That means we've got lots of places to go, sights to see and things to do.
We want to do this right, so... let's pick a county and map out what we want to see and where we want to go.
Each gold country region is packed with history and adventure for everyone.
But first... let's start out by taking a whirlwind tour down highway 49, and checking them all out. Starting with...
Sierra County - imagine taking a trip back 100 years ago when California's gold country was booming during the start of the gold rush days in 1849 on the North Fork Yuba River.
Bumping shoulders with some 16,000 miners all eager to stake their claims.
Downieville, for example, was just one of those booming gold rush towns.
So... walking the narrow streets with wooden sidewalks - that still exist today - browsing through unique gift and antique shops and visiting the many historical landmarks... is like reliving the wealth of gold country history at every turn.
Nevada County - boasting of having some of the best gold rush history.
For example, take Nevada City...
...visiting the historic district downtown; one of the best preserved of all gold rush towns. Seeing more than 90 quaint brick storefronts and victorian homes.
Enjoying California restaurants like The Old 5 Mile House - once an old stagecoach stop built in 1890. Or New Moon Cafe - that offers big city dining with a small town atmosphere... just to mention a couple.
Maybe even staying the night... like in the comfortable lodging of The National Hotel - the oldest operating hotel west of the Rockies - built in 1854-57.
Or if the perfect blend of hospitality and history is more to your liking, there's many delightful Bed & Breakfasts and Historic Inns in the area.
If you decided to spend the night, we'll see you in the morning.
Okay... all rested? Great! Then let's continue on our journey. Next we'll explore...
One of the original "Boom Towns" of the 1849-50 California gold country, Grass Valley's claim to historic fame came from the HUGE amounts of gold discovered and extracted from its rich underground mines; like the Empire Mine, the Idaho-Maryland Mine, and the North Star Mine.
Extracting more than $400 million in gold, it became the richest and most prosperous of all California gold mining towns. So while in town, we'll definitely want to visit one of THE most famous mines in the gold rush era, the 780-acre Empire Mine State Historic Park.
Exploring its beautiful "English manor" stone mansion, where the owner used to live and the immaculate rose garden.
And of course, taking the tour through one of the most profitable hard-rock gold mines.
We heard they removed 5.8 million ounces of gold out of the ground from 1850 to when it closed in 1956.
Just imagine… that amount of gold would fill a box 7 feet wide by 7 feet long by 7 feet tall.
And they estimated that they only took about 20% of the precious metal... before the mine was forced to close in 1956... due to water flooding the mine shafts.
They think that 80% of the gold… is still in the ground.
Pretty amazing, don't you think?
But that's not all there is to see and do.
Grass Valley, also, offers a wide variety of dining choices, nightlife and lodging. And an abundance of outdoor recreation.
Grass Valley and Nevada City are just two of the places we'll explore.
But... more on that later.
Next let's head to...
Placer County - claiming to have it all, all year long... arts, culture, history, and recreational activities to suit every season.
Retracing history by hiking the old wagon trails in the Tahoe National Forest or the Auburn State Recreation Area. Getting off the beaten path and more...
Then it's onto...
El Dorado County - where California's Gold Rush began!
With whitewater rafting, hiking, gold panning, fishing, swimming and more...
Sacramento County - the gateway to the Gold Country - located at the crossroads of Northern California.
There's so much to see here, so we'll come back to that later.
Okay... next is...
Amador County - dotted with quaint little communities, mine and cave tours, hiking, biking, water sports and more...
Calaveras County - is home of the California Gold Rush and Jumping Frog... made famous by Mark Twain when he wrote of the Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County in 1865.
Tuolumne County - Once home to the Mi-Wuk Indians, Sonora, Tuolumne County seat, still carries evidence of the gamblers, outlaws, miners and painted ladies - reminiscent of their frontier days.
Mariposa County - Known as the Mother of Counties, is home to the first hard rock gold mine.
As visitors, let's experience what life was like during the 1848 gold rush era by visiting their museums and history centers.
Did you know Mariposa County is also known as the home of Yosemite National Park?