Famous Highway 49 lies only 45 minutes outside of Sacramento, where picturesque scenic Gold Rush-era towns and cities can be found. Many mix their heritage of both gold and agriculture, with wineries, shopping areas and farm-to-fork restaurants.
Gold Country is divided into several different regions. From north to south:
The most rugged of the Gold Country counties, this northern playground of the Sierra is a nature wonderland year-round. From the western deep river canyons and Sierra Buttes through the Lakes Basin with incredible fishing, hiking and winter sporting to the Sierra Valley, where generations of ranchers raise cattle, much is still the way it was during the Gold Rush.
Nevada County offers some of California's best Gold Rush history, abundant outdoor recreation and a wide variety of choices of dining, nightlife and lodging. The area is noted for being one of nature's brightest western fall-color canvases, particularly between mid-October and Thanksgiving.
From beautiful Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada to the historic mining communities of the foothills to the farms and ranches of the valley floor, Placer County has it all: arts and culture, history, agriculture, and recreational activities to suit every season.
El Dorado County
Visitors traveling Highway 50 will be charmed by the scenic variety this land has to offer from El Dorado Hills, a bustling business center surrounded by new housing developments, to South Lake Tahoe with its pristine crystal blue waters. The people are friendly and the weather is mild.
Travelers today find Sacramento to be the ideal jumping-off point in discovering gold. The Sacramento area has embraced the future and is a popular destination for those in search of modern-day gold - fun times, family-friendly events, great recreation, farm-to-fork dining and much more.
A host of activities awaits you in Amador County. The rolling foothills are dotted with quaint communities offering shopping, antiquing and cultural events answering the call of those looking for a slower-paced experience.
Calaveras County is fun! With its diverse terrain and year-round recreational opportunities, seeking refuge in wide-open spaces, embarking on a wild adventure or anything in between is possible at any given moment.
Once home to the Mi-Wuk Indians, Sonora, the Tuolumne County seat, still evinces vestiges of the gamblers, outlaws, miners and painted ladies who made the town their home in its frontier heyday.
As the largest of California's original 27 counties, Mariposa County is known as the "Mother of Counties." Today, visitors can experience a sense of what life was like during the Gold Rush by visiting its museums and history centers.
Gold Country's famed Highway 49, known as the Golden Chain, starts in the Madera County community of Oakhurst. Named for the famous "49ers" who came to California during the Gold Rush, this is one of several scenic routes within the region.
E-news sign up
Free Visitors Guide
by the people and places of Sacramento in the digital Visitors Guide.