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Top Destinations  ·  Northern California  ·  Historic Gold Country

Sacramento - Nevada City - Sutter Creek - Jamestown - Highway 49 - Gold Country Vacation Travel Guide to Recreation and Activities

Explore the historic towns dotting the foothills of the Sierra or head into a National Forest for hiking or rafting.  Visit the extraordinary State Capitol or learn about the wines being made in the valleys and hills once overrun by prospectors and mining operations.  A string of State Parks are located near the main artery, Highway 49.
 
Things to do in Historic Gold Country and Sacramento: 
 
California State Capitol, Sacramento. Neoclassic domed building surrounded by 40 acre Capitol Park with 300+ species of trees from many countries. (916) 324-0333.
California State Railroad Museum, 2nd and I Sts., Sacramento. Locomotives from the 1860s to 1950s, railroad displays, and toy trains.
(916) 445-4209.

Crocker Art Museum, Second and O Sts., Sacramento. Fine gallery in a beautifully restored mansion.
(916) 264-5423.

Old Sacramento, Sacramento. The largest collection of Gold Rush-era buildings now houses restaurants and shops.
(916) 264-7777.

Waterworld USA, 1600 Exposition Blvd, Sacramento. Includes wave pool and 9 waterslides.
(916) 924-0556.

Arco Arena, Sacramento. Special events and performances. Home to the NBA's Sacramento Kings.
(916) 928-8499.

Daffodil Hill, 14 miles east of Sutter Creek on Shake Ridge Rd. Four acre farm with 300,000 daffodils. Open all year; flowers bloom mid-March through mid-April.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, on Hwy 4, 15 miles northeast of Murphys. Includes two giant sequoia groves. One mile easy trail through North Grove and 3.5 mile South Grove loop trail.
(209) 795-2334.

Columbia State Historic Park. Restored Gold Rush town with re-created businesses and costumed employees.
(209) 532-0150.

Empire Mine State Historic Park, 1.5 miles south of Grass Valley. California's largest and richest mine.
(530) 273-8522.

Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park. Site of California's largest hydraulic mine. (530) 265-2740.

Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, Coloma. Replica of Sutter's Mill, site of original Gold Rush vein.
(530) 622-3470.

Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, 5th & Reservoir Sts., Jamestown. Operating roundhouse and turn-of-the-century steam engines.
(209) 984-3953. Train rides weekends April-Nov.

California State Mining and Mineral Museum, Mariposa. Changing exhibits on history and technology of California mining.
(209) 742-7625.

Eldorado  National Forest. Covers over 675,000 acres in the Sierra Nevada southwest of Lake Tahoe. Includes Desolation and a portion of Mokelumne Wilderness Areas. Many small lakes.
(916) 644-6048.
 
Auburn, old town south of I-80. Many restored Gold Rush-era buildings.

Columbia. The center of town is preserved as Columbia State Historic Park. Stagecoach rides available.

Downieville. Gold Rush town along the banks of the North Yuba River.

Grass Valley. Historic town center retains its links to the Gold Rush.

Groveland. This Gold Rush town serves as a gateway to Yosemite.

Jackson. Old center with preserved buildings and National Hotel invites exploration on foot.

Jamestown. Main Street is favorite site for Western films.

Locke. America's last Chinese rural town. Along with adjacent Walnut Grove, the most interesting Delta towns.

Murphys. Fine old Gold Rush town with many nearby attractions.

Nevada City. One of the finest Gold Rush towns. Wonderful buildings in a wooded valley.

Sonora. Large Gold Rush town built against Sierra foothills.

Sutter Creek. One of the finest Gold Rush towns, with arcaded sidewalks along Main Street.

Volcano. Unspoiled, nearly vacated Gold Rush town.

Lower American River. Easy rafting river with good access.

Merced River. Beautiful river with advanced rafting amid gorgeous scenery. Commercial trips available.
(530) 985-4474 Bureau of Land Management.

Middle Fork American River. Exquisite river offers challenging white water rafting. Commercial trips available.
(530) 333-4312 Eldorado National Forest.

North Fork American River. Difficult white water rafting in superb scenery. Commercial trips available.
(530) 985-4474 Bureau of Land Management.

North Yuba River. Beautiful river offers river rafting opportunities. Commercial trips available.

South Fork American River. County's most popular river rafting location. Good choice for beginners with half-day to two day trips.
(916) 985-4474 Bureau of Land Management, (916) 985-4474 Resource Center.

Stanislaus River. River offers dramatic beauty and exciting white water rafting. Commercial trips available.

Tuolumne River. Wildly exciting river offers challenging white water rafting; commercial trips available.
(209) 962-7825 Stanislaus National Forest.  

   


 
Photos.com
River-rafting is a thrill for whitewater lovers on the American River

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