Experience the Area
Discover El Dorado County, the Sierra Foothills and the California Gold Country:
El Dorado County is one of the most diverse, exciting and beautiful places you will ever experience. The county spans from the Sierra Foothills in the west over the crest of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Lake Tahoe in the east. The western foothill region in particular has multiple tourism draws including food, wine tasting, nature watching, hiking, bicycling, white water rafting on the American River and California Gold Rush History including the Marshall Gold Discovery State Park. The County has been the backdrop for dozens of movies, including The Horse Whisperer and The Bodyguard.
Because of the milder winters at our Eden Vale Inn elevation of 1,100 feet, many activities are available year-round. This includes most of the hiking, bicycling trails, gold rush history attractions, exploring the historic towns of Placerville, Sutter Creek and Coloma, and wine tasting. The spring, summer, and fall seasons in the Gold Country also provide for whitewater rafting, hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, fishing, antiquing, gold panning, and exploring the historic towns of Placerville, Coloma, Diamond Springs, Jackson, Grass Valley and Nevada City.
During Winter snow sports of the nearby Sierra Nevada Mountain range will tempt you. It’s a little over a one hour drive to get to the resorts on Highway 80 Donner Summit and Highway 50 Echo Summit.
Wine Tasting and Vineyards:
El Dorado County and Amador County are home to over 80 family-owned wineries that beckon visitors. As compared to Napa you will find much more intimate service at a fraction of the cost. You can choose from a diversity of award winning wines. The Sierra Foothills scored big at the 2011 California State Fair wine competition winning 51 Gold and Double Golds for red wines; more than Napa and Sonoma combined. Moreover, El Dorado County wineries accounted for 31 of these gold medals. You’ll love the friendly tasting room staff, idyllic views of vineyards, canyons and mountains. Winter is a beautiful time of year to visit El Dorado's wine country. Weather is mild and the tasting rooms are uncrowded, giving you even more opportunities to talk with our winemaking families. Special annual events at the wineries are Passport Weekends (March/April) and Barrel Tasting Weekend (last weekend in January). There a so many good wines we can’t list them all. When you’re here we’ll be glad to help you plan your tour complete with maps and lunch stops
For more information on Sierra Foothills Wine visit these regional websites:
El Dorado County Wines
Fair Play Wines
Amador County Wines
Sacramento Wine Region, 197 Wineries
Historic Main Street in downtown Placerville (www.placerville-downtown.org) offers a variety of shops and will no doubt have something for everyone; unique gift shops, art galleries, antiques shops, clothing stores and hand crafted jewelry to name just a few. Some of the more popular Placerville events are the: Hangtown Car Show (May), Bell Tower Brewfest and the Wagon Train and BBQ Rib Cookoff (June), Craft Faire (August), Antique Street Fair and Classic Car Show (September), Art & Wine Festival (October) and the Festival of Lights (November) that signals the start of the busy holiday season.
While you wander on Main Street we recommend you check out: Violets Are Blue Consignment, Placerville Hardware (in business since 1851 – they have everything!), The Bookery - fine used books, Winterhill Olive Oil, Tony Matthews Housewares, Placerville Antiques & Collectables, Zia’s, the Wine Smith, The Lighthouse and Dedrick's Cheese.
El Dorado County is one of the last great places to find family run wineries, orchards and farms. Check out these resources when planning a tour:
Harvest time is September thru November
El Dorado County Farm Trails
El Dorado County Visitor Authority
Gayle is an avid gardener and has scoped out all the best in gardens and nurseries. Her garden features plants from many of them and she is more than happy to share her gardening successes and challenges. For the gardener, Gayle recommends visits to these nurseries:
Lotus Valley Nursery and Gardens
Lotus Valley Nursery and Gardens (open March through October)
Nearly all the many grasses at Eden Vale Inn came from Lotus Valley Nursery
Front Yard Nursery
El Dorado Nursery
Lotus Bonsai Nursery
Given the beauty of the area it is not surprising that a number of artists make El Dorado County their home. In Placerville, a number of art galleries display the works of this local talent. We recommend these galleries:
El Dorado Arts Council
Gold Country Artists Gallery
Whitewater Rafting (April thru October)
The West’s most popular whitewater river is the nearby South Fork of the American River. An intermediate (Class III) river, the South Fork American River is suitable for anyone who can swim. Some outfitters run an easy family stretch and will take non-swimmers. An El Dorado County white water rafting trip combines the river’s natural beauty, rich historical background, and exhilarating rapids into one great whitewater vacation experience. Half and full-day trips are available. The more adventurous may want to try the North Fork of the American River as well as the Middle Fork of the American River. For more information on the river and the many good rafting companies see www.theamericanriver.com/
Hiking, Bicycling and Horse Trail Riding
Cronan Ranch Regional Trails (hiking, bicycling and equestrian), Monroe Ridge Trail (hiking), Auburn State Recreation Area (hiking, bicycling and equestrian),Tahoe Rim Trail and the Western States Trail all offer a multitude of outdoor activities within easy driving range of Eden Vale Inn. We have maps at the inn and are always pleased to help you plan an outdoor adventure.
