About an hour’s drive beyond Nevada City, Downieville sits deep in at the confluence of the Yuba and Downie rivers. Two bridges—the Durgan and the Jersey—cross the water, leading from a tiny commercial district to residences and inns against the mountains. Downieville is a hub for mountain bikers (host of summertime’s Downieville Classic race and festival) and white-water rafters. Dogwood blooms beside the rivers in springtime and monkey flowers line the moist canyon walls. Business hours can depend on a variety of factors, including weather, season and the pandemic, but if possible, meander through the Downieville Museum—housed in a circa 1852 building and packed with collections from the Gold Rush and logging and mining eras. Near the courthouse, grab a self-guided walking tour of Downieville’s historic points of interest, including the Sierra County Sheriff’s Gallows, sure to strike a chill.