Penn Valley

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Penn Valley is a CDP (census-designated place) located in Nevada County, California. A small community made up of just 2.1 square miles, Penn Valley boasts a population of just over 1,500 residents.


Penn Valley lies close to a number of well-known natural landmarks, providing recreational opportunities for those who live in the area. Englebright Lake is a nearby reservoir on the Yuba River that offers a number of options for Penn Valley residents who are looking for entertainment. The area is a popular fishing location, from the marina to the upper reaches of the lake. There are also 9 miles of accessible water for boating, as well as campsites that are only accessible via boat. The lake also allows camping via houseboat.


Lake Wildwood is a private, gated community located within the Sierra Nevada Foothills. It is comprised of over 3,000 homes, situated on the lake that is its namesake alongside an 18-hole championship golf course. Other amenities include a clubhouse, pro shop, private lake for boating, swimming, fishing, and even water-skiing, as well as 24/7 security staff, lighted tennis and pickleball courts, and an indoor swimming complex.


There are a number of state parks in the area for Penn Valley residents to visit. These include the South Yuba River State Park, Malakoff Diggins Site Historic Park, Empire Mine State Historic Park and the Donner Memorial State Park. Many of these parks reflect the history and impact miners have had on the Nevada County community.

You can learn more about these state parks by clicking here.

Treat Yourself At Penn Valley

Local Restaurants & Wineries

Penn Valley sits close to a number of local restaurants and wineries for residents to enjoy. Sierra Vinters offer a unique country getaway for wine lovers, complete with fine restaurants and lodging. Sierra Vinters hosts events throughout the year for wine enthusiasts, including Foothills Celebration, a massive event with over 50 wineries and restaurants, as well as the smaller Nevada City Uncorked in the fall. Those looking for something even more unique can visit the Nevada City Foreign Car Show. You can read more about Sierra Vinters’ unique offerings and experiences here.


Small businesses make up the center of Penn Valley’s culinary offerings. Twelve 28 Kitchen is a popular spot that uses fresh sourced ingredients and offers a constantly rotating menu. Craft beers and wine are also available. Players Pizza offers signature pizzas, as well as burgers, fries, spaghetti and more. Northridge Restaurant is a similarly popular option that offers a number of traditional American dining options. Finally, Caleb’s Creamery is Penn Valley’s favourite ice cream parlour, and the perfect spot if you’re looking for a sweet treat after dinner.

A Yearly Tradition

The Penn Valley Rodeo

Each year, Penn Valley hosts a rodeo event in late spring that has become a signature tourist attraction, bringing in up to 5,000 spectators each year. The event began in the 1950’s when the Penn Valley Fire Department was in need of funding. A local cowboy named Geroge Alan Smith conceived of the rodeo idea to bring in tourism to the area and help aid the fire department.


Originally a small but wildly successful event, the rodeo has become a mainstay for Penn Valley and a great source of income for the community. Since 1951, it has become “the summer event” across the entire state of California. Now, in addition to the yearly rodeo, Penn Valley hosts an autumn fall festival that includes such classic events as a scarecrow competition, Gambler’s Cow, and even Mutton Bustin’.


The Penn Valley Community Rodeo Association also provides two scholarships each year to local high school seniors pursuing a career in agriculture or related fields. When there isn’t an event taking place, the facilities are also available to rent for equestrian events, weddings, birthdays and more.


For additional information on the Penn Valley rodeo and accompanying fall festival, you can visit their website.


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