Activities … Amador County Things to Do

Amador City
Amador City stands today among the liveliest and most go ahead towns on the Pacific Coast. It is situated in a romantic spot on the Drytown wagon road, two miles from the Creek. Old landmarks in the shape of frame business houses have disappeared and substantial brick edifices risen in their stead.” This was written in the Sacramento Daily Union, January 27, 1879!

About Amador County
Located in the Sierra Nevada Foothills about 45 miles southeast of Sacramento, Amador County is quickly becoming an area known for beautiful scenery, excellent wine and its rich historic experience. Amador County bills itself as “The Heart of the Mother Lode” and lies within the Gold Country. There is a substantial wine-growing industry in the county. Along with Napa Valley AVA and Sonoma Valley AVA wine growing regions of California, the Shenandoah Valley has become a thriving and popular wine growing region of California.

In 1879 the California Gold Rush was in full swing and Amador City was a bustling mining town in the midst of rebuilding after a devastating fire the year before. The Sanguinetti family was building a two-story brick and stone building at one end of town which opened as the Italian Hotel, later renamed the Imperial Hotel, to serve prosperous Victorian visitors and successful miners. The ground floor housed a dining room and bar (with separate entrances so the ladies would not have to go through the bar to reach the restaurant); lodging was upstairs and in a wood-frame addition in the rear of the building.

Today the miners are gone, but Amador City retains its historic character, and the beautifully restored Imperial Hotel still offers a warm and gracious welcome to the California Gold Country.

Guests can while away an afternoon with a book or magazine selected from the hotel library. For wine aficionados, the hotel is within a 10-minute drive of the many award-winning, family-owned small wineries in nearby Shenandoah Valley and Fair Play, and the knowledgeable hotel staff will gladly share their favorites. There is no charge for wine tasting at most of the wineries in this part of the world! Antique and specialty stores in Amador City and Sutter Creek provide an afternoon shopping excursion. Fishing, golf, gold panning and fascinating small museums are close by.

amador flower farm near sutter creek ca

Amador Flower Farm
22001 Shenandoah School Rd, Plymouth 95669
(209) 245-6660

Offers nearly 1000 daylily varieties at the Flower Farm itself, which is nestled in beautiful Shenandoah Valley. Demonstration gardens – 13 acres to walk over and free Picnic areas on the grounds.

Open Hours 9-4 everyday
Closed Mon-Wed in Dec, Jan & Feb

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Black Chasm Cavern
Gold Country Adventures offers 45 minute guided walking tours through the spectacular Black Chasm Cavern. Guests can expect to descend 165 steps into the cavern and visit three highly decorated chambers. On the tour guests can view sparkling crystals, a vivid blue lake and incredibly rare helictite formations that seemingly defy gravity by twisting and curling from the cavern walls in every direction. Black Chasm Cavern was designated a National Natural Landmark by an act of Congress in 1976 due to the proliferation of helictite formations found in the cavern.

Guided tours leave on the hour every day of the year. Through the winter season tours occur from 11 a.m to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m to 4 p.m on weekends. The cavern is open every day of the year. Tours are limited to 25 people so we suggest that groups of 15 people or more reserve a tour time by calling ahead (209)-296-5007.

Above ground we offer a variety of activities that the entire family can enjoy. Sand bags salted with real gems and crystals can be purchased at the visitor center and sifted through using our operational mining flume. Geodes are available for purchase as well and an experienced guide will help you crack open these stones to reveal the hidden crystals inside. Furthermore the visitor center offers a wide selection of mineral specimens, books, toys and jewelry for sale to take home as souvenirs.

For more information visit or call 209-296-5007

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Roaring Camp Mining Company
Open May through September: Cabins, tent sites, fishing, river swimming, gold panning tour, prospecting. Roaring Camp is something special in the way of family recreation. It is an old goldmining camp on the Mokulmne River. In the past, it was accessibly only by horseback. Roaring Camp was once a camp for Forty Niners, but since it was so inaccessible, most of the gold still remains. Visitors can see our operating gold mine an can mine their own gold by panning, sluicing, dredging, and dry washing. In the Mokulumne Canyon, the three forks of the Mokelumne River come together. It is a river unsurpassed in natural beauty. The water is so clear that one can watch the tadpoles and fish swim. There are waterfalls and natural rock formations forty feet high.
There is also a quiet, secluded “swimming hole” with rocks of varying sizes, ideal for diving by those who dare! Be sure to bring your fishing gear. The fishing here is excellent!

