The adventure begins at Hallelujah Junction. At least that is what I have been told my whole life by my dad who worked this area after the war and ends at Oakhurst. Our first and last day will be at the Nugget Casino in Sparks Nevada. Any tow vehicles can be parked there.
This first day will be our longest day. The tour begins just a few miles west of Hallelujah Junction very near Chilcoot-Vinton. If you’ll take a bit of time at each old town along this day’s route you’ll begin to discover the history buried in the Mother Lode. The towns are; Loyaltyon, Sierraville, Sierra City, Sattley, Downieville, Camptonville and finally North San Juan. A bit farther and you’ll be at our hotel for the next 3 nights, Grass Valley.
This day we have a scheduled tour of the Kennedy Gold Mine and the Bourn Cottage with an era “Pastie” Lunch (pronounced “Past E”). The afternoon will be on your own with listed sites such as the Old Holbrook Hotel, Old Town Grass Valley and the Malakoff Diggings in North Bloomfield, (where the history making Hydraulic Mining was born). For those who are interested in Antique Shops, there are plenty.
This day we have a scheduled tour of the North Star Historic Conservancy and afterwards enjoy a picnic lunch on the patio there. The afternoon is on your own to see such sites as the North Star Mine & Powerhouse Museum, Miners Foundry Cultural Center, Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum, and Historic Firehouse No. 1 and then browse Old Town Nevada City.
Today we’ll be traveling on down the “Golden Chain Highway” to Placerville via Auburn. Along the way you’ll have a chance to see sites as the Bernhard Museum Complex, the Old Firehouse No. 1 in Auburn, Placer County Museum & Courthouse in Auburn and browse Old Town Auburn. We’ll travel through old towns as Cool and Pilot Hill. Take your time & enjoy.
Placerville will be our location for a couple of days. Today is slotted for all to enjoy one of the local events that takes place annually, Apple Hill. You can easily spend 3-4 hours here, a bit of a change of pace. Then take the short drive back to see Coloma, where John Marshall discovered gold and the start of the California Gold Rush of 1849. Also, if it strikes your fancy you can take a short drive to Shingle Springs and ride a workman car to El Dorado and back. Trains were a big part of early California.
This morning we have a scheduled tour of the Gold Bug Mine in Placerville. This tour includes the mine, stamp mill, blacksmith shop and of course the gift shop. Afterwards you’re on your own to see these sites. Old Town Placerville, the old Placerville Soda Works, Placerville Hardware, the Cary House, the Fountain & Tallman Museum, the 1895 Victorian “Nick Fox” House featured in a Thomas Kincade “Christmas II” from a 1992 painting. (A drive by, no tour available).
Today we will be traveling to Jackson. We have a scheduled tour of the Kennedy Mine at 10:00 so plan accordingly. The rest of the day is on your own. I suggest you see the Kennedy Tailing Wheels, the walking tour of Fiddletown and the Chew Kee Store.
We will prehaps tour the Preston Castle. It’s not Gold related but we are so close we have to see it. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Afterwards you’re on your own to see the following; Black Chasm Cavern, the Chaw’se Grinding Rock in Pine Grove. Then browse old downtown Placerville. Antique shops here too.
Today we are traveling on down the “Golden Chain Highway” to Sonora. On the way you can see such sites as; Hotel Leger in Mokelumne Hill, California Caverns in Mountain Ranch, the Calaveras County Museum in San Andreas and the Angels Camp Museum in Angels Camp.
Today we have a scheduled dinner at the Murphy’s Hotel @ 5:30. This is the oldest continually operated hotel in California. Prior to this you can see these sites as you want: Columbia State Park, Moaning Cavern (the last of the three), and Mark Twain Cabin in Tuttletown.
Today we’re off to Railtown 1897. We have a scheduled tour of the Roundhouse and we’ll ride on the “Old No.3” Steam Train. Note: this old steam locomotive has been in over 300 movies, the last being “Back to the Future 3”. The rest of the day is on your own where you can see; Old Town Jamestown, Old Town Sonora and the Historic Red Church.
Today we are traveling and seeing the sites along the way to Oakhurst and the end of Highway “49”, the “Golden Chain Highway”. You can stop and see the Jeffery Hotel in Coulterville, the Historic Mariposa Hotel in Mariposa, the Mariposa History Museum, and the California State Mining Museum.
Today we are heading back to Jackson today where we’ll spend the night. If there is something you missed, take the time to see it now.
Today we head back to where we started, the Nugget Casino via Highway “88” which is my most favorite route across the Sierra Nevada Mountains and our final farewell dinner at the Nugget.