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Gold Country, California

The discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill (north of Placerville) in 1848 set off an unprecedented gold rush that brought hundreds of thousands of people to California - and the Sierra Nevada foothills.

Gold Country Map


The history of Placerville began with the "rush for gold" to California in the 1840’s. The highly publicized discovery of gold in the tailrace section at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma (only 10 miles from Placerville) in 1848 resulted in the migration of thousands of fortune-seekers to Northern California in the mid 1800’s. The town of Placerville was named after the placer deposits found in the river bed between Spanish Ravine and the town plaza. During the gold rush, Placerville became an important supply center for the surrounding mining camps.


Auburn is one of California’s earliest mining towns, situated in the heart of the Gold Country. During the Gold Rush in May of 1848, a miner by the name of Claude Chana was taking a short cut to meet his friend James Marshall and discovered gold in the Auburn Ravine. Auburn then became a shipping and supply center of hundreds of gold camps. In 1853, Auburn became the seat of Placer County, an honor befitting its stature as an important trading center and supply depot for the mines.


Coulterville was named after George W. Coulter, who in 1850 established some tent stores in the area with George Maxwell. The Mexican miners who were already working the area gave the town the name Banderita ("little flag") after a small American flag outside Coulter's tent. When the post office was established on Nov. 20, 1852, the town was given the name Maxwell's Creek, but in 1872, the name was changed to Coulterville.


Incorporated in 1851, this hastily established mining camp took on the identity of a town and while gold mining was the driving force of the City it quickly evolved into the commercial, government and cultural center for the region. The prosperity of California ’s “Mother Lode” that drew the gold seekers of yesteryear to this beautiful area is still being discovered today as Sonora remains the center of commerce for the region.


Columbia is a former California Gold Rush boom town that lives on as a state-preserved historic park and a National Historic Landmark that preserves the original, gold-rush-town flavor of the town, once dubbed the "Gem of the Southern Mines." Founded in 1850 by Mexican gold miners, it is in Tuolumne County, California, United States.


Tucked away in the tiny hamlet of Jamestown in the Sierra Nevada Foothills is this small historic site.  If you had just ridden into Jamestown, it's doubtful you'd even know this park existed.  Yet its location lends itself to convenience for riders traversing the foothills or headed over to Yosemite.  Located just minutes south of Sonora along Highway 108, Jamestown is just off the main highway.  There is the requisite gold rush style downtown area lending itself to small shops and old world charms.

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