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Sierra Foothills and Gold Country

Sierra Foothills and Gold Country

Dig into California’s fascinating 1849 Gold Rush history on this 5 day, self-drive Sierra Foothills and Gold Country Expedition to Lake Tahoe. Traversing the iconic Highway 49, you’ll follow in the footsteps of the 49ers as local experts show you around the gold mining museums, jailhouses and saloons of Sonora, Nevada City and tiny Downieville. Hopping from one character-filled hotel to the next, and sampling the many excellent local eateries, your exploration will also include on-site wine and beer tastings at some of the hidden gems of the Sierra Foothills, including Sutter Creek Winery. Top it off with a high-country overnight adventure to majestic Lake Tahoe.

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We'll blend your desires with expert, local knowledge to design a seamless, private tour.

Embark on Your Journey

We'll greet you at the airport and be by your side every step of the way, making room for spontaneity as you go.


Starting from $2,490 per person

Pricing includes everything from your international arrival to your departure, with the exception of flights and a few lunches and dinners.


  • Explore delightful Sonora, an important Gold Rush way station boasting period architecture, historic salooons and charming Victorian B&Bs.
  • Enjoy a full-day exploration of Highway 49 en route to Nevada City, taking in a personalised wine tasting in up-and-coming Placerville on the way.
  • Spend a full day discovering quirky Nevada City’s gold rush past and bohemian present (great beer!) in the fascinating company of our local docent.
  • Take a detour to tiny Downieville (population 250) where a local guide will give you the inside scoop on the town’s Gold Rush past.
  • Using the Yuba River as your guide, venture high into the mountains of rural California as you make your way towards spectacular Lake Tahoe.



We tailor itineraries to your dates and interests, adjusting hotels, excursions and length as desired.

We consistently receive 5 star reviews from our discerning clients.

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Sample Itinerary

Welcome to California! Today is a transit day. After your plane glides in for a landing over the waters of the San Francisco Bay, you will take a shuttle to claim your rental car before driving into the City by the Bay. Take the afternoon to explore or relax in your iconic SF Hotel. Rest up for the adventure to come or hit the town to experience some of San Francisco’s famous nightlife.

Welcome to California’s mother lode. The small town of Sonora harkens back to a Gold Rush past where 49ers flocked into the Sierra Foothills of California in search of gold. By 1849, mining camps had sprung up across the region which was soon integrated as a state in 1851. The important way station of Sonora retains its Gold Rush history and also boasts charming Victorian-era B&Bs and excellent restaurants.

Today is the day you walk among the stars! Enjoy a tour of Hollywood (watched over by the famous sign) including a visit to the Avenue of the Stars, and a stop at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Our tour allows you to see Tinseltown your way! Cap off the day with an invigorating urban hike through Griffith Park for a unique viewing perspective of that most famous of hillside signs.

Nevada City (population 3000), is the county seat of Nevada County. It has evolved from its gold mining roots to become a bohemian playground of artists, craft brewers and urban refugees from California’s expensive cities. Its charm is unmistakable and your guide for the day will take through the town’s history right up to the modern day. The evening will be spent enjoying the best entertainment and food this little town has to offer.

Just north of Nevada City you’ll enjoy one of the most remote stretches of Highway 49, meandering alongside the Yuba River through a gorgeous natural corridor, you’ll walk in the footsteps of the gold mining pioneers who built these mountain roads to reach their claims. By lunch you will arrive to the town of Downieville, (population 250) where your local guide will immerse you in the local culture. Leaving Downieville, you will continue along the Yuba River through a succession of small towns as you climb high into the mountains eventually arriving to North Lake Tahoe and your hotel for the night.

Lake Tahoe is one of the natural wonders of the Western United States. Enjoy a laidback morning on the lakeshore, go for one of the many day-hikes in the surrounding hills for a sweeping view of the deep blue Tahoe waters, or relax in your beautiful lakefront hotel before either returning to San Francisco or continuing your