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Nevada County Visitor Information:
An area rich in historic gold
rush memorabilia and the traditional charm of Old West hospitality, Nevada City and Grass Valley reflect the original beauty
of legendary days of the past. Nevada City, originally called “Deer Creek Dry Diggins” by its early settlers has
many restored buildings, shops, carriage rides and local wineries. Grass Valley's Northstar and Empire Mines were truly the
largest producing mines in the west for hard rock gold. True to the appellation “Queen City of the Northern Mines”
Nevada City is an active center, including The Miner’s Foundry Cultural Center located on Spring Street which presents
many major events for the area. KVMR FM is supported by a crew of volunteers and beams its signal all the way to the Sacramento
Valley. The Nevada Theatre built in 1865, the oldest continuous running theatre in California is invariably well attended
for theater productions, films and events.
Nevada City: Historic District, Shops, Restaurants.
The Queen City of the Northern Mines. A story-book town that holds its place among the historic revival phenomena of the Gold
Rush period. Picturesque with Victorian homes. It's streets are erratic miners' trails coming down from the hills.
Firehouse Museum No.1 214 Main St. 265-5468. Indian and mining era artifacts.
• Searls Historical Library214 Church
St. 265-5910. By appointment.
• Miners' Foundry Cultural Center 325 Spring St. 265-5040. Stone building (1856)
Nevada Theater 401 Broad St. 265-6161. Oldest surviving theater in CA.
• National Hotel 211 Broad St. 265-4551.
Oldest running hotel in CA.
Grass Valley: Historic District, Shops, Restaurants. Streets originally
built for horse and buggies, are quite narrow. The Empire Mine nearby stands as the areas most profitable mining operation,
once visited by great dignitaries.
• Northstar Mining Allison Ranch Rd. & Mc Courtney Rd. 273-4255. Seasonal
Museum tours of mining and powerhouse exhibit.
• Grass Valley Museum St. Joseph's Cultural Center, Church &
Chapel St. 272-8188.
• Lola Montez Home 248 Mill St. 273-4667.
• Holbrooke Hotel 212 W. Main St. 530/273-1353.
Built in 1852, this hotel has lodged many famous visitors.
Penn Valley: Small hamlet near Lake Wildwood,
a popular private resort and residential area. Museum of Ancient 530.432.3080 Ancient cultures, impressionists, and Modern
Art, African, historical art. Daily Wildwood Business Ctr
Rising Star Ranch ...horse photos by
Rough and Ready: Historic District, Shops, Restaurants. A small town Rough and Ready was once a
busy mining town. After the fires of 1856 and 1859 had all but wiped out the place, only twenty-four houses were left in the
town. A few older buildings still stand. The Fippin blacksmith shop, is on the left of the road towards Grass Valley off Hwy
20. Known for its attempted secession from the Union in 1850.
Rollins Reservoir: Rollins Lake Waterskiing,
fishing and most types of water recreation. 800 acre lake east of Nevada City and Grass Valley. Boat ramps available. Rainbow
and brown trout, largemouth and smallmouth bass, with very large catfish and smaller warm-eater varieties including bluegills
and sunfish. Access from Highway 174 between Grass Valley and Colfax. Access off Highway 174 between Grass Valley and Colfax.
Flat Reservoir: Boating, Swimming, Fishing. Boat rentals available with concrete boat launching ramp, and marina
in operation. Rainbow and brown trout, smallmouth and large mouth bass and kokanee. Complete boat-launching facilities are
available. Access off Highway 20 east of Nevada City.
Whitewater:South Yuba (Washington to Edwards
Crossing). This Class III and Class IV whitewater run is a very accessible reach of the South Yuba River. Characterized by
gravel bars; with bedrock and a boulder gorge. Access at the Washington Road Bridge just north of Washington.
Yuba (Edwards Crossing to Purdon Crossing). This section of the So. Yuba River available only when river flows are high (350
cubic feet per second or more). The river is Class II and Class IV whitewater, and is used only by groups of well-skilled
boaters. Access at Edwards Crossing on North Bloomfield Road north of Nevada City.
and Golden Quartz picnic areas. The So. Yuba River provides swimming, season runs July through September. Both picnic areas
are upstream on the So. Yuba from Washington; cross the bridge at the north side of Washington and turn right.
Lake This lake in Malakoff Diggins State Park provides swimming July through September. Access via North Bloomfield Rd. north
of Nevada City or Tyler Foote Crossing east of North San Juan.
Highway 49's Nevada City/Grass Valley are an hour’s
drive from Sacramento or Lake Tahoe. Towns along the Golden Chain invite visitors to take a step back to the days of discovery
and California’s 1849 gold rush.
Exploring Grass Valley and Nevada City
The calendar may
say 2005, but all around the Northern Sierra Gold Rush towns of Nevada City and Grass Valley it looks, feels and even sounds
like the 1850s.
A trend in historical tourism is bringing more visitors to scenic and history-rich Nevada County on
the western slope of the Sierra Nevada, between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe. The peaceful towns of Nevada City and Grass Valley
are located just five miles apart, far from the busy interstate highway system, along the northern reaches of Highway 49,
the state’s “Golden Chain Highway.”
Here, amid deep green forests at the 2500-foot elevation, visitors
can explore quaint villages with fine examples of restored Victorian architecture, museums filled with gold mining, railroad
and Donner Party memorabilia, and living history demonstrations where costumed characters step from the past.
the years artists and musicians have been drawn to the area and Grass Valley and Nevada City have evolved into a Sierra foothills
entertainment center. Arts and culture abound and live music can be found just about every evening. Concerts, festivals, parades,
even the second oldest bicycle race in America can be found here every summer.
The area boasts several hotels, including
the Holbrooke and National -- two of the state’s oldest -- more than a dozen historic bed and breakfast inns and a number
of quality restaurants.
Downtown Historic Districts
Preserved and restored Gold Rush buildings
with unique specialty shops and restaurants fill the robust and lively historic districts of each town. Downtown Nevada City,
with 93 buildings, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Horsedrawn carriage rides and railroad tours are
available in Nevada City. Three wine tasting rooms are offered in each of the towns.
Historical Sites and
Once California’s richest gold mine, the Empire Mine produced an estimated 5.8 million ounces
of gold in more than 100 years of operation and is now an 800-acre state park at the edge of Grass Valley. Tours are offered
daily with living history days on most weekends. For information, call 530/273-8522. Minutes from the downtown historic districts,
visitors will find bounteous opportunities for outdoor recreation, including camping, fishing, golf, hiking and mountain biking.
South Yuba River State Park. The state’s first river corridor park is headquartered at Bridgeport,
site of the west’s longest single-span covered bridge. Visitors may take part in tours, bird walks, wildflower walks
and living history days with wagon rides, gold panning and demonstrations of Native American crafts. 530/432-2546
Diggins State Historic Park operated into the mid-1880s. The hydraulic miners at Malakoff Diggins blew away entire
hillsides with highly-pressurized water in their quest for gold, leading to erosion and silt in Northern California rivers
and the state’s first environmental law. Visitors can tour the diggins, see the 1800s town of North Bloomfield and take
part in campfire programs, historic walks and gold panning. 530/265-2740.
The North Star Mining Museum
in Grass Valley offers a complete look at hard rock, underground mining history. The Firehouse Museum in Nevada City focuses
on several subjects including the Donner Party. The area’s newest museum, the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad and
Transportation Museum, features local and regional railroad history. On Donner Summit, a scenic 40-minute drive to the east,
the Western SkiSport Museum is one of America’s foremost skiing museums.
Grass Valley and Nevada City are located
in the Sierra foothills, a one-hour drive northeast of Sacramento via Interstate 80 and State Highway 49.
Grass Valley’s first settlers arrived in 1848 via the Emigrant Trail over Donner Pass and lingered
in a “grassy valley” along Wolf Creek. By 1867, gold-laden Grass Valley had grown into the fifth largest town
in California, with a population of 12,000. Today, it is home to about 10,000.
In more than a century of gold mining,
Grass Valley became the richest and most important gold mining center in California. The Empire Mine alone produced some $960
million in gold during its 107 years of operation. Today, the Empire Mine is the site of an 800-acre state park.
Valley itself remains a true slice of Americana where mining tradition lives on and hometown merchants do business with a
smile and handshake.
Where The Past is Always Present
Nevada City was first incorporated in 1850
and known in its early years as Nevada (Spanish for snow-covered). The city was added after the State of Nevada joined the
union in 1864. Delightfully picturesque with its white church steeples, Victorian homes and brick storefronts, Nevada City
is among California’s best-preserved towns. It is the county seat of Nevada County, California.
narrow streets and visit with friendly shopkeepers. Dine in award-winning restaurants, many with outdoor and creekside settings.
Enjoy live music at local nightspots and live theatre on three stages.
Rough & Ready
tiny village of Rough & Ready, seven miles west of Grass Valley, is a state historic landmark that once seceded from the
United States. Local folks rebelled against a government-imposed mining tax and on Apr. 7, 1850 voted to form their own constitutional
republic. However, The Great Republic of Rough & Ready lasted only until the Fourth of July when Old Glory went up the
flagpole and the whole episode became history. But it was not forgotten. Each year on the last Sunday in June, Rough &
Ready hosts a unique and fun-filled Secession Day Celebration.
Penn Valley began
as a stage and freight wagon stop on the route between Sacramento and the northern gold country and silver mines of Nevada.
The area remains rural, with cattle ranches and vineyards dotting the landscape.
Western Gateway Regional Park and
Lake Wildwood, with its lake and championship golf, are nearby. The fire department hosts the Penn Valley Rodeo every April.
This is the site of what is believed to be the longest single-span covered bridge
in the U.S. The 253-foot-long wooden structure was built in 1862 to carry wagons across the South Yuba River. Today the bridge
is a centerpiece of a river recreation area operated by the California Department of Parks and Recreation.
swimming and sunning in the summer, the area offers a network of year-around hiking trails and features some of the Sierra
foothills’ best wildflowers in the spring. Bridgeport is reached from Grass Valley via westbound Highway 20 and northbound
Pleasant Valley Road. It’s a 14-mile drive.
Bridgeport: Recreation, So. Fork of the Yuba
River. Swimming, hiking and fishing. The oldest covered bridge in California, the bridge spans the South Yuba River.
Corral: Historic buildings. Milton Mining and Water Company and the old Wells Fargo Express office equipped with
iron doors still stand. The first long distance hook up for telephone here. North on Hwy 49 from Nevada City.
A severe fire swept through it in 1878, but because hydraulic-mining companies had reservoirs in the mountains above the town,
Graniteville was rebuilt. Access to Jackson Meadows and Bowman Lake area.
North Columbia: Historic
buildings, Cultural Center. Originally known as Columbia Hill, some older homes still stand.
• Cultural Center -
17894 Tyler Foote Rd. 265-2826.
North Bloomfield: Historic buildings completely renovated as a museum,
located where huge hydraulic canyons washed away the soil over 100 years ago. Malakoff Diggins State Pk. - N. Bloomfield,
265-2740. Tours, exhibits of authentic mining town.
North San Juan: Historic buildings. One block
of picturesque old buildings and scattered homes is the remnant of a city with boasted a population of several thousand in
Nevada County Winter sports
Steephollow 8 miles of cross-country ski trails from easy
to moderate difficulty. Moderate slopes and elevation near 5,000 feet. The trailhead is at Alpha Omega Rest Stop -17 miles
east of Nevada City.
Nevada County Water Sports
A rough but passable road leading to camping, boating, swimming, fishing, hiking and biking. Lakes and creeks with rainbow,
brown and redband trout. Fuller Lake is planted with rainbow trout and good for bank fishing; Blue Lake, for fingerling rainbows
and browns; and Fordyce Creek, carries small numbers of natural rainbow and brook trout. Access from Highway 20 east of Nevada
Englebright Reservoir: Waterskiing, fishing and most types of water recreation. Houseboat rentals
available, and a private marina is operational. Access off Highway 20 west of Grass Valley on Mooney Flat Road. Near western
boundary of Nevada County stocked with rainbow trout, also brown trout. Warm-water fish include largemouth and smallmouth
bass, channel catfish and bluegills. Access from Highway 20 west from Grass Valley to Mooney Flat Road.
Bullards Bar Reservoir: Lake is stocked with
McCourtney rainbow trout and Kokanee, a landlocked sockeye salmon. Warm-water species include bass, catfish, and sunfish.
Access from Highway 49 north of Nevada City, turn west on Marysville Road or Moonshine Rd.
Truckee: Historic District, Shops, Restaurants
Many old buildings stand, now housing an active shopping and activity area. Access to Lake Tahoe, north shore. Emigrant Trail
Museum Donner Memorial Park, Picnicking, swimming, camping, hiking.
Norden: Cross Country Ski, hiking
Off Interstate 80.
Soda Springs: Cross Country Ski, Recreation area. Off Interstate 80.
Campsites, swimming, fishing and boating. Off Hwy 89.
Bowman Lake: Campsites, swimming, fishing. Hwy
20 near Interstate 80.
Donner Memorial Campsites, swimming, fishing and boating. The Donner Party tragedy occurred
during the winter of 1846-1847. Of the eighty-one persons who began the winter at Donner Lake and on Alder Creek, thirty six
perished in one of the worst snow storms in thirty years. A tablet was placed on Emigrant Trail by the Historic Landmarks
Committee which describes the route then followed.
Western America Skisport - Off I-80., 426-3313 Offers history of
skiing exhibits over 100 years. Ski films. Tues-Sun 11am-5pm.
Washington Restaurants, Yuba River access, rafting, kayaks.
Situated on the bank of the So. Yuba River. Just outside the town are immense piles of huge granite boulders carried there
stone by stone by patient Chinese miners from Gold Rush days.
Yuba Gap Sno-Park: Access to marked
cross-country ski trails. Snowmobile tours are available. Access on the Yuba Gap exit from Interstate 80.
Grove Sno-Park: Snowmobile trails. Also available is a small snow play. Access on the Cisco Grove exit from Interstate
Big Bend: Snow play, cross country skiing and snowmobiling. Trails aren’t marked; use Cisco
Grove and Soda Springs topographic maps for reference. Easy to moderately difficult, elevations from 5,700 feet to 7,000 feet.
Access from Big Bend exit off Interstate 80; trailhead is approximately a half-mile from the exit on Hampshire Rocks Road.
Summit: Sno-Park Cross-country ski area. No snow play is available. Access is through the Castle Peak exit from Interstate
80, just beyond the Boreal Inn on the south side of the freeway.
Donner Lake: Sno-Park Marked ski
trails to Donner Lake and Donner Party Historic Sites. No sledding or snowmobiles. Access is on Donner Lake exit from Interstate
80, on Donner Pass Road south of the freeway.
Prosser OHV Trailhead: Numerous unmarked routes for snowmobilers
going through the Prosser Hill area. Gently rolling, at 6,000 feet. Access is off Highway 89 four miles north of Truckee.
Downhill skiing at Donner Summit: Boreal with its two triple-chair, seven double-chair and one quad
chair lifts. Beginners, intermediate, advanced. Soda Springs Ski Area with its one double-chair and one triple-chair lifts.
Beginners, intermediate advanced. Snow Bowl at Norden with its four double chair, one gondola, one access chair and two quad
chair lifts. Beginners, intermediate, advanced.
Donner Lake Piers and boat launching facilities. Mackinaw trout and
rainbow trout are planted each year. Access from Interstate 80 west of Truckee.
Grouse Ridge area:
Big Island Lake provides lake trout; Round Lake, Mile Lake and Long Lake, are planted with rainbows. Access off Bowman Lake
Road, at Highway 20 east of Nevada City.
Jackson Meadows: Access to camping, boating, swimming, fishing,
hiking and biking. Road connecting to Sierra City near Hwy 89 west of Truckee. Fingerling trout planted. Brown trout up to
14 pounds have been caught. Lake of the Woods is for those seeking large brown trout as well as rainbows. Access to either
lake via Henness Pass Road. From Sierra City east of Truckee off Hwy 89.
Lake Spaulding: Boat launching
and swimming are available at this lake and nearby Lake Fuller. Access is from Highway 20 near the intersection with Interstate
80 east of Nevada City.
Tahoe-Pacific State Heritage Corridor
Conceived in honor of John Muir's 1868 San
Francisco-Yosemite Walk, naturalist John Olmsted has implemented the California Landscapes Trail and the Heritage Necklace,
which consists of “beads” of State Reserves, Nature Centers, and Ecological Reserves and includes:
Yuba Independence Trail: Hwy 49 6 mi. N. of Nevada City with 4 miles of All-Access Wilderness Trail following an
1859 Gold Canal. Flower and school tours; disability camping. 916/272-3823.
So. Yuba Trail Project - Tahoe
Nat. Forest: Hwy 49 6 mi. N. of Purdon Rd. 13 miles between Humbug Creek and Washington connecting 15mi. BLM trail
from Purdon Crossing. 916/432-2546.
Foothill Reserve, Little Yuba Powerhouse: 4 miles N. of Hwy 20/Park
Bar, Birthplace of PG&E. 80 acre/by appt. 916/BRIDGES.
Bridgeport Bridge / So. Yuba Project: 8 miles N. on Pleasant
Valley Rd. from Hwy 20. Longest single span wooden covered bridge. Sierra Gateway Trail and others. 916/432-2546.
Valley / Sierra Discovery Trail: Bowman Lake Rd. 0.3 mi N. from Hwy 20. Open air visitor Center, scenic creek, 2/3
mi. trail, great signage. Old growth Ponderosa Pines. May - Oct 916/386-5164.
Nevada City Bike Classic
by Jamie Bate
Suffering is part of racing the annual Nevada
City Bicycle Classic, but visiting the historic town during the annual Father’s Day event is always a pleasure.
hundreds of single-minded Pro-Am bicycle racers, 50+mile-an-hour descents and harrowing hairpin turns into the narrow streets
of a historic Gold Rush town and you get the granddaddy of American bicycle racing: The 45th annual Nevada City Classic.
LeMond and Lance Armstrong honed their skills and legs on the hilly streets of Nevada City before they conquered the Tour
De France. Along with the dynamic duo of American cycling the pedigree of the race is enough to cause any self-respecting
bike fan’s pulse to quicken. Tyler Hamilton, Levi Leipheimer, Bob Roll, Chris Carmichael, Andy Hampsten, Alexi Grewal,
Eric Heiden, Tony Cruz, Scott Moninger and other cycling luminaries all have agonized on the Classic’s unforgiving circuit.
even star power has a hard time competing in the event, festivities? and the charm of Nevada City, a California Gold Rush
town known as the “Queen of the of the Northern Mines.”
The Classic is one of the oldest Pro/Am bicycle
races in the nation. At 154 years, Nevada City is a historic, funky town filled with Victorian homes, eclectic shops, antique
stores, superb restaurants and a positive cycling vibe. The two together make for a great event to race or just grab a cold
glass of beer or wine and find a shady spot to holler encouragement?along with the thousands of other spectators-as the racers
pump up hills and fly down Broad St. fast, and very-fast.
Along with the race’s cycling expo showcasing dozens
of cycling manufacturers and a giant inflatable jumping arena for the kids, Nevada City has plenty to offer those adults who
may not be as gung-ho about cycling as their significant others. For directions and event or lodging information check out
, or the Nevada?City Chamber of Commerce site at , or call 800/655-6569 or 530/265-2692.
Treasures of the Gold Country
January 24, 1848, marked
James Wilson Marshall’s discovery of gold at a sawmill in Coloma California, sparking the greatest migration in human
history. One month after Washington’s official recognition of Marshall’s discovery, in which President Polk acknowledged
significant gold finds in California, 8,000 prospectors had flooded the area, determined to seek their fortunes. Before the
Gold Rush was over, about a decade later, it is estimated that more than 80,000 intrepid adventurers had arrived from every
corner of the world.
During the Gold Rush, Amador produced more gold than any other county in the Mother Lode, and
was home to 8 mining camps, most of which ran roughly north to south on what we now know as Highway 49. In the twelve miles
between Middlebar and Plymouth, more than 45 mines operated at one time or another, including the famous Kennedy and Argonaut
mines which produced more than half the gold mined in the Mother Lode.
With significant wealth flowing through the
area, what had been mining camps soon evolved into bustling communities which today are well-preserved historic towns much
visited by tourists. Probably the most picturesque of these is Sutter Creek, located in the middle of the county on Highway
49, just north of the Highway 88 interchange and described by Sunset magazine in a January 2004 article as “the best
place in California to live.”
Amador County maintains its connections to the mining industry that gave it life
with three very different locations that are well worth visiting to obtain a rounded view of the history of the area; the
Amador County Museum, the Kennedy Gold Mine, and Sutter Gold Mine.
Located at 225 Church Street in Jackson, the Amador
County museum is located in a building which was built as a residence in 1853 by one of the town’s earliest settlers.
Besides housing displays on the gold history of the county, the 15-room museum contains collections on early fashions, Chinese
Americans and Native Americans. Open 10 am - 4 pm Wednesdays through Sundays, the museum can be reached at 209-223-6386 for
Continuously run from 1886 until its closure (due to WWII) in 1942, the Kennedy Mine in Jackson
produced approximately $34,280,000.00 worth of gold, and was one of the deepest mines in the world. 1-1/2 hour surface tours
of this fascinating, historic mine are given March through October, weekends and holidays. More information can be obtained
from their web site at , by calling 209-223-9542 or emailing .
Sutter Gold Mine is a modern hard rock mine located on historic Highway 49 just north of Sutter Creek at the site
of several historic mines. These include the Lincoln Mine from which Leland Stanford made his fortune enabling him to found
Stanford University and to partner in financing the Central Pacific Railroad. Sutter Gold Mine, although originally developed
for gold extraction in the late 1980s is now open exclusively for one hour underground tours for the general public. Visitors
board an open topped mine vehicle called a Boss Buggy Shuttle and journey over 1800 feet underground past displays of current
and historic mining equipment. Disembarking to traverse through the excavated quartz vein structure of the Mother Lode, visitors
learn about gold mining through the ages, the geology of the Gold Country and the uses of gold, from their informative and
entertaining guides. Tours are available every day, year round from 9 am to 5 pm daily May through August, and from 10 am
to 4 pm daily from September - April. Above ground activities include gold panning, gemstone mining, browsing the Gold Store
and watching movies on the history of the Gold Rush in the Gold Theatre. More information can be obtained at or by calling 209-736-2708 or toll free 866-762-2837. Group tours and specialized school tours are available by reservation
For more information on California’s Gold Rush visit:
Fish Camp & Yosemite
An exciting 4-mile railroad excursion at Yosemite
Park’s south gate on State Highway 41. Ride into history where powerful locomotives once hauled massive log trains through
the Sierra mountains. The mighty lumberjacks felled the timber and flumes carried lumber to the distant valley below. The
Sierra National Forest’s majestic woods provide the backdrop for the narrow gauge journey back in time. Sounds and scenes
from the era of steam powered railroad logging come to life at the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad south of Yosemite
National Park. From 1899 to 1931, the Madera Sugar Pine Lumber Company operated miles of narrow gauge railroad track. During
that time, nearly one and a half billion board feet of lumber were harvested from the forests. Five wood burning Shay locomotives
hauled massive log trains to the mill over the extensive rail network.
Today, the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad
is a restoration of the old narrow gauge Madera Sugar Pine Lumber Company Railroad. A section of the original railbed has
been reconstructed using the same techniques used at the turn of the century. Two vintage Shay steam locomotives have been
brought in from the Westside Lumber company and restored to provide authentic motive power for the trains.
15 was built in 1913 and weighs 60 tons. Number 10, built in 1928 weighs 83 tons and is the heavest operating narrow guage
Shay locomotive today. Railcars once used to provide transportation for logging and track repair crews have been refurbished
and are now operated for passenger excursion. Visit Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad in Fish Camp, CA, or call: 559/683-7273.
ADVENTURE DATING - THE ULTIMATE BLIND DATE
Take the now popular concept of speed dating
and combine it with a thrilling underground caving expedition complete with 165-foot rope rappel, and you get Sierra Nevada
Recreation Corporation (SNRC's) new Adventure Dating experience, the high adrenalin antidote to the Same Old Singles Scene.
put this program together to resolve some common problems with traditional blind dating scenarios, and to make it really fun,”
says Lisa Boulton, SNRC’s marketing director: With Adventure Dating, you know that everyone who signed up has at least
several things in common with you: love of the outdoors, an adventurous spirit, and availability. Also, you get to see potential
mates really up close and personal in the challenging Adventure Trip part of the evening. Who's a team player? Who likes to
be the center of attention? Who's the prankster? Additionally, in the two speed dating parts of the evening, you get to meet
EVERYONE of the opposite sex, not just the people with the confidence to walk up and introduce themselves at a party, not
just the people who are initially attracted to you. This broadens the field and allows equal opportunity to impress and be
impressed. Finally, at the end of the evening, we discreetly provide each participant with the names and phone numbers of
people who had a reciprocal interest in them. That way, there's no guessing - and that's valuable information. The cost is
$150 per person and includes 2 speed dating sessions, a professionally guided, highly charged 3-hour caving expedition with
the rappel at Moaning Cavern, or the challenging 5-hour Middle Earth Expedition at California Cavern and dinner under the
stars. Call 209-736-2708 or toll free 866-762-2837 for more information, or check out for details and pictures. The first Adventure Dating session will take place on June 26, 2004 at Moaning Cavern, and will
then be offered about once a month at one of the two loctions.
Applicants must be over age 21, in good health and have
no claustrophobia or fear of heights. No experience of caving/rappelling is necessary. Apply via e-mail at: ; provide full name, age, gender, sexual preference, complete contact information and availability for future dates. SNRC
has been conducting its popular Adventure Trips in Moaning Cavern since 1984.
Black Chasm Volcano
Volcano is the name of a little Amador County
village nestled in the foothills of California’s Gold Country. Once it was a bustling gold mining community with a population
of thousands including 24-year old Indiana native, John Doble, who arrived in town on Sunday, June 27, 1852. His journal &
correspondence from 1851-1865 are published as “John Doble’s Journal & Letters from the Mines” by Volcano
Press . A fascinating, informal look at everyday life in the rough and ready times of early California, the book is delightful and
informative. It tells us of Volcano in its earliest days when scuffles at the saloon could be deadly; when working mining
claims was tedious and equipment was overpriced and hard to come by.
Volcano has mellowed over time, becoming incredibly
picturesque. Nestled in a valley circled by undulating hills covered in oaks and pines, the two remaining hotels offer charming
accommodation, gourmet dining and cheerful, friendly bars.
One of those hotels is run by husband and wife team Laurie
and Mathew Hedger. Originally housing quarters for 11 miners, the 1880 Volcano Union Inn now offers four delightful, themed
rooms to visitors, a full service restaurant, street side bistro, and the Village Tavern specializing in local wines and international
beers. Amador County native, Laurie, describes the Hedgers’ purchase of the inn as a serendipitous moment: “Last
year, on the day of my retirement from 31 years in the resort business, I was driving through Volcano, which had always been
one of my favorite places, when I noticed that the Volcano Union Inn was for sale. On April Fool’s Day we made an offer.
Escrow closed on June 8th, and we were open for business in less than a month.” You can contact them by phone at 209-296-7711.
mile or two outside Volcano, Black Chasm Cavern, National Natural Landmark makes an excellent outing. Originally discovered
by Gold Rush miners who made a hair-raising descent into the cave, documented by a local journalist, Black Chasm was little
visited until it was purchased by Sierra Nevada Recreation Corporation and opened for public tours.
The cave was named
a National Natural Landmark in 1976 by the National Park Service for its outstanding geological significance. Particularly
noteworthy are the masses of helictite crystals in areas of the Landmark Room. Unlike stalactites and stalagmites, these formations
are not created by dripping water leaving calcite deposits, but by water under pressure pushing through tiny holes in the
rock walls. Delicate, 6-sided calcite crystals deposit haphazardly, twisting out from the walls, seemingly defying gravity,
looking much like cooked spaghetti growing sideways out of the walls. These formations are very rare and those on display
at Black Chasm are incredible.
The cave has only been open to the public since 2001, when Sierra Nevada Recreation
and president Steve Fairchild, completed the first phase of their daring engineering feat to build platforms, stairs and walkways
suspended 70 feet from the bottom of the Colossal Chamber, while preserving the natural beauty of the cave. Last year, Fairchild
saw the completion of his beautiful design for a large visitor center, fulfilling his dreams for this cavern he had long wanted
to own and protect. Possible future plans for this site include a climbing wall at the visitor center, and a forest canopy
walk, adding to the already popular gemstone mining and nature hike. 45-minute guided tours are offered daily, year round.
More information can be obtained from or by calling toll free 866-762-2837.
Nearby in Sutter Creek is Sutter Gold Mine, also run by Sierra Nevada Recreation
- a modern gold mine in which visitors can spend an hour learning about gold mining and the geology of the Mother Lode. Wearing
required hardhats, participants are driven over 1800 feet into the mine in an open topped vehicle called a Boss Buggy Shuttle.
The tour continues with a walk through the Comet Zone drift where gold bearing quartz has been excavated and mining equipment
is displayed and explained. Above ground visitors can enjoy gemstone mining and gold panning outside, and free movies in the
One hour tours at Sutter Gold Mine are available daily, year round. For more information visit their
website at or call toll free 888-818-7462.
Caverns, world famous for the rare Aragonite flos ferri, celebrated its one hundredth year of
discovery and operation on September 1, 1985. It is the longest continually operating commercial caverns tour in the state
of California. The owners have guest books signed by paying customers - dating back to September of 1885 to present - indicating
that visitors were welcome at Mercer Caverns every year since its discovery.|
Thousands and thousands (the first of
whom descended on ropes) have enjoyed and marveled at this three million year old cave - including royalty and a president. Mercer Caverns
has up-dated the stairs, walkways and lighting though always cognizant of its responsibility to present this living limestone
cave in its original beauty. The management has carefully protected and preserved these ancient formations and presented this
gift of nature in such a historical manner that the significance of its value makes a lasting impression upon all who visit.
cave was originally used by a prehistoric Indian Tribe called the Yokuts as a mortuary cave. They would bring bodies to the
opening and let them roll down inside. Because such a site was sacred, no one was allowed to enter. The Yokuts were hunters
and when the game was gone they moved camp. Slowly over the years, the entrance filled with dirt, leaves and rocks and was
completely lost until the year of 1885.
Mercer Caverns is State Historic Landmark 004, preserved for travelers to enjoy
when visiting the Gold Country. When traveling via Highway 49, follow Highway 4 to the quaint town of Murphys, which offers
lodging and wineries to visit. From Highway 4 take the Murphys Business District Exit through to town, right on Sheep Ranch
Heart of the Mother Lode, sweeps from the
rolling foothills to the towering Sierra Nevada Mountains with elevations ranging from 200 to 9,000 feet above sea level.
Amador Visitor Information:
Amador County Chamber of Commerce P.O. Box
596, Jackson 95642 209/223-0350
Amador City: Historic District
& Landmarks, Restaurants, Antique/Specialty Shops
• A mining center in 1848. Smallest incorporated town in the
State and settled in 1851, 24 existing buildings in their original state may be seen on an historic walking tour.
Mine House Inn built in 1867 as headquarters for the Keystone Mine, now an historic Bed and Breakfast (800/MINE-HSE).
Imperial Hotel, originally built as a mercantile store, opened as an hotel in 1879. Careful restoration with six individually
decorated rooms, bar and elegant dining room service welcome guests today.
• Sutter Gold Mine offers mine tours
all year. 866/762-2837
Drytown: Historic Sites, Motel, Cafe, Antique Shops
• Old mining
town which began in 1848 was nearly destroyed by fire in 1857. Two old buildings still stand, an old store and the Town Hall.
• 1871 Drytown Schoolhouse, now the Community Hall.
Daffodil Hill: Historic Building/Site,
• An aging, private historic ranch most of the year, Daffodil Hill becomes “Gold in Bloom”
each Spring with over 300,000 bulbs and 300 varieties in a 4 acre garden that began with plantings in 1887. The ranch is open
to the public when flowers are in bloom from the end of March through the first three weeks of April. The ranch has been owned
by the same family since 1887 and is located on the old Amador-Nevada Wagon Road (Hwy. 88).
Historic buildings, General Store, Park. First settled in 1849 by a party of Missourians, and aptly named since they were
“always fiddling”, This picturesque village’s name was immortalized in Bret Harte’s story, “An
Episode of Fiddletown.” “Chew Kee”, a Chinese rammed earth structure built in the 1850’s, was an herb
and medicinal shop during the Gold Rush. Intact as museum of Chinese relics and artifacts
• Puriton Home, Main St.
• The Forge
• The Old Chinese Gambling House
• The General Store (1850) is still in operation.
Historic Buildings, Nearby Recreation Areas
• Fertile Ione Valley with numerous vintage homes, churches, and stores.
Lake Camanche: The generous fish stocking program enables the angler, with or without a boat, year-round fishing for trout,
catfish, blackbass, crappie and perch. Boat rentals, berthing, and boat ramps are available form either side of this lake,
dotted with islands where boat fishers may pull up and try bottom fishing successfully if they find trolling on the slow side.
Stocked trout pond, boating, fishing, swimming, picnicking, hiking, riding, camping. 209/763-5178.
Historic buildings, Restaurants, Lodging, Antiques. Amador County seat, Jackson is rich in old buildings reminiscent of the
Gold Rush camp of 1848 with over 20 vintage homes visible on a walking tour.
• The National Hotel, State’s
oldest hostelry (1862), tavern & restaurant.
Martell: Historic Sites
• Mammoth Kennedy
Tailing Wheels used to move mining tailings can be viewed at Kennedy Wheels Park. Picnic facilities. Amador County Museum,
an 1859 vintage home, shows Mother Lode memorabilia, operating Kennedy Wheels. Open Wed. - Sun. 10 - 4. 225 Church Street.
Pine Grove: Historic Buildings, Camping, Recreation, Lodging Pine Grove Hotel originally
built as stage stop.
Indian Grinding Rock State Park: 14881 Pine Grove/Volcano Rd. Pine Grove 209/296-7488
• 135 acres of trails, reconstructed village of the Northern Miwok, and Chaw se Regional Indian Museum. Museum hours
are: 11-3 Mon-Fri; 10-4 Sat-Sun. Chaw’se is the native name for the mortar holes in the adjacent limestone outcropping.
It is covered with 363 petroglyphs. Nun ge (roundhouse) constructed recently at site is used for meetings and religious activities.
Camping available year round, subject to closure during heavy snowfall.
Pioneer: Historic Area, Recreation
• Cedar Pencil capital and first of several stage stops leading to El Dorado National Forest.
Meadows Golf Course
• Cook’s Station
Plymouth: Historic Sites, Restaurants, Lodging,
• This old mining town was located along the stage route to Sacramento. Plymouth’s rich quartz lodes
drew many miners, it remains a busy town today.
• Ming’s Store (1880)
• I.O.O.F. Hall (1877)
Historic D’Agostini Winery (1856) 10am-5pm Daily except national holidays. Shenandoah Valley Museum at Sobon Estate
Winery displays farm furniture and kitchen artifacts, wagon, early spinning tools.
Sutter Creek: Historic
Buildings, Inns, Restaurants, Antique Shops
• John A. Sutter was the first to mine this locality in 1848. Quartz
gold was discovered here in 1851, and the Central Eureka mine became the best paying mine of the Mother Lode. It remains a
thriving mining town. Walking tours and day trips visit over 60 historical places of interest. Knight's Foundry the only water-powered
foundry operating in the U.S. since 1873. The Knight Foundry; 81 Eureka Street, Sutter Creek.
50 miles east of Jackson and 45 miles south of Lake Tahoe on Hwy 88. Kit Carson Lodge offers Accommodations, Fine Dining,
General Store, Art Gallery and Recreation.
Sutter Hill: Historic Site
• Old Eureka Mine
gallus frame visible.
Volcano: Historic Sites & Buildings
• Located at the bottom of
a deep cup in the mountains, Volcano was famous for its many saloons, dance halls and churches. Today this flavor of the Gold
Rush is retained. Rich hydraulic mining district and large mining settlement in the Gold Rush Era.
• Volcano Theatre
Co. productions at the Cobblestone Theatre, an historic 1857 stone building.
• St. George Hotel, a National Historic
Registry Place, built in 1862 was tallest and most elegant hotel existing in the Mother Lode.
• Stone Brewery, 1856.
Pardee Reservoir Recreation Area Warm water fishing in reservoir, trout stocked weekly in season. Fishing, boating,
swimming in pool, bicycling, picnicking, riding, and camping.
New Melones Lake: Marina Rental houseboats,
fishing, recreation area home to eagle, heron, cormorant and grebe and hundreds of species of wildlife.
Camanche: The generous fish stocking program enables the angler, with or without a boat, year-round fishing for trout,
catfish, blackbass, crappie and perch. Boat rentals, berthing, and boat ramps are available form either side of this lake,
dotted with islands where boat fishers may pull up and try bottom fishing successfully if they find trolling on the slow side.
Stocked trout pond, boating, fishing, swimming, picnicking, hiking, riding, camping.
New Hogan Lake:
Over 4,000 surface acres, includes marina, water skiing, fishing, developed, primitive and boat-in campsites. Camping w/189
developed sites, and 30 boat-in campsites. Year-round fishing for stripers, bass, crappies, bluegill and catfish. “River
of Skulls” hiking trail is located below the dam at the Monte Vista Recreation Area. Monte Vista is also the staging
area for an eight mile equestrian trail. Valley Springs 209/772-1462.
Calaveras Visitor Information:
Calaveras Lodging and Visitor Assoc./Gold
Country Visitors Assoc. P.O. Box 637, Angels Camp 95222 800/225-3764
Angels Camp: Historic Buildings,
Restaurants, Lodges, Rafting
Founded in 1849 by George Angel. Home of the Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. From here
Mark Twain’s frog story leaped to worldwide fame, and Bret Harte wrote, “The Luck of Roaring Camp.”
Altaville Grammar School (1859) Hwy 49
• Utica Mansion & Utica Mine
• Carson Hill Largest gold nugget
in the western hemisphere found here -195 lbs.
Angels Camp Museum exhibits steam tractor engines, blacksmith and foundry,
working model of stamp mill, mining equipment, huge Overshot Water Wheel on its original site, a large carriage house with
25 carriages and carts. A rock hounds delight. 753 S. Main St. (Hwy 49), 209/736-2963.
Camping, Winter Snowshoeing, Cross-country Skiing, Fishing, Swimming
Calaveras Big Trees State Park, Hwy 4, 3 miles NE
of Arnold. 209/795-2334. Giant Sequoia trees reach up to 325' in height with trunks twice the size of coast redwoods. Open
all year, 8 miles of trails and 129 campsites. Reservations: 800/444-PARK.
Avery: Historic Buildings
• Avery Historic Hotel, built in 1850.
Cave City: California Caverns has been open since
1850 with miles of winding passages, located 10 miles E. of San Andreas off Mountain Ranch Road.
Several Remaining Historic Buildings, Water Sports in nearby Lk Tulloch
• Copper was discovered here in 1860, and
became the principal copper area during the Civil War. Black Bart’s first stage holdup was near here.
Dorrington: Historic Building, Recreation
• Dorrington Hotel built in 1860 was
an original coach stop, now a hotel and restaurant.
Douglas Flat: Historic Building
of the Central Hill Channel, an ancient river deposit from which vast quantities of gold have been taken.
Mokelumne Hill: Historic District, Galleries Historic District, Galleries, Limited Lodging/Restaurants.
• “Mokelumne”, derived from a Miwuk Indian word meaning “people of the village of Mukul”,
was one of the principal mining towns in California. Ruins of China Town and landmarks dating from 1851 still remain, including
the famous Hotel Léger (reportedly haunted).
• Mokelumne Hill History Society, 8367 E. Center. 209/286-1770 11am
- 3pm Sat. & Sun.
• IOOF Hall (1854), Main & Center Sts.
• Courthouse of Calaveras County (1852-1866)
and Léger Hotel, Main St.
Murphys: Historic District, Lodging, Galleries, Wineries, Biking, Gold Panning,
Recreation, River Rafting, Caverns.
• Brothers Dan and John Murphy found gold here in 1849. Famous notables such
as Ulysses S. Grant, Mark Twain, and Black Bart stayed and dined in Murphys Hotel
• Murphys Historic Hotel (Mitchler
Hotel, 1855), 457 Main/Algiers Sts. 209/728-3444
• Calimbretti/Chase/Mercer House, 350 Main, built 1860, home to
first American Nobel Prize winner, Albert Michelson
• Peter L. Traver Building (1856), Main St.
Bart Theatre Algiers St., 209/728-3956 Mercer Caverns Off Sheepranch Rd., 1 mile from Murphys. 209/728-2101
• Mined for Placer gold by 1849, for quartz by 1851, William Gwin, California’s first U.S. senator
acquired the land in 1851. Gwin mine produced millions before closing in 1908.
San Andreas: Historic
District, Limited Restaurants/Lodges
• In 1848 Mexican settlers named it after St. Andrew. Bandit Joaquin Murietta
operated here in 1850’s. Charles Bolton wrote poems to his victims signed PO 8, and known as “Black Bart”
was convicted of stage robbery and sentenced in the Courthouse. Today there is a museum and display of his jail cell.
Gooney’s Saloon 1858, 6 N. Main. Calaveras County Museum and Archives, 30 No. Main St., 10 - 4pm daily except major
holidays 209/754-6513. Calaveras County Historical Society, 30 N. Main St., Open weekdays. 209/754-1058.
Hwy 12 2mi. west of San Andreas. Headstones often describe the dangers of early mining.
Historic Landmarks, Caverns
• Murphy brothers found gold here in 1849. Named “Little Valley” by Mexican
miners. Famous Moaning Caves is nearby
• Vallecito Bell Monument, Church Street & Cemetery Lane.Vallecito
The Moaning Caverns offers a popular family attraction that is unusual and beautiful to explore. There are three
types of tours and trips. A traditional walking tour takes visitors 165 feet down into the largest public underground room
in California. For those who feel a bit more adventuresome Moaning Cavern offers the Rappel, and exciting 165-foot rope descent
down the spectacular cavern walls. Professional guides teach you how and then safely send you down. An even more extreme tour
includes rappel and spelunking throughout the passages within, recommended for 12 and over. The Caverns also offer Gemstone
Mining, gift shop, picnic area, and nature trails.
Valley Springs: Historic Site
• In 1885
the busy terminus of San Joaquin and Sierra Nevada narrow-gauge railroad.
West Point Historic Buildings
• Named by scout Kit Carson in 1844. Historic trading post. West Point Trading Post, Hwy 26 & Main St.
Big Trees State Park: Giant Sequoias, lava outcroppings, and scenic canyon on North Fork of Stanislaus River. Guided
hikes, campfire talks, camping, picnicking, hiking, fishing, swimming, nature trails. Snowshoeing & cross-country skiing
in Winter. 4 miles East of Arnold on Hwy 4. 209/795-2334
Ebberts Pass provides excellent recreation, scenic areas and
highway. Stansilaus National Forest provides excellent recreation, scenic areas and highway travel.
compliments of Grass Valley Publisher, Robert Bellezza