Murphys is California’s Gold Country at its finest. This goldrush-era community is home to historic buildings and a charming city park complete with flowing creek and gazebo. The canopy of stately elms lining Main Street creates the perfect ambiance for a walking tour. So impressive is the setting here that Murphys is often referred to by its other appellation: the “Queen of the Sierra.”
The residents of this Calaveras County community say Murphys is the perfect size — not too big; not too small. Visitors agree.
The 2,000 “locals” love the mild climate too — 2,000 feet above sea level and above the Central Valley fog, yet generally below the snowline. Visitors agree, too. They come from far and wide to take advantage of dozens of unique shops, live theatre, several galleries, no less than a dozen fine restaurants and an equal number of charming hotels and B&Bs.
Recreation abounds in the “neighborhood:” The Bear Valley Ski Resort is minutes away up Highway 4 (a gateway to the Eastern Sierra). Closer still, just across the highway, is Calaveras Big Trees State Park, home of some of the biggest trees in the world. The Stanislaus River cascades through limestone canyons here … providing unparalleled fishing and one-of-a-kind “swimming holes.”
We mentioned goldrush-era community. Indeed. Well-preserved buildings abound and the historic figures that frequented the environs are legendary: They include Mark Twain, General Ulysses S. Grant, Horatio Alger and Charles Bolton — a.k.a. the notorious desperado Black Bart.
Another item of particular note: Murphys is in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Wine Country. The foothills here produce great wines and great wineries abound — along with tasting rooms where visitors can sample the handcrafted varietals more often associated with the Rhone Valley, Spain or Portugal. No need to travel to Europe though. Critics say the zinfandel, merlot and syrah wines produced here in Murphys are among the finest in the world.