Our region’s counties and towns named among America’s best in new analysis

Nevada and Placer Counties are ranked among America’s 50 best counties for outdoor activities, according to a new analysis by Niche.com.

Placer County ranked #36, Nevada County ranked #47 and El Dorado ranked #49 in the nation, according to Pittsburgh-based Niche, which runs a ranking and review site. The methodology for the rankings, which also include cities, towns and neighborhoods, is here.

In California, Placer County ranked #3, Nevada County ranked #6 and El Dorado County ranked #7 in outdoor activities. Calaveras County ranked #1.

The 2015 Niche rankings “takes into account key indicators of a location’s environment and surroundings, including air quality, local weather, and access to natural amenities and outdoor recreation, in an attempt to measure an area’s quality of and access to the outdoors,” according to the website.

In addition, these locales in our region ranked in the top 100 as the nation’s best places for outdoor activities: Auburn (#40), North Auburn (#42) Grass Valley (#54), Lake Wildwood near Grass Valley (#62), Alta Sierra near Grass Valley (#80), South Lake Tahoe (#48), Placerville (#30) and Pollock Pines (#41).

In California our local towns ranked high for outdoor activities: Placerville was #2, Lake Tahoe was #7, Auburn was #9 and Grass Valley was #18.

Our region also showed up on the “best towns in America list.” Truckee ranked #65 and Placerville ranked #95.

In California, Truckee ranked #23, Placerville ranked #27, Auburn ranked #29, South Lake Tahoe ranked #33 and Grass Valley ranked #39. Palo Alto was ranked the best town in America.

Our local towns generally received higher marks for things to do, outdoor activities, commute and weather (mostly “A’s”) and lower grades for housing and jobs (“C” or lower). The countywide results were similar but often more negative on the housing and jobs front.

Grass Valley ranked #98 on the “American Towns with the Most Things to Do” list. It received a low ranking on the “millennial newcomers” list, just 1.1 percent.

A place is defined as being located within a Census-defined urbanized cluster or a principal city for an urbanized area with a population greater than or equal to 5,000 and less than 100,000. Nevada City’s population is less than 5,000, so it was not part of the analysis.

(Photo: John Daly)

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