Gold Rush Country, CA
Copyright Marshall Gold Discovery
State Historic Park
The modern-day "gold rush" may be over. But wannabe tycoons can still strike it rich along Highway 49, California's original gold rush country.
Just about anywhere you stop along Gold Chain Highway, you'll find gold -- either real "flakes" of ore or historic nuggets of that wild time. Give yourself plenty of time -- there's much to do along this 244-mile scenic swath in the Sierra foothills.
To help you narrow the itinerary, we've picked the best of the golden west. Our recommended trip covers the central Mother Lode region from Mariposa to Nevada City. You'll find everything here, from mining expeditions to state parks rich in gold rush history. It's even possible to visit a living gold rush town, where your little prospectors can ride in a stagecoach, pan for gold, eat candy made from 100-year-old recipes, or sip sarsaparilla under the eaves of 19th-century buildings.