Theres Gold in that there hills !
The time 1848, the place Sutter’s Mill. This was the start of the Great California Gold Rush. Over 300,000 people swarmed to California, known at 49ers (it took awhile for news to spread and for people to travel in those days!) and over tens of billions of (today’s $) dollars worth of gold was removed. Amazing!
The California Gold Country today is filled with museums, mines, old towns and a plenty of things to see and do. Just take a look at a potential Gold Country trip and some of the attractions along the way. To access it, the highway to travel is 49 (get it?) which starts at Oakhurst and travels 295 miles till it reaches the end at State Route 70 at Vinton. Along the way are some amazing gold rush era towns. Starting from the south with the beautiful town of Mariposa, also known as the gateway to Yosemite, make sure to visit the California State Mining and Mineral Museum and see the 13.8 pound specimen of crystalline gold discovered in the American River! The town also contains the Mariposa Museum & History Center. This is a lovingly assembled collection of artifacts and stories from the Gold Rush period. Moving North we come to Jamestown, with it’s pretty downtown and also home to Railtown 1897, State Historic Park. Next, another amazing town, Colombia State Historic Park.
Want to see what started the whole Gold Rush? Next, travel to the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, home of Sutter’s Mill.
Once the easy gold was removed from the surface, big industry was needed to pull it out of the hard rock underground. The Empire Mine State Historic Park provides a window into the world of hard rock mining, the scope and scale of the business and a view into the lives of those who worked in and benefited from the business. To give you a small taste of the wonder, imaging the fact that only 20% of the underground gold, 5.8 million ounces, is estimate to have been recovered, in over 365 miles of tunnels!
To add a little variation into your trip, connect with Interstate 80, travel East through Reno and then South on Route 395 and go to the silver mining town of Virginia City and down to the amazing ghost town of Bodie. These two will not disappoint!
For research into other Ghost Towns, try Ghosttowns.com