Yes, I made it! I’m actually in the USA, California and altogether I will spend 2 months here, this time I’m traveling with my friend. The first thing that I needed to take care of was ESTA, and then accommodation. After SF the idea was to make it more up north, to the place called Gold Country, I wanted to visit Grass Valley and Nevada City and explore one of California’s richest gold mining towns back in the days. Cause we don’t have our own car we needed to figure out how to get from San Francisco up to Grass Valley and I was surprised, that we couldn’t find almost any information about this online.
That’s why I decided to write this blog post, to help all of you out there that are also traveling without a car, it is possible.
Where is Nevada City
Nevada City is located around 147 miles (237 km) from San Francisco and 61 miles (around 98 km) northeast of Sacramento. It is located at 2500 feet (755 m) above sea level and it has Tahoe National Forest as its backyard and also the wild and scenic Yuba river is right there. Grass Valley is only 2 miles away so it’s really easy to explore both places at once.
How we got to Grass Valley
As I said, we couldn’t find a lot of helpful information online, so we started to explore on our own. It took a while and we figured out that there is no direct bus that goes from San Francisco to Grass Valley. We found some options that lead close to Grass Valley but none of them was direct. In the end, we decided to take a Greyhound bus from San Francisco to Colfax, it cost us like 35$ (31,7€) per person. We said we will figure out later how to get from Colfax to Grass Valley. It wasn’t such a bad decision, in the end, the only thing was that when we arrived in Colfax we asked the people around how to get to Grass Valley and they told us that no buses are going there.
Colfax is pretty rural, not much public transportation going on there. So, we ended up hitchhiking just before the sunset, I have to say, I was a bit nervous. In the end, we got a ride, actually two rides. First, a pilot stopped us, such a nice guy. He didn’t have time to take us all the way so he dropped us off at a place where we caught another ride, this time with a nice lady. When we reached Grass valley it was already dark so the lady took us directly to our Airbnb address. Thanks to both of you, I really appreciate it!
Another option how to get from San Francisco to Grass valley
Later on, I figured out that there is a really good, budget and easy connection from Sacramento to Grass Valley. So in San Francisco, you can catch a bus to Sacramento (5$;4,4€), once there you need to make it to the Amtrak station called Light Rail (Watt/I-80) – Blue line. Once there, you just catch a bus number 10, it says Auburn on it and it leaves every hour. The ticket costs 3$ and the good news is that you will get a free ticket for the next connecting bus.
When you reach Auburn just ask at the station for bus number 5, this one will take you to Grass valley, show the ticket to the driver and drive for free.
Just be careful during the weekend, there are not many buses there. So, if you are on a budget and you have enough energy and time, this might be a good option for you. You can do all this route under 15$, it will just take a bit more time, but its up to you what option you will choose from.