6. Clio, CA
Why go: This tiny town sits near the California-Nevada border, right in the middle of an area nicknamed “the Lost Sierra.” With 8,500-foot peaks and 50-plus glacial-carved lakes, it’s significantly less developed than popular spots like Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, and Mammoth Lakes. And because the elevations here are a bit lower in the northern Sierra Mountains, the autumn palette from the alder and cottonwood trees tends to last longer than in the mountains farther south.
Where to stay: A short drive north of Tahoe, and what feels like worlds away from the traffic and crowds, Nakoma Resort boasts a Frank Lloyd Wright–designed clubhouse, a brand-new adventure center, a 42-room lodge, and an 18-hole championship course that offers mountain views from every tee.
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