Discover Gold Country
Laura Flippen

Central California

Discover Gold Country

23
July
Average (°C)
June - Aug
33°
High
13°
Low
Sept - Nov
30°
High
6°
Low
Dec - Feb
15°
High
3°
Low
Mar - May
26°
High
6°
Low

Bumping up against the west side of the Sierra Nevada Range, on California’s eastern side, the Sierra foothills that make up the Gold Country are California Classics.

Discovery of gold in 1848 sparked the largest mass migration in U.S. history, with more than 300,000 pioneers heading west.

Here, the state’s past, present, and future merge into one unforgettable destination. Pan for gold like a 49er, bike through meadow-and-oak countryside, and raft a rapid-filled river, then explore historic towns with Old West architecture and a new generation of pioneers, opening up outstanding wineries, farm-to-table restaurants, inviting shops, and charming B&Bs.

During California's Gold Rush, over 25 million ounces of gold were mined from the Sierra Nevada foothills.
Spotlight: Sacramento

Spotlight: Sacramento

Golden past, bright future

Like many cities, California’s state capital is undergoing an energetic renaissance. Young adults looking for an urban vibe are moving into this...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Farm-fresh produce, culinary adventures

Juicy heirloom tomatoes and just-picked strawberries. Super-sweet peaches shaped like mini UFOs. Artisan cheeses, emerald-green olive oils, local...

10 Top Farmers Markets
Laura Flippen
Nevada City
Laura Flippen

Nevada City

Great food, wine, and shows find a home in the Mother Lode

This forest-wrapped hamlet of handsome Victorian-era homes and tree-lined streets 60 miles north-east of Sacramento is one of the Gold Country’s...

Empire Mine State Historic Park
Lorres Gold Mine

Empire Mine State Historic Park

Tour a Gold Rush mansion then go underground

Get a one-two punch of experiences with a visit to this remarkable site in Grass Valley, roughly 60 miles north-east of Sacramento. First, spend...

SPECIAL FEATURE
From Gold Rush history to 8th wonders of the world, visit these favorites

If there was ever a box of chocolates—and all of them delicious—it’s the...

Must-See State Parks
Amy Meredith/Flickr
Auburn
Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Auburn

Explore an ideally situated Gold Country town with a sporty side

History and modern culture merge with outdoor adventure in this appealing town on the west side of the Sierra Nevada. While Auburn has long been...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Take on whitewater rapids, pan for gold and explore California history

Pluck a bit of gold from a riverbed scoured by the original ’49ers. Descend deep into the earth to check out unusual rock formations. Get your...

9 Family-Friendly Gold Rush Adventures
The American River
Rob Brodman

The American River

Rush for gold, rush for adrenaline

The most popular white water-rafting river in the West, the American tumbles through the Gold Country, an inviting jumble of churning rapids, deep...

Columbia State Historic Park
Laura Flippen

Columbia State Historic Park

Step into the 1850s in this Gold Country gem

With throw-back charm and a mine-full of historic artefacts, this park presents the Gold Rush in living, breathing colour. Costumed docents...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Elegant estates, relaxed wineries, urban tasting rooms

Elegant estates at the end of country roads lined with vineyards? Check. Low-key wineries housed in converted barns? Check again. Urban...

12 Wine Country Destinations
Sip Wine in the Gold Country
Laura Flippen

Sip Wine in the Gold Country

Sample vintages from old vines and new varietals

The roots of old Zinfandel grapevines run deep in this north-eastern region of California, with wine making here dating back to the Gold Rush days...

Murphys
Jenny Martin

Murphys

Explore a blossoming country town with big-city appeal

Like San Francisco in the mid-1800s, Murphys was one of California’s richest boom towns, but this appealing town in Calaveras County still feels...

Mar 1
September

“Mountains. Magic. Music.” The tagline of this lively, four-day event says it all. Families and fans are encouraged to turn the event into a giant...

Strawberry Music Festival
Courtesy of Strawberry Music Festival
Apple Hill
Jenny Pfeiffer

Apple Hill

Wine, beer, a bliss-out spa—and juicy, sweet apples

Autumn in the Gold Country means clear blue skies, fiery red grapevines and an invigorating snap in the air. It’s apple season too, with more than...

May

America's largest and most prestigious cycling event brings many of the world’s top riders to the Golden State. The 8-stage race changes it up...

Amgen Tour of California
Amgen Tour of California
Moaning Cavern
Jenny Ella Pfeiffer

Moaning Cavern

Walk, climb, or rappel into a subterranean wonderland

Discovered by miners in 1851, this vertical chamber near Angels Camp is so massive it is the largest public cavern in California—big enough to...

Jamestown

Jamestown

Climb aboard majestic locomotives for a cruise through the Sierra foothills

The Hollywood film industry’s attraction to Railtown 1897 State Historic Park has helped keep its steam-hissing locomotives and railway carriages...

Sutter's Fort State Historic Park was the first permanent European settlement in the Central Valley.
SPECIAL FEATURE
Hands-on fun for all at farms, ranches, and fields statewide

Milk cows, wake up to roosters crowing, feast on farm-to-table foods served in the shade of a blooming orchard—California has a...

Amazing Agritourism Experiences
Tai Power Seeff
California Gold

Trip 4 days 10 stops

California Gold

Whitewater Rafting, Tucked-Away Wineries
Sacramento

Begin your trip in the center of the state, home to the capital city of Sacramento. Like many cities, California’s state capital is undergoing an energetic renaissance. Young adults looking for an urban vibe are moving into this low-key city, with microbreweries, gastropubs, and trendy boutiques...

Columbia State Historic Park

With throwback charm and a treasure trove of historic artifacts, this park presents the Gold Rush in living, breathing color. Costumed docents do more than lead tours of this carefully preserved Mother Lode town—the state’s second largest city at the peak of the Gold Rush; they actually live and...