Located in the Sierra Nevada Foothills about 45 miles southeast of Sacramento, this quiet town is the perfect hub to explore the past, as well as the present. such as the Sierra Foothill Wine regions, including Amador’s own Shenandoah Valley, with its thirty-four small family wineries dedicated to making renowned fine wines.
Surrounded by the Eldorado National Forest, Sutter Creek is also the perfect backyard for great high sierra adventure. That’s because the forest offers a wide variety of recreational opportunities to visitors looking to explore.
First, is the Amador Flower Farm nestled in beautiful Shenandoah Valley, which features nearly 1,000 floral varieties scattered over 13 walkable acres. There are also several free picnic areas on the grounds, so visitors can “stop and smell the roses.”
There are also a few other areas to enjoy a picnic or stroll, inclosing the Amador County Recreation Agency Picnic Area on the Creek and Calaveras Big Tree State Park with its giant sequoias, including the “Discovery Tree”.
Nearby Sutter Creek is also Chaw’se Indian Grinding Rock State Park with its large valley oaks that once provided the native Americans of the area with an abundant supply of acorns.
Nestled in a little valley 2,400 feet above sea level, the 135-acre park preserves a great outcropping of marbleized limestone with the largest collection of bedrock mortars in North America.
Weekend Activities Guide
But even though visitors are attracted to Sutter Creek by its natural beauty, “gold fever” is still the biggest draw, and a no trip to the area would be complete without a stop at the Roaring Camp Mining Company.
An old camp for Forty Niners, Roaring Camp provides a unique look at the California Gold Rush. And because the camp was difficult to access at one time, most of the gold still remains, offering visitors a chance to see a real operating gold mine where they too can mine their own gold by panning, sluicing, dredging and dry washing in the Mokelumne River.
The fishing on the river here is unsurpassed as water is so clear that visitors can actually see the fish swim by. There are also a few waterfalls and natural rock formations that also provide some secluded swimming holes for those hot summer days.
For those searching for even more gold county history, a visit to the Black Chasm Cavern with its calcite formations including rare helictite crystals, as well as a tour of one of the most famous mines of the Mother Lode — the historic Kennedy Gold Mine — is also in order.
Because Sutter Creek is Amador County’s most walkable town, there are plenty of other reminders of the great Gold Rush era that can be seen on foot, like Knight Foundry, the Sutter Creek Cemetery and Preston Castle —one of the oldest and best-known reform schools in the United State
Knight foundry is one of the earliest US foundry-machine shops remaining in operation today and is powered solely by water. Once used to manufacture machinery for the gold mines of the Mother Lode region, the foundry today is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated a California Historical Landmark.
Finally, a town like Sutter Creek would not be complete without a museum paying respect to its beginning.
Preserved as it was in 1971, the Monteverde Store Museum, which opened a country store in 1896, still displays all the bits and pieces of the past on its shelves. It can be viewed by appointment only.
To get to Sutter Creek, from the north, take I-5 south to Hwy 50 East, then Hwy 16 East to Hwy 49 South. From the south, take 99 North to Stockton, then 88 East to Hwy 49 North. Amador Flower Farm is located at 22001 Shenandoah School Rd, Plymouth, CA 95669 14 miles from Sutter Creek.