The West's best road trips

Satisfy your wanderlust with a Western classic--a great road trip. Get ideas for the best routes and where to eat along the way

California Gold Country road trip

Highway 49 has brilliant spring wildflowers, green, green hills, and a burgeoning crop of restaurants and wineries

Rolling through Gold Country
Photo by George Olson

Rolling through Gold Country

California’s Gold Country is famous for ... well, gold—enough of it to make some 1849 miners very rich. But in spring, these Sierra Nevada foothills shine with a different kind of wealth. Wildflowers pop into brilliant bloom, creeks burble, and the sun warms newly green hillsides. A drive along curvy, beautiful Highway 49 shows you Gold Rush history—you can’t drive a mile without spotting a historic plaque—but also shows off the region’s newfound sophistication: Nineteenth-century towns are sprouting cutting-edge restaurants, and side roads lead to some of California’s most innovative wineries.

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