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Route from Fairfield to Columbia - Suggestions please!

London, United...
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45 posts
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Route from Fairfield to Columbia - Suggestions please!

We are leaving San Francisco on the 31st March to start our journey to Yosemite via the gold rush route and then on to the coastal drive back to San Francisco before we return home to the UK. We have a 9 year old who is very keen to discover gold - so as well as going on a gold panning session in Jamestown (the following day) I am wondering what the best route is from Fairfield (after visiting the jelly belly factory if not too crowded) Will it take much longer if we go via Sacramento up to Placerville - I quite like the sound of the Gold Bug park mentioned on some forum posts. Then the drive down route 49 to our stopover near Columbia State Historic Park sounds like it has some interesting places (Angels camp included). I was originally going to travel via Lodi but am now thinking of the Sacramento Route. If we leave Fairfield around 1pm how much do you think we can pack in before we arrive in Columbia (before dark if possible!) All advice much appreciated!

4 replies to this topic
El Dorado...
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1. Re: Route from Fairfield to Columbia - Suggestions please!

if time allows you should visit Gold Discovery Park in State Park in Coloma. it is on Highway 49 about 15 miles north of Placerville. where it all began and the world rushed in.

Gold Bug mine is interesting for a horizontal walked into the mine and a visit to the old stamp mill.

When you are going south on 49, past Fiddletown bed sure you don't stay on the bypass org you will miss Amador and Sutter Creek. The latter is worthy of exploration

Fremont, California
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2. Re: Route from Fairfield to Columbia - Suggestions please!

You have plenty of time to drive from Sacramento and then to Columbia in one day.

For some things to possibly see along the way is

Old Sacramento


The railroad museum is awesome If you do want to see the railroad museum, there is a large parking structure (several floors) a 2 or 3 minute walk to the Railroad Museum.

From Old Sacramento you migh want to route through Coloma


and then on to Placerville


On the highway 49 route, you may want to make a side trip to see a huge gold nugget then you want to go to Ironstone Winery



The drive is more fun this way, Lodi is mostly about wineries.

I'd probably be on the road by 9:00 or 10:00 in the morning,

For more on highway 49 see


Edited: 7:02 pm, March 09, 2015
Elk Grove...
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3. Re: Route from Fairfield to Columbia - Suggestions please!

Do not under-estimate the driving time.

You are planning on leaving Fairfield at 1 pm. It takes 1.5+ hour to reach Gold Bug Park. 2:30 pm at the earliest. Stay at the park for 1 hour. Leaving at 3:30 pm. By the time you reach Columbia State Historic Park, at least another 1.5 hour of driving, that's after 5 pm. This State Historic Park closes at 5 pm.

London, United...
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4. Re: Route from Fairfield to Columbia - Suggestions please!

Thanks for the timings Happyfeet - we won't be visiting the Columbia State Historic Park that day so that's OK - I just want to arrive at our B&B before dark as it's off the beaten track. We'll visit the park the next day after gold prospecting. I have the ironstone winery and Calaveras Big Trees State Park on our list too which we will aim to do before heading to Yosemite the following day(wrong direction I know) We are planning two nights in Columbia to fit the prospecting in. Otherwise we do as Mini suggests and set off early from San Francisco and miss out the Jelly Belly factory at Fairfield to get more in around route 49. Tough decisions!

I don't think we will stop at Sacramento as we will visit the rail museum at Jamestown (and that will be enough for me I think!)

I'll check all the links - thanks everyone!

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