1. El Dorado Hills
Begin your road trip in El Dorado Hills, the western gateway to El Dorado County along the fabulous Highway 50 corridor. The region is anchored by the El Dorado Hills Town Center, which boasts several unique restaurants that feature local wines, craft cocktails, and energetic vibes.
From here, head east on Highway 50, climbing into the Sierra Nevada Foothills. Take the road less traveled on the Mother Lode Drive/N. Shingle Road exit (EXIT 37).
Stay straight on Mother Lode Drive, then take a right onto Pleasant Valley Road to:
2. World Famous BBQ
Poor Red’s – A local icon with a colorful history. Originally built as a Wells Fargo Stagecoach stop, it became the property of Poor Red in 1945 when he won the bar in a game of dice! The roadhouse is now known for its BBQ and the world-famous cocktail they invented, the Golden Cadillac. Poor Reds sells more Galliano, an ingredient of this famous concoction, than anywhere else in the world!
3. Decadent Chocolate
Annabelle’s Chocolate Lounge is an award-winning gourmet chocolate shop and wine bar. Indulge in the large selection of handmade artisanal chocolates and local wines.
4. Craft Beer
Solid Ground Brewery – Crafting both traditional and cutting-edge beers and wines, Solid Ground also has a menu of creative snacks and meals that pair well with their beverages.
5. Authentic French Cuisine
Allez – Owner and Chef Christian Masse has worked all over the world and now has a tiny café tucked away off Highway 49, offering real French cuisine. Pick up a box lunch to go designed especially for wine tasters.
Next, follow Pleasant Valley Road to the “Rhone Zone.”
6. Winemaking traditions
Learn about biodynamic farming and winemaking at Narrow Gate Vineyards.
7. Wineries with a view
8. Take a wine tour
Take a wine tour at Miraflores Winery and find out what goes into making their award-winning wines.
9. Wineries off the beaten path
Fair Play – This region is home to more than 20 family-owned boutique wineries and is still a well-kept secret. Fair Play is known for producing robust, full-bodied wines grown in the highest elevations in California. Local vintners take pride in their land, their wines, and their customers. Make a vacation out of it and stay a night or two at one of the charming nearby bed and breakfast inns.
10. Alpacas in the Foothills
Alpacas of El Dorado – Wanna pet a real Alpaca? Here you can take a free ranch tour and mingle with members of the herd!
11. Bubbles and brunch
Enjoy Brunch in the Vines at Element 79 Vineyards.
Head back to E16 to Bucks Bar Road.
Left on Pleasant Valley Road.
Right on Highway 49, which drops you right into Placerville. This charming California Gold Rush town was named after the placer gold deposits found in its riverbeds and hills in the late 1840s. Today it’s known for its historic downtown filled with delightful boutiques, restaurants, and shops.