Our stay in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada was only a week and we enjoyed our campsite right on the American River so much that we didn’t do much sight seeing. Just outside our door we could see people rafting the rapids. One day we watched paragliders soaring on the winds high above us.
Less than a mile from the campground is Sutters Mill State Park where gold was discovered in 1849. There is a museum with several free films about the area, miners, early settlers and Native Americans. We walked around old Coloma, checking out the restored school, church, Chinese store and assayers office. We enjoyed a chat with the working black smith and the host at the home of the smithy. Construction is in process on a replica of the original mill. There is a memorial statue of Marshall who found the gold, started the rush, but died poor.
Nearby Placerville has a nice historic downtown with a variety of shops and eating places. We enjoyed going through the oldest hardware west of the Mississippi which has been open in the same location for 160 years. It has wooden floors, rolling ladders and something for everyone from appliances to plumbing supplies and paint. This street provides an idea of what early Placerville looked like.
We enjoyed the area and took advantage of having a nice camp spot to relax and appreciate the natural beauty.