Some truly outstanding drives await visitors seeing this region by automobile. Our Maps page gives a general view of major routes plus some handy links.

Highway 49 is a special road that links most of the best of the California Gold Rush towns. You can drive the highway non-stop in a day or so, but slow down and enjoy! Much of the highway is winding, leading through river canyonds.

Interstate 80, a four-lane route that swoops close by the Gold Rush communities of Newcastle, Auburn, Dutch Flat and Alta, provides fast yet beautiful access to the high Sierras and the north shore of Lake Tahoe From Sacramento or Reno. The highway is one of the main east-west arterials in the United States.

U.S. Highway 50 bisects El Dorado County and is the main route to Lake Tahoe's South Shore. The road is four-lane as far east as a few miles east of Pollock Pines, then narrows to two lanes (except for passing lanes) for the route over the Sierras.

State Route 88 leads through Jackson and over Carson Pass, a favorite year-round recreation area.

State Route 89 is a winding route that goes past spectacular high Sierra Nevada scenery.

State Route 4 passes through Angels Camp, Vallecito and Murphys, Arnold and Calaveras Big Trees State Park before crossing over Ebbetts Pass.

State Route 108 brings visitors past Jamestown, Sonora and Twain Harte and eventually over the Sierra Nevadas at Sonora Pass.

Yuba-Donner Scenic Byway. This 160-mile-long loop takes you through Nevada, Sierra,Placer and Yuba counties. Special attractions include the three forksof the Yuba River, the rugged and lofty Sierra Buttes, the Truckee River and Donner Lake. For information and a map, Contact Tahoe National Forest Headquarters, 631 Coyote Street, Nevada City. (530) 265-4531. The route is open year-round although road closures due to snow are possible from October through April.

Feather River Scenic Byway

Need driving directions? This Yahoo map page will get you to where you need to go.


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.