When gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill in 1848, the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada would never be the same.
It was a mass migration: 300,000 people came, from all over, to stake their claim. Or at least try!
This skinny stretch of northern California— from Mariposa to Georgetown—is known as “Mother Lode Country.” And with good reason: During the Gold Rush, more than 25 million ounces of gold were extracted from the Sierra Nevada foothills. At today’s prices of about $1,200 an ounce, that comes to $30 billion!
The biggest finds were scored in the Grass Valley area and the river along its edge. In 1852 alone, more than $81 million in gold—in 1852 dollars—was mined. (That’s about $2.4 billion in modern dollars!)
Believe it or not, commercial gold mining still takes place today in Sierra Nevada Gold Country, in places like Carson Hill, near Angel’s Camp.
Some of the most amazing gold from the era is on display today: the California State Mining and Mineral Museum features the incredible Fricot Nugget. It’s a crystalline gold piece weighing in at more than 13 pounds!
Even though there isn’t much new gold to be found, Sierra Nevada Gold Rush Country is still a goldmine when it comes to things to do. There’s hiking, biking, whitewater rafting, plus tons of great restaurants and wineries. Not to mention perfectly preserved historic towns and museums!
Sierra Nevada Gold Country is one of the regions you’ll discover on Extranomical’s Ultimate Lake Tahoe Adventure. Reserve your seat now!