One-day Road Trip from Sacramento
Follow Interstate 80 east from Sacramento about 30 miles to Auburn. Take a look at the imposing Placer County Courthouse and its museum and take a quick stroll around Oldtown. Auburn, dating back to 1848, was one of the first gold towns to come into existence. Then travel south on winding Highway 49 to Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma. Explore this historic park along the South Fork American River. Coloma features several excellent museum displays. Often, costumed docents are on hand to explain the area's history. Return via Placerville.
Three-Day Road Trip from Sacramento
From Auburn, follow Highway 49 north to Grass Valley and Nevada City. Stop at Empire Mine State Park in Grass Valley, and explore the many shops and wonderful old architecture found in Nevada City. Return to Auburn, spend the night there, and the next day head for Coloma. After a brief stop to enjoy the art galleries and boutiques on Placerville's Main Street, continue south to Sutter Creek, where you can spend the afternoon exploring the many shops there. If you are interested in wine and wine-making, go east from Plymouth to explore the many wineries of the Shenandoah Valley. Spend the night in one of Sutter Creek's many historic bed and breakfast inns before heading back to Sacramento.
Five-day Road Trip from Sacramento
Visit the Empire Mine, Nevada City and Auburn (described above). On the second day, visit Coloma, and then overnight in Sutter Creek. Continue south to the historic town of Jackson, with its huge mining wheels and museum, then follow Highway 49 south to Highway 4, where you turn east and stop in Murphys. Return to Highway 4, overnight in Sonora and backtrack a bit, exploring the old town of Columbia. On your final day, take in the trains at Jamestown's Railtown 1897 State Historic Park.
Interstate 80 is a major route across the Sierras.