Northern California Gold Country: Feel the Forty-Niner Fever
In 1848, a sparkle in the American River caught the eye of a sawmill carpenter named James Marshall. It was a nugget of pure gold. His lucky find kicked off the Gold Rush, and soon more than 300,000 prospectors arrived in California to make their fortune – or die trying.
Glimmers of this rough-and-tumble era are evident at every turn in Gold Country. See pioneer architecture in Old Sacramento and wooden saloons along scenic Highway 49. Visit boomtowns and ghost towns – and then enjoy the present moment at farm-to-table restaurants, wine tasting rooms, and art galleries.
Enjoy cool tours and museums in Sacramento before traveling to the Sierra Nevada foothills for whitewater rafting, caving, and gold panning. Less expensive and loaded with fun things to do, Gold County is a hit with families and adventurers.
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Top Things to Do
Historic Attractions: Gold Rush Towns and the Wild West
Experience the exact place where the Gold Rush began at the Marshall Gold Discovery Site. Pan for gold on the river near a replica of Sutter’s Sawmill. Encounter an authentic Gold Rush town (complete with costumed actors) at Columbia State Historic Park. Dive deeper into history on the boardwalk-style sidewalks of Old Sacramento and discover how the “iron horse” shaped the Old West at the California State Railroad Museum.
Yosemite National Park: Pure American Wilderness
Breathe deep the fresh air and bathe your spirit in the natural beauty of this epic national park. Scramble up granite outcroppings and marvel at cascading waterfalls. Stumble upon groves of soaring giant sequoia trees. Hike forest trails and cruise scenic byways. From the sheer rock face of El Capitan to the graceful tumble of Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite’s wild nature and stunning stature will captivate you to the core.
Exhilarating Tours: Mines, Caverns, and Dinner Trains
Find tours of speakeasies, underground passageways, haunted homes, and foodie hotspots in Old Sacramento, an epicenter of activity. Zip around on a Segway or take a cruise on a paddlewheel boat. Board the Sacramento River Train in Woodland for a scenic ride in an antique railcar. Embrace the true spirit of Gold Country on expeditions to gold mines, caves, pioneer cemeteries, and saloons.
Shopping in Gold Country: Outlets Deals and Upscale Malls
Find the perfect piece to accent your laid-back California look. Shop inside and out at Downtown Plaza in Sacramento, an appealing stretch of department stores, trendy restaurants, and entertainment. Shop at Nordstrom and 165 other retailers nearby at Arden Fair Mall. In Roseville, Westfield Galleria is the place to go for chic designer fashions. Love a good deal? Buy discounted merchandise at over 150 outlet stores including Guess and Calvin Klein at Folsom Outlets.