Amador County is one of California’s most historic regions located in the Sierra Nevada Foothills about 45 miles southeast of Sacramento. The area attracted miners when gold was discovered on the site of Sutter’s Mill, a fort built to protect American securities from occupying explorers and Native American tribes. Although original buildings in most gold rush-era towns have burned down, today’s tourists to Amador County still can enjoy many of the original mining locations, buildings and remainders that remain of this historical era.
Coloma and Sutter’s Mill
In 1848, Captain John Sutter discovered several gold flakes while panning in Coloma. Word spread quickly which initiated the California Gold Rush of 1849.
People poured into California during 1849. By the 1850s miners were coming from places all over the world—Britain, Europe, China, Australia, North and South America.
After the gold slowed down many miners headed home. But others took a second look at California and liked what they saw. The pioneers found the land unbelievably productive, and ultimately California’s great wealth came not from its mines but from its farms.
In the city Coloma you can visit the site of Sutter’s Mill and see a working reproduction of Sutter’s Mill. Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park also features a museum, many original and restored buildings, and costumed volunteers. You can even pan for gold!
Sutter Creek is an old Gold Mining town from the Gold rush days. It offers a quaint shopping district composed of historic buildings, antique shops, bed and breakfasts and restaurants. The city is within minutes of the Shenandoah Valley Wine Country, where small, family owned wineries take a casual, friendly approach to wine tasting.
There are many Sutter Creek accommodations however the bed and breakfasts are beyond charming and some exude history.
The Sutter Creek Inn,
The first bed and breakfast in California. Built in 1859, this 17-room inn has operated for more than 40 years.
75 Main St Sutter Creek, CA 95685
Grey Gables Inn,
This beautiful Inn, offers eight comfortable guest rooms, a formal dining room, and a large parlor with a double alcove. Guests often remark that this Sutter Creek Inn has the unmistakable look and feel of an English Country Manor. The gardens are peaceful and charming, enough so to wash away all your cares. Indulge in a gourmet breakfast and delight in afternoon tea.
161 Hanford St Sutter Creek, CA 95685
Hanford House Inn,
Relax and rejuvenate at this inviting red brick inn located in quaint downtown Sutter Creek. You’ll experience warm hospitality and a comfortable ambiance.
61 Hanford Street Sutter Creek, CA 95685
Amador City is a small but notable gold mining town. This delightful town is filled with authentic historic buildings from the Gold Rush. you will find travelers from all over the world looking through the many antique stores, boutiques, and museums. And when it’s time to eat you have dining options, ranging from an old fashioned soda fountain to gourmet dining. You will enjoy this quaint town so much you may want to stay in one of the two historic bed and breakfast inns located right in town.
Lodging in Amador City –
Mine House Inn
Historic B&B and Gold Room Dining
A peaceful retreat located in the heart of the Gold Country. Gold Rush history, Victorian era antiques, and modern amenities combine to create a welcome retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life with eight historic rooms and 5 luxury suites with whirlpool tubs for two, full gourmet breakfast and beautifully landscaped grounds with waterfall.
14125 Hwy 49, Amador City, CA
Bed & Breakfast
Step through the front doors and enter into another era of gold miners and Victorian visitors. The restored 1879 Imperial Hotel offers six guest rooms with private, modern baths and modern amenities throughout. Breakfast is included daily and if dining in our restaurant, dinner reservations are recommend.
P.O. Box 195, Amador City, CA
Volcano has got to be one of the Mother Lode’s most picturesque towns. The town is named for it’s setting in a bowl-shaped valley which early miners thought was caused by a volcano. The town dates back to the late 1850’s and was originally nicknamed “Crater City”.
In 1851 a post office was established and by April 1852 there were 300 houses, and by 1853 there were 11 stores, 6 hotels, 3 bakeries, and 3 saloons. In 1858 two mills with 8-stamps and six arrastres were in operation. Hydraulic operations began in 1855 and by 1867 most of the mining operations were idle.
Since Volcano is not located on highway 49, it has escaped commercialization that can be seen along HWY 49, with many of its buildings dating back to the 1850’s Volcano is a must see!
One of the best things to see in Volcano are the caverns – Black Chasm Caverns which was designated a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service in 1976.
There is a wide variety of formations including stalactites, stalagmites, flowstones and the rare helictite crystals, for which Black Chasm Cavern is very famous for.
Amador County Wineries
Thanks to early settlers, some of California’s oldest vineyards are in Amador County. Snuggled in the Shenandoah Valley, northeast of Plymouth, wineries reflect the continued attention on using nature’s resources for the economy in the wine business.
Visiting Amador wineries within the area’s rolling hills and beautiful oak trees is a unique and unaffected experience. With views across peaceful valleys, views of river canyons, and views of the grand Sierra, every day is a great experience at an Amador winery. Wineries reflect the simple and humble character of Amador County, ingrained in history.
As they say in Amador County “Come visit the jewel of the Sierra Foothills, where there’s gold in the ground and in your glass”