Family Vacations to Gold Country
California Gold Panning and Prospecting Trips ...
Relive the 1849 Gold Rush by visiting California's Gold Country Region. You'll be delighted to see that
a great deal of our gold rush heritage has been well preserved, with many restored old mining towns.
Take a mine tour, pan for gold, visit ghost towns, ride a stagecoach or a historic steam train, enjoy
beautiful scenery, camp, hike, swim, explore caverns, go river rafting, see a spectacular grove of giant
sequoia trees, or maybe even strike it rich. With so much to see and do there is bound to be something
The discovery of gold here in 1848 touched off
the largest gold rush in history. Reminders of
California's Gold Rush era can be found
everywhere along historic Highway 49. California's
Gold Country stretches over 320 miles from Sierra
City to the foothills of Yosemite, and connects many
of the oldmining towns of the Motherlode. One of
the best preserved towns near the center of Gold
Country is Sutter Creek. It is approximately 55 miles
southeast of Sacramento, and would serve you well
as a base while exploring the region.
There is so much to see and do that you could
literally spend weeks exploring the area.
However, here are some good ideas if you only have a few days to spend:
Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park
Located in Coloma, just 36 miles north of Sutter Creek, Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park is
the place where James W. Marshall found shining flecks of gold in the tailrace of the sawmill he was
building for himself and John Sutter. See a replica of the original sawmill and over 20 historic buildings.
Try panning for gold in the American River and enjoy hikes and picnics here.
Calaveras Big Trees State Park
Around 55 miles southeast of Sutter Creek, you
have the opportunity to see a spectacular grove
of giant sequoias in their natural setting. Other
attractions in the Park include the Stanislaus
River, Beaver Creek, the Lava Bluff Trail and
Bradley Trail. The Park also houses two main
campgrounds with a total of 129 campsites,
six picnic areas and hundreds of miles of
Railtown 1897 State Historic Park
Located in Jamestown, about 46 miles south of Sutter Creek, Railtown 1897 State Historic Park is home
to the Historic Jamestown Shops and Roundhouse—an intact and functioning steam locomotive repair
facility, portions of which date back to 1897. In spring, summer, and fall, climb aboard a vintage steam-
powered excursion train. Trains operate every Saturday and Sunday, April through October, departing
from the Railtown Depot on-the-hour 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Enjoy a six-mile, 40-minute roundtrip ride
through the scenic Sierra foothills.
Yosemite National Park
Located a little over 90 miles southeast of Sutter Creek, Yosemite National Park is truly a "must see"
with spectacular waterfalls, mountains, cliffs, redwoods, wildlife, and incredible vistas and trails.
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California Gold Company
Located near Jamestown, geologist Joshua Vick provides gold mining trips and gold panning tours on
the famous Woods Creek. His trips have been featured on television, and are fun for the entire family.
Gold Prospecting Adventures
In Jamestown, the 1849 Gold Mining Camp is an exact replica of the original, and is located on the site
of the original camp. They offer gold prospecting courses, family trips, and other packages. The camp
has over 25 attractions so there is something fun for everyone.
Here are some gold panning photos from our visit in 2008.
Roaring Camp Mining Company
Located in Pine Grove, California, Roaring Camp is an old gold mining camp on the Mokelumne River.
Previously only accessible by horseback, most of the gold still remains. Visitors can see the operating
gold mine, plus they can mine their own gold by panning, sluicing, dredging, or dry washing.
Hopefully, this short article has given you a little taste of California's Gold Country, and provided you
with some good ideas for your next family vacation. Our family really enjoys the great outdoors. There
is nothing like being out in the fresh air, enjoying beautiful scenery, and having fun together as a family.
Have fun, stay safe, and good luck prospecting.
No trip to California's Gold Country is complete without going on a serious gold
mining or gold panning outing. There are a number of well established
companies in the area that can provide you with just the gold prospecting trip
that you need. Several top rated companies are listed below: