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el dorado county mining building

El Dorado County Road Trips: California’s First Road Trip

Gold! The cry went up from Sutter’s Mill and brought tens of thousands stampeding into California from the four corners of the world. These ’49ers established hundreds of instant mining towns along the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Many of these historic and picturesque towns still exist, linked by California Highway 49, and retain their early architecture and charm, living reminders of the rich history of the Mother Lode.

1. Placerville Hardware Store

Don’t miss Placerville Hardware Store, “the oldest hardware Store West of the Mississippi.”

2. Learn the History of Hangtown

Stop by Fountain-Tallman Museum to find out more about the history of “Old Hangtown” or schedule a guided tour.

3. Stock Up for a Picnic

Pick up some house-made sausages and charcuterie and picnic provisions to take on the road at Dedrick’s Cheese.

4. Explore the Gold Mines

At the Gold Bug Park & Mine, a self-guided audio tour takes you on an exploration 352 feet into a real gold mine.

Trace the steps of the pioneers driving north on Highway 49 to Coloma.

5. The site of gold discovery

It was here, on January 24, 1848, that James Marshall discovered gold, touching off the most enormous gold rush in history. Marshall Gold State Discovery State Park.

6. Grab a Bite

Argonaut Farm to Fork Cafe – Grab a bite at a cozy café where you’ll find organic and seasonal foods from the area.

7. Take a Scenic Hike

Dave Moore Nature Area. Stretch your legs on this one-mile loop trail that leads to the South Fork of the American River.

Once you reach the town of Cool, take a right on Highway 193.

8. Historic Georgetown Main Street

Georgetown Main Street looks much as it did long ago, with wide streets and historic buildings. Take a self-guided stroll of the main street and check out the eateries, the Art on the Divide Art Gallery, and unique shops with their trinkets and treasures. One can’t-miss here is the iconic Georgetown Hotel & Saloon, rumored to be home to several ghosts!

Try unique cocktails paired with creative dishes at the new Georgetown Distillery. Favorites include the Bordeaux Sour (made with their own rye whiskey) and the Quail Wellington with wild mushroom gravy.

Once sated, continue back to Placerville on scenic Highway 193 following the magnificent ridgeline, crossing over the American River.

Keep Exploring

Upcoming El Dorado County Events

El Dorado County Road Trips: California’s First Road Trip
El Dorado County Road Trips: California’s First Road Trip
El Dorado County Road Trips: California’s First Road Trip
El Dorado County Road Trips: California’s First Road Trip
el dorado county wagon

Community Events Calendar

September 21, 2023
12:00 pm Live Music, Arts, & Quality Entertainment at The Green Room Social Club
4:00 pm Dinner Station Farmers Market
4:00 pm Dinner Station Farmers Market
September 22, 2023
9:00 am Open Garden Days at Sherwood Demonstration Garden
5:00 pm Live Music and Wood Fired Pizza Fridays
5:30 pm Malicious Monster Truck Show
7:00 pm Imagination Theater presents Clue Onstage