Running from Downieville in the north to the Millertown Lake in the South, the Gold Country’s slice of California is nestled between the Central Valley and the High Sierra. Hidden among the picturesque foothills of this region are many gems in historic downtowns, award winning wineries, fine restaurants, and enchanting bed and breakfasts.
Famous for mineral deposits and gold mines, and home to Coloma, the site where gold was first discovered in California, this region still attracts prospectors. Many abandoned mines dot the landscape, leaving gaping black holes to the history of another time. Empire Mine in Grass Valley is the site of the oldest, largest, and richest gold mine in California. From 1850 to its closing in 1956, it produced 5.8 million ounces of gold. Reminders of this abundantly rich history can be found everywhere along Hwy 49 as it winds and meanders through the Mother Lode mining towns of days gone by.
Fed by the crystal clear runoff from the Sierra, plenty lakes and rivers present exceptional recreational opportunities including white water rafting, hiking, mountain biking, boating, and fishing. The South Yuba River area includes the longest single-span covered bridge in the world, and the Independence Trail - the first identified wheelchair-accessible wilderness trail in the country. Mountain bike and hiking trails are everywhere along the American River. Stop in to the local ranger station along Hwy. 49 just south of Auburn & ask for a free map.
Popular destinations include: Folsom Lake, home to one of the largest inland marinas; Nevada City, listed on the National Register of Historic Places and considered to be among the best-preserved towns of the West; Main Street in Historic Jamestown, a step back in time with a mixture of buildings from different eras; and Mammoth Bar OHV Area which offers a wide range of trails and conditions in a beautiful setting next to the Middle Fork of the American River.