Eureka! Discover California’s Gold Country
One hundred and seventy years ago California was changed forever when hundreds of thousands of so-called 49s overran the northern foothills in history’s most famous gold rush. Take a road trip through time with these five picks.
Today California is famous for its innovation and unconventional lifestyles that have attracted adventurous freethinkers from all over the world. For Californians this is nothing new. It’s been that way since a Swiss émigré built his empire in what was once a sparsely populated part of northern Mexico not far from San Francisco. It was at his sawmill in the Sierra Nevada foothills east of Sacramento that gold was first discovered in 1848 just weeks before Mexico ceded California to the United States. The Gold Country remains a popular destination for tourists interested in its unique and often brutal history, and the colourful shops, restaurants, and saloons in the rustic boomtowns built by the early prospectors.
Text and photos Pete Balding