American River Conservancy
Gold Hill Wakamatsu Ranch
On November 1, 2010, the American River Conservancy (ARC) purchased the Gold Hill Ranch, site of the Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Farm Colony, a mile south of Coloma and the Marshall Gold State Historic Park.
This ranch was settled by Japanese colonists from Aizu Wakamatsu (Fukushima Prefecture) in July 1869, and is to the best of our knowledge the first Japanese colony in North America. It also contains the gravesite of Okei Ito, the first Japanese woman buried on American soil. It is the birthplace of the first naturalized Japanese-American, and is the only settlement established by samurai outside of Japan.
The best hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding area near Eden Vale Inn. About a 15 minute drive takes you to the 1,400 acre park along the South Fork of the American River. Our favorite hike is the West Ridge Trail, part of a loop that is about a 90 minute walk.
Dave Moore Nature Area
Nice short walk down to the river and back. A mile or so on relatively flat ground. It’s easy walking and wheel chair accessible. About a 10 minute drive from Eden Vale Inn. Dave Moore Nature Area is located approximately two miles west of Coloma and the Marshall Gold Discovery State Park. This is one of the many easy public access points along Historic Highway 49, to the popular South Fork American River. The Dave Moore Nature Area loop trail is about a mile long which goes from the parking lot to the South Fork American River and back again.
Henningson Lotus Park
This park is located about 4 miles north of Eden Vale Inn on the South Fork of the American River. This 51 acre park provides a wide variety of active and passive recreation opportunities including picnics, a pavilion for events, baseball, soccer, boat launching, walking and general river access. Open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. until dusk.
Monroe Ridge Trail
A nice four mile loop with good views of the Coloma Valley and South Fork of the American River. You can start the hike either in the central Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park or at the nearby Marshall Monument, Coloma.
Tahoe Rim Trail
Hiking, Mountain Biking and Horseback Riding
Western States Trail
One of the premier equestrian trails in the western U.S. The trail is also used for one of the great human endurance running tests: starting at Squaw Valley, California, and ending in Auburn, California, a total of 100 miles. The fact that much of the trail was an early emigrant route adds interest.
www.teviscup.org and California Parks Western States Trail www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=1347
Western States Trail Endurance Run
Bring your bike to explore on road and off road adventures. In fact, Eden Vale Inn is a great spot from which to start several different rides. Several local bike shops will help you with routes and equipment. Gold Country Cycling (www.tandems-recumbents.com) will get you heading in the right direction. Check out their website for touring maps and advice on the local area.
In the pine forests at about 3000’ near Pollock Pines is Jenkinson Lake, also known as Sly Park. An 8 miles trail goes around the lake taking you by a beautiful waterfall. You can do the entire loop trail or a portion and circle back.
Desolation Wilderness (www.fs.fed.us/r5/eldorado/recreation/wild/deso/) is the high country on the southwest side of Lake Tahoe. Pyramid Peak is the highest point in the Crystal Range at 9,987 feet. Desolation Wilderness lies within the El Dorado National Forest (www.fs.fed.us/r5/eldorado/) and is 12 miles long and 8 miles wide. Fifteen named and numbered trailheads provide access and many day hiking opportunities. Popular entry points are Loon Lake, Wrights Lake and Echo Lakes. Also, popular is Twin Bridges along Highway 50 for its access to Horsetail Falls. The relatively small 63,960 acre Desolation Wilderness contains many small streams with about 150 mostly small lakes.
Many other high country destinations, including the Carson Pass on Highway 88, are reasonable day hikes from Eden Vale Inn.
The spectacular Tahoe Rim Trail (www.tahoerimtrail.org) offers excellent hiking as it follows the ridges and mountain tops that circle Lake Tahoe. Winding for 150 miles, the TRT was built to accommodate hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians, and to showcase breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe, California's High Sierra, and the Great Basin of western Nevada.
Gold Panning, Mining, and History
Rent a pan or bring your own. There is an area just across the South Fork of the American River from Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park (www.parks.ca.gov/default.asp?page_id=484) where you can settle in and try your luck. If Rodney is around, he is a fixture in the park, you might be lucky enough to get a lesson in gold panning from him. The Gold Bug Mine and Park (www.goldbugpark.org/) in Placerville hosts Hattie’s museum, a 362-foot hard rock mine, gift shop, stamp mill, hiking trails and gold panning and makes for a terrific outdoor adventure. Bring a picnic and enjoy a day of history and fun at the park.
Apple Mountain Golf Course
18 holes over 6,450 yards with a par of 71 (Public)
3455 Carson Rd
Camino, CA 95709-9595
Bass Lake Golf Course
18 holes plus Driving Range
3000 Alexandrite Drive
Rescue, CA 95672
Within 2 hours drive of Eden Vale Inn are a number of top notch ski resorts:
Sierra at Tahoe,
Heavenly at Tahoe,
Kirkwood (downhill and cross country)
Royal Gorge (cross country)
The Red Hawk Casino (www.redhawkcasino.com) is within five miles. Five restaurants are featured, some with great views of the Sierras and Foothills.
El Dorado County Visitor Authority