Email –
On the web:
Phone: 209-296-4100

Amador County Recreation Agency Picnic Area on the Creek
Picnic area four miles out of Sutter Creek on Church Street – Suter Creek-Volcano Road. Area has ample picnic Picnic Area ample, Gold Panning, Place for Kids to Play. Four miles up Volcano road.

Amador Vintners Association
The Amador Vintners Association is an alliance of thirty-four small, family wineries dedicated to promoting Amador County’s vibrant wine community and diverse, internationally renowned fine wines.

Calaveras Big Tree State Park near sutter creek ca

Calaveras Big Tree State Park
Calaveras became a State Park in 1931 to preserve the North Grove of giant sequoias. This grove includes the “Discovery Tree”, the first Sierra redwood noted by Augustus T. Dowd in 1852. This area has been a major tourist attraction ever since, and is considered the longest continuously operated tourist facility in California.

Chaw’se Indian Grinding Rock State Park
Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park is located in the Sierra Nevada foothills eight miles east of Sutter Creek. The park nestles in a little valley 2,400 feet above sea level with open meadows and large valley oaks that once provided the native Americans of this area with an ample supply of acorns. The 135-acre park was created in 1968 and preserves a great outcropping of marbleized limestone with some 1,185 mortar holes — the largest collection of bedrock mortars in North America.

Eldorado National Forest
Located in Amador County’s backyard for great high sierra adventure. Established in 1910, theEldorado hosts over 2.1 million visitors each year. The Forest offers a wide variety of recreational opportunities to the forest visitor looking to explore, seek out new adventures, or revisit old memories.

Kirkwood Ski Area
Kirkwood Ski Area approximately 55 miles East of Sutter Creek on Highway 88. Best ski area in Amador County.

knight foundry sutter creek historic site located next to eureka street inn

Knight Foundry
Sutter Creek’s Historic, Industrial Crown Jewel. The Knight Foundry, set in the heart of Sutter Creek, California, is America’s last water-powered foundry and machine shop. Established in 1873 by Samuel Knight, this extraordinary facility includes the unique historic equipment and machinery, still in place in its original context, just as it was during its Gold Rush-era heyday.

Knight Foundry is nationally recognized as a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark and a California Registered Historical Landmark. The Foundry is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was named by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of America’s eleven most endangered historic places.

2nd Saturday Self-Guided Tours at Sutter Creek’s Historic Knight Foundry
Knight Foundry in Sutter Creek is America’s last water-powered foundry and machine shop and a premier relic of Mother Lode gold mining history. Join us for a Self-Guided Tour on the second Saturday of every month. No reservations needed.

Hours: Tickets are sold 10am – 3pm. The Foundry closes at 4pm.
Fee: Tours are $10 for adults 18 and older, $5 for students age 5-17, free for children under 5.

Private Tours can be scheduled: 10.00 per person, minimum 100.00
Contact Ron Edgar 209-560-6160

More info:

sutter creek california

Gold Mine Trail Sutter Creek
All Amador mines including the Central Eureka Mine were closed in 1942. The Central Eureka reopened in 1947 and continued strong until its August, 1958 closure. The City of Sutter Creek received the 17-acre site as a gift from private owners, and walking trails will be established around the preserved headframe and stamp mill. The brochure has a map and descriptions of each Amador County Gold Mine.

» Download the map and brochure here.

Historical Walking Map of Sutter Creek
Sutter Creek is Amador County’s most walkable town. Come and explore on foot!

Historic Kennedy Gold Mine Surface Tours
Take a fascinating tour of one of the most famous mines of the Mother Lode, the historic Kennedy Gold Mine!

Historic Sutter Creek Cemetery Tour
You are welcome to visit this and other pioneer burial grounds for historical study, genealogical research or a peaceful walk.

Preston Castle
One of the oldest and best-known reform schools in the United States. It is located in Ione, California, in Amador County.  Tours of Preston Castle are available from 10 am – 1 pm on the first and third Saturdays of every month.

“Friends and I make an annual trek to the Imperial Hotel and I’ve always enjoyed my stay. Just the right mix of upscale niceties and historic quirkiness. The service is always friendly at the hotel, bar and restaurant. The food at the restaurant is good and reasonably priced–one of the best in the area. A charming experience.” – Dave, Salinas CA