Apple Hill is an historic agricultural area extending from Placerville to Camino that is primarily open and active from early September through mid-December. There are many farms that are open to the public that have all kinds of activities for adults as well as children. In addition, there are many wineries scattered throughout the area that add to the interest. The Apple Hill Growers Association arranges for numerous events throughout the season and there are gift shops, demonstrations, picnic areas, food for sale, pick-your-own fruit, and many kinds of apples, berries, farm products, and fresh produce for sale. Shuttles are available for busy weekends. Click here for maps and details.
El Dorado County Fairgrounds hosts many events and activities throughout the year. The annual El Dorado County Fair is held each summer and is a wonderful slice of small-town-America experience for the whole family. The fairgrounds also hosts KCBS sanctioned BBQ competitions, fund raiser dinners, 4-H events, horse shows. and the important annual wine competition among other things. There is often free shuttle service for busy events with free parking. Located at 100 Placerville Drive in Placerville. The website contains all the details and ticket information for upcoming events. (530-621-5860)
El Dorado County Historical Museum is located right next to the fairgrounds and is a great educational experience for the whole family. Staffed by knowledgeable volunteers from the community, the museum is filled with indoor and outdoor historical exhibits that showcase the amazing history of the El Dorado County Gold Country. There are exhibits that include baskets woven by the Maidu, Miwok, and Washoe Native Americans, a fully restored stage coach, sheepherder's wagon, a parlor from a fine home, a general store, a fivestamp mill, ore cars, antique chain saws, and much more. Located at 104 Placerville Drive in Placerville. Visit the website for details and directions. Hours are Wed thru Sat 10 to 4 and Sun noon to 4.
Garden Valley Park is a small park that is part of the Georgetown Divide Recreation District and is located on Marshall Road in Garden Valley. During the warmer months, it is the location for the People's Mountain Market farmer's market every Saturday morning. There is always live music and a variety of vendor booths with local farm products, food, and other items. There are a number of picnic tables available and there is no charge for use of the facilities or parking. Restrooms are available. This is a great place to stop for a picnic when you are traveling through Gold Country.
Gold Bug Park & Mine is an actual Gold Rush era mine that is located in a beautiful park just outside Placerville. This is a great place to visit for both adults and children and is especially good as an educational opportunity for the whole family. The park has a museum, blacksmith shop, gift shop and snack bar. Park entrance, picnic grounds, and access to hiking trails are available at no charge. There is an admission charge for a self guided tour of the Gold Bug Mine that includes a visit to the actual mine shaft, an audio tour, and the Hendy Stamp Mill. Guided group tours are available through previous arrangement. The park is open 10 to 4, April through October, and noon to 4 on weekends only November through March. The park is located one mile north of highway 50 on Bedford Avenue. Click here for details.
Henningsen Lotus Park is a beautiful 51 acre park located right on the South Fork of the American River in Lotus right near the gold discovery town of Coloma. The park offers many features including walking trails along the river, benches to just enjoy yourself, picnic areas, river access for rafters, a group pavilion, ball field, soccer field, restrooms, plenty of parking, and a beach area. There is a day use fee for cars and a schedule of fees for various uses and activities. The park also hosts music festivals during the summer which restricts public access without admission tickets. The park is open seven days a week all year from 8am to dusk and is located at 950 Lotus Road in Lotus. Click here for the website and details.
Marshall Gold Discovery Park is one of the most important parks in the California state park system. This is the site of the famous gold discovery that sparked the Gold Rush that changed the history of California. The park has many features, museums, and exhibits that show the history of the area before and after the Gold Rush. There are historical re-enactments like Coloma Gold Rush Live and groups and schools can make arrangements for field trips. There are picnic grounds available all year. You can visit a black smith shop, Nature Center, Chinese Museum, Sutter's Mill replica, the Monroe house, gold panning activity, Gold Discovery Museum, or simply enjoy the river. Located on highway 49 in Coloma. See the website for events and details.
River Rafting is a very popular seasonal activity that is available for the more adventurous among us. River Rafting companies with experienced guides, rafts, and safety equipment are available for the various runs of the American River. They provide transportation, lunch, and people who are qualified to take you safely down the river for an exciting trip. You can check with your hosts at the B & B's, campgrounds, and motels in the area for recommendations and reservations. Following are a few of the rafting websites: Adventure Connection, Tributary Whitewater Tours, Mother Lode River Trips, American Whitewater Expeditions, Whitewater Excitement, and Whitewater Connection.