hikers stopping to replenish with fresh sandwiches from the deli, but also locally-made jam flavors like raspberry Chambord. The town’s allure can be seen along its small downtown where a Weather Rock sign predicts the weather through a rock’s perspective: if rock is wet, it is raining, one verse reads. Back at the foot of the resort lies a small trout pond where families gather, and for 25 cents, it’s feeding time for the fish, anytime. From the candy-like dispenser, people grab a handful of fish pellets to feed the eager trout, that fight for any nibble. Across the pond, its dinnertime at Herringtons’ restaurant, open to guests as well as hungry hikers and townspeople. The Rainbow Trout Amandine is freshly caught and prepared trout from the pond just feet away, topped with roasted almonds. The chicken, honey-dipped and deep fried, is one of the popular dinners at Herringtons according to owner Mike Herrington. The menu also features Certified Angus Filet Mignon charbroiled and bacon wrapped, as well as a breakfast menu of French toast, omelets and the house special of fresh Rainbow trout. The gift shop acts as the restaurant’s entrance, where visitors can purchase hiking trail maps and books and feel the essence of outside, inside through the cherry tree trunk growing inside the space. Herrington said the restaurant dining room used to be the family’s home and has since transformed into a dining and meeting room for the resort. Whether a vacation to do list is filled with hiking, fishing, golfing, horseback riding, rafting or reading, at Herrington’s, there is something for everyone — of every age, ability and interest. For more information on Herrington’s Sierra Pines, call (800) 682-9848 or (530) 862-1151 or go to www.herringtonssierrapines.com. Lauren Weber can be reached at laurenw@goldcountrymedia.com.