The California Gold rush of 1849 can still be experienced
all along California’s famous “Route 49.”
It’s a great place to launch a series of family adventures along the Sierra Nevada mountains; hunting for, and finding Gold! The 49’er worked the gold from the Sierra foothills – something over 3+ billion dollars worth! Evidence of their lives, lore and adventures can still be found along this route through the same gold fields they worked in 1849.
Nearby, National parks like Yosemite and Sequoia serve as a backdrop for your historic gold rush adventures. This mother lode region is truly the heart and soul of the “Golden State.”
We have a collection of recommendations regarding places to stay and great prospecting along the highway. Good food and many stories about interesting and dynamic Gold Rush characters like Grizzly Adams, Bret Harte and Mark Twain…
“The Mother Lode” along highway 49 was so named because it was such a rich band of quartz lode gold. That lode gold ore fed the gold placers along the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada as far back as the tertiary period (way before the gold rush of ’49).The Mother lode placer deposits were (and are) legendary for the quality of nuggets and blue/gray quartz gold leads known as the “great blue lead.”
Let’s look at some of the towns along this route. These are places that were world famous back in 1849. They drew the hard working and hard living prospectors and a huge infrastructure to support them. Names like “Levi Strauss & Co.” were forged in this crucible. There is always the story behind the story that you can only find after visiting these places. That’s a big part of the Gold prospecting adventure of today.
California Highway 49:
Beginning just below Oakhurst just north of Fresno and south of Yosemite National Park,
California route 49 runs along the Mother Lode region of California,
The route goes through such historic gold mining communities as
- Sonora, Columbia,
- Angels Camp,
- San Andreas,
- Grass Valley, and
- Nevada City.
Turning eastward toward the Sierra Nevada, California Route 49 climbs up the Sierra Nevada, passing through Downieville en route to its end point at California Highway 70 in the town of Vinton.
There’s a great set of adventures for you all along this unique highway (including finding gold).
PS. Here’s a Wikipedia article with more detailed info: on California’s Historic Gold Rush – Route 49