Murphys is located in the central Sierra Nevada foothills between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park, in Calaveras County, California. Rich in goldrush history, in addition to the numerous year-round activities in Murphys and Calaveras County, each season brings some special activities and events. Trying to decide when to visit? Maybe this will help!
Photo: Ironstone Vineyards
Be a wildflower sleuth – Calaveras County blooms with a profusion of wildflowers during the springtime. Pack a picnic, grab your camera, and spend a day driving the backroads and admiring the colorful displays of poppies, lupines, redbud, buttercups, shooting stars, columbine, wild iris and more.
Ironstone Vineyards Spring Symphony – A favorite springtime event is the annual “Spring Symphony” event at Ironstone Vineyards, a celebration of art, food, wine and daffodils. Don’t miss the annual display of blooming daffodils at the winery, featuring over 300,000 flowers and over 100 different species of bulbs.
Murphys Irish Day – A local harbinger of spring is the annual Murphys Irish Days event, a fun street faire featuring live music and dancing, traditional Irish foods, arts and crafts booths, and a community parade held each year on the Saturday closest to St. Patrick’s Day.
Photo: Calaveras Visitors Bureau
Live Theatre – Murphys Creek Theatre presents live theatre events at the Black Bart Playhouse in Downtown Murphys, including Shakespearean classics as well as classic American dramas. Come enjoy an evening of professional quality theatre!
Bear Valley Music Festival – The first two weeks of August brings the acclaimed Bear Valley Music festival to Bear Valley, about an hour’s drive east on Highway 4. A summer tradition for over 30 years, the Festival showcases a variety of musical styles, featuring the Bear Valley Symphony Orchestra, pop and jazz, as well as opera.
Music in the Parks – Each Wednesday night from mid-June through early August, you can attend a free musical concert in a different community park throughout the county. This concert series is sponsored by the Calaveras County Arts Council, and features an eclectic mix of musical styles, including bluegrass, salsa, folk, pop/rock, and big band.
Ironstone Vineyards Concerts – Ironstone Vineyards has two venues for outdoor concerts, the intimate lakeside park and the large amphitheatre, where they present a full line-up of musical events throughout the summer months.
Photo: Lisa Boulton
Fall is a great time to explore the magnificent High Sierra backcountry by foot or car – the summer crowds have thinned, the temperature is cooler, and the aspen trees are ablaze with fall color. Hundreds of miles of well-maintained hiking trails are available on the Stanislaus National Forest and in Calaveras Big Trees State Park, both just a short drive away up Highway 4. Or, take a scenic drive up to the high country and over Ebbetts Pass to the Alpine county hamlet of Markleville.
Calaveras Grape Stomp and Street Faire – Held each year the first weekend in October, this popular event includes a grape stomping competition in Murphys Park, in which teams of two compete to see who can wring the most juice out of 25 pounds of grapes inside a half barrel, as well as an old-fashioned street faire, featuring arts and crafts booths, food vendors and live entertainment extending the length of Main Street in downtown Murphys.
Photo: Rick Harray
Winter recreation opportunities abound within a short driving distance of Murphys. Downhill skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts head for Bear Valley Mountain Resort, featuring 67 runs served by 11 lifts. Cross-country skiers and snowshoers can enjoy 35 miles of groomed track and trail at Bear Valley Cross Country, or hundreds of miles of groomed and ungroomed backcountry roads and trails on the Stanislaus National Forest and Calaveras Big Trees State Park.
Holiday Open House – On the first Friday of December, downtown Murphys stay open late, and serve up hot cider, cocoa and other treats to sidewalk strollers. Santa always pays a visit, and there are carolers and other street entertainers adding to the festive atmosphere. The next day, visit local wineries during their annual Holiday Open House, and enjoy special treats, live music, strolling carolers, special discounts, and food and wine pairing with free recipes. And of course, visits from Santa Claus!
President’s Day Wine Weekend – Local wineries host their annual New Wine Release Weekend over the President’s Day holiday weekend, including live music, hors d’oeuvres, discounts, free drawings, new releases and barrel tasting. George Washington and Abe Lincoln usually make an appearance as well!