Discover More of California Gold Country with this Multiday Road Trip Itinerary
You’ve heard about California’s Gold Country, but have you ever been there? If you’re looking for a fun and scenic trip, we recommend heading to some of the state’s most historic sites. One of our favorites is Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park in Sacramento, CA—and it’s full of family-friendly activities! From learning more about how this famous fort played an important role in California history to exploring its museum exhibits and even finding out how much gold was discovered here (it was a lot!), this is one stop that’ll keep you entertained from beginning to end.
Start in Sacramento Or head to Folsom in the Morning.
You’ll want to start your drive in Sacramento or If you are on the east side travel over Highway 50 from South Lake Tahoe. Head over to Folsom to start your scenic tour.
The charming city of Folsom is just 30 minutes away from Sacramento and features a remarkable history as one of the oldest communities in Northern California. Located along the American River, this land became a booming gold mining town as well as the site of a railroad to transport early travelers in the Western United States.
As you explore this wonderful area, you can visit a variety of museums, stop in at shops, and even enjoy a fun train ride in the park! It’s also an excellent place to take a stroll or go for a bike ride with several charming neighborhoods and pathways.
Hangtown Fry for lunch in Placerville
Hangtown Fry is a traditional breakfast dish that was invented in Placerville. It consists of fried oysters, eggs, bacon, and potatoes. It can be found at the restaurants of Placerville and is a great way to start your day before you hit the road again.
Once you’ve had a good breakfast, it’s time to get back on the road. But before you do, don’t forget to grab some snacks for later!
Apple Hill for Desert
For many residents in California and Nevada, the trip to the Sierra Foothills is a treasure-filled autumn tradition. Apple Hill events keep families coming back year after year. Apple Hill is just outside of El Dorado County about 1 hr from Sacramento and 2 hours west of San Jose.
Delicious, sweet apples are just the beginning. Representing over 50 local, family farms, the Apple Hill Growers are dedicated to supporting agriculture in our community. Founded in 1964 with just 16 apple ranches, we’ve now grown to include unique fruit & vegetable farms, bakeshops, wineries, a Bed & Breakfast Inn, flower gardens, and Christmas tree farms. Our winding roads and scenic beauty have been a popular destination for over 50 years. Come enjoy the fruits of our Apple Hill Growers any time of year!
Check out Grandpas cellar on your visit. Grandpa’s Cellar is a hidden gem amongst the dozens of farms in Apple Hill. you can pick 12 different kinds of apples in the orchard or choose from the most extensive array of fresh apple pastries.
Mokelumne River for a hike
The Mokelumne River is a tributary of the Tuolumne River and forms part of the Hetch Hetchy water system. It originates at the north end of Lake Don Pedro in Tuolumne County, California, USA, where it is fed by several smaller lakes. The river’s drainage basin is about 1,800 square miles (4,700 km2) and includes most of Pinecrest Lake (formerly called Stuart Lake). The flow from this glacier-fed lake can vary dramatically in just a few days due to California’s fickle weather patterns.
The Mokelumne Wilderness has hiking trails around St Mary’s Falls which are accessible via Forest Service Road 311N02 out of Copperopolis or by driving down gravel roads off State Route 4 (Hwy 88). There are also numerous fishing spots along this road including Pinecrest Lake which offers great fly fishing opportunities year round as well as access to some fantastic swimming holes in summer months!
Mokelumne is a great place for a hike, a picnic or to spend the day fishing. It can be accessed by driving down gravel roads off of Highway 88 (or taking Forest Service Road 311N02 out of Copperopolis). There are also numerous fishing spots along this route including Pinecrest Lake which offers great fly fishing opportunities year round as well as access to some fantastic swimming holes in summer months!
Sierra Nevada Foothills Wine Country
If you’ve ever fantasized about getting away from it all on a weekend trip, or maybe even a longer vacation with your loved ones, then wine country is the perfect place for your next getaway. The Sierra Nevada Foothills Wine Country offers something for everyone: it’s quiet and peaceful, but also full of culture, history and natural beauty. And if you’re feeling adventurous and want to try something new on your next trip—or even make a special occasion out of it—then go ahead: there are tons of wineries here where you can learn how they make their wine while enjoying some tastings in their tasting rooms!
You’ll be able to drive through rolling hills and vineyards on winding roads that lead into small towns. The Sierra Nevada Foothills Wine Country is so peaceful that it’ll make you forget all about the hustle bustle back home, even when you’re just stopping at one of its many tasting rooms! There are also plenty of places to camp out overnight if this isn’t enough time for your dream trip: there’s something in here every traveler needs.
Volcanoville Ghost town: Historic gold mining village
The town was founded in 1848 and named after the nearby Volcanoville Mine. The name was changed to Volcano when the town incorporated in 1864 due to confusion with other nearby towns called Volcanoville. The original site of Volcanoville is now submerged beneath Lake Camanche, a reservoir built by the United States Army Corps of Engineers at the request of an SP (now Union Pacific) railroad executive who wanted a larger lake so that he could use it as a recreation area for his employees.
Many buildings from its heyday remain along Highway 49 east of Valley Springs, including two-story brick Hotel de Paris (built in 1852), which still has several guest rooms available for rent ($80 per night). You can tour some abandoned mines here as well or simply enjoy what remains of this historic mining town on foot or bicycle ($10).
Gold Bug Mine Amador County, California
Gold Bug Mine is a gold mine in the Sierra Nevada foothills, located in Amador County at Gold Bug Park. It is named after the Gold Bug mine in Folsom, California. The town was a mining town between 1852 and 1856, when it was abandoned due to a lack of water for hydraulic mining operations. During its peak years, Gold Bug had about 500 residents who were engaged primarily in placer mining; however, some quartz mining also took place there during this period.
Gold Bug was one of many towns established during the California Gold Rush era which relied on careful planning for their survival. This can be seen through its location near two rivers that were used as sources for water (Hydraulic Mining), as well as efficient roadways connecting it other nearby cities (Placer).
Today you can visit this historic site where you’ll see remnants including adobe buildings used by miners and shops that sold supplies such as food and clothing — but be warned: no actual gold has been discovered here since they left!
Carson Hill Gold mine Columbia State Park, California
If you’re looking for a quick and easy gold mine to visit, Carson Hill Gold Mine is the place to go. The hike is only 1 mile long, so it’s a great option if you don’t have much time or energy. You can hike up the mountain and see where they dug out the gold. If you want to pan for gold, try your luck at one of the two streams that run through the park (one of which has waterfalls).
If you’d rather take an organized tour of a working mine, there are tours available that will take you deep into the earth where miners once worked at this very mine. You’ll learn about what life was like during their era before heading back up top again.
Stay the night in historic Sonora Ca. Known as the “Queen of the Southern Mines”, Sonora still holds on to its historic downtown charm while thriving as the commercial, government and cultural center for the region.
Its a great 5 day drive to get out of the city and into mother nature
The Gold Country is a perfect place to visit if you want to get out of the city and into nature. It’s great for families, couples, solo travelers, students and educators alike.
We hope that we have given you a sense of what it’s like to travel in Gold Country and the surrounding areas. There’s so much to see and do, both indoors and out; we could spend years exploring this area alone! If you’re looking for an adventure, come explore the California Gold Country with us. You won’t be disappointed!