In 1941 a reporter interviewed James Hilton, the British author of Lost Horizon. ‘In all your wanderings,’ the journalist asked, ‘what’s the closest you’ve found to a real-life Shangri-La?’ Hilton’s response? ‘A little town in northern California. A little town called Weaverville.’
Cute as a button, Weaverville’s streets are lined with flower boxes in the summer and banks of snow in the winter. The seat of Trinity County, it sits amid an endless tract of mountain and forest that’s 75% federally owned. With its almost 3300 sq miles, the county is roughly the size of Delaware and Rhode Island together, yet has a total population of only 13,700 and not one freeway or parking meter.
Weaverville (population 3600) is a small gem of a town on the National Register of Historic Places and has a laid-back, gentle bohemian feel (thanks in part to the young back-to-landers and marijuana-growing subculture). You can easily spend a day here just strolling around the quaint storefronts and visiting art galleries, museums and historic structures. If you've got more time, there are 40 miles of hiking and mountain-biking trails in the Weaverville Basin Trail System, or you can cast a line along the Trinity River, Trinity Lake or Lewiston Lake for steelhead, salmon and trout.