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  1. #1

    Default Planning a 4 day trip along historic HWY 49 in CA Gold Country...need suggestions

    We are planning a 4 day summer 2011 roadtrip along historic Hwy 49 starting in Oakhurst, CA and ending in Vinton, CA. I'm looking for suggestions on what are some Must see attractions along the way. Also looking for hotel recommendations, we will be staying one night each in about 4 hotels

    We will be taking our four kids along, ages 6, 8 & 9yr old twins. Any suggestions for kid friendly must see's?

    Thank You!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Out of the Ordinary

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I believe that this is my first time, in over 6 years of trying to answer questions on this forum, that I have seen this route mentioned. So, first my congratulations on finding a unique RoadTrip for your children. I suspect that you already know more about your route and what lies along it than we do, but here are some suggestions anyway. The area around Placerville is famous for its place in the history of the California Gold Rush, so something along the lines of the Gold Bug Mine and the El Dorado County Historical Museum would be in order, A little farther south, in the Angels Camp area, the Angels Camp Museum and Carriage House, and the California Caverns offers a very rugged Middle Earth tour if you're all in shape. And then at the southern end is the pièce de résistance: Yosemite National Park. As I often recommend here for children roughly the age of your own, check in at the Ranger Station or Visitor Center and sign them up for the Junior Ranger Program.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Some useful links.

    When I was looking to drive this route the last time in the area, I came across some good resources but actually never got to drive the route due to time restraints, so I hope you will come back and share your experience with us.

    Some of the highlights I came across, other than Buck has already mentioned, were Jamestown, home to 'Railtown', a side trip to the lovely looking town of Murphy's [and possibly Calaveras big tree state park] and a stop at Coulterville to see 'Whistling Billy.'

    You can find more info on this RTA CA49 page and at the Historic 48 site.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    SF Bay Area

    Default Columbia State Historic Park

    An absolute must for families with kids.

    This is an old gold mining turn now converted to a state park.

    Gold panning, stage coach rides (complete with bandits), etc.

    There is also lodging in the park, I believe.


    At the northern end of 49, Empire Mine State Park.

    If you're there in May, the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee (made famous by Mark Twain).

    Speaking of Calaveras, there's a state park with Giant Sequoias up Highway 4 a bit.

    Lastly, Sacramento is not that far off, with a neat Old Town section including a spectacular railroad museum. You can book staterooms/sleep on a riverboat docked at old town.

    List of all California State Parks in the Gold Country.
    Last edited by CalOldBlue; 12-31-2010 at 09:29 PM.

  5. Default

    This is an old thread, but I am thinking of taking this same route, but in the Spring not the Summer. Anyone know of a reason why Spring would not be a good idea?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default I know of no reason.

    Sounds like a wonderful Spring trip to me Tiki. All the attractions, snow on the mountains and fewer crowds !


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Appreciated at last.

    How great to see someone make use of the great suggestions made above. The original poster never even came back to read all the responses.

    In 2012 I drove most of this route. Albeit in September. There is a small scenic detour right near Mariposa, a short cutoff from 49 to 140 called the Triangle Road. A bare dozen miles or so, it is a slow speed limit, but a lovely road through those mountains.


  8. Default

    Thanks for the input on Spring. The family thinks Gold Country sounds good for our spring break trip. Our other option under consideration was the Oregon Coast. We're starting from Seattle, WA, so the coast would mean less driving.

    I'm still early in the planning stages, but a rough itinerary is to get down into CA on the first day, at least to Yreka, get to Gold Country the second day (not sure if I need to go south as far as Oakhurst to get a good stretch of Gold Country...), then mosey our way north stopping at museums, historical sites, etc. A pass through Lassen monument, then back north. We'll have as long as 10 days if I pull the kids from school a day before break starts.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    It's about a day and a half drive from Seattle to Mariposa - 900 miles. You could stop in either Yreka (495 mi), Weed (520 mi), or go all the way down to Redding (600 mi). Yreka has about 10 motels to choose from, Weed has 6 or 7, and Redding has a huge selection.

    We took our girls into Gold Country when they were younger, since it is so much a part of California's history. We went into the Marshall Gold Discovery park, Columbia SP, poked around Sutter Creek and Placerville. On a separate trip, we'd gone up to Lake Shasta, Lassen Volcanic NP, and over to Truckee and the Donner Memorial SP. All are very worthwhile.

    Have your children keep a journal (including photos) to show off at school when they return, and for their own memories in the future. There are activities at Marshall Discovery and other SP's for children, like the National Park Service's Junior Ranger program, that they can also participate in. As a teacher who has taught K-12, I can tell you that whatever your children learn while you are on vacation in this area, will far exceed what learning will take place on the last day of school before Spring Break!


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    The road through Lassen will not be open in spring. Historical opening date is between the middle of May to the middle of July.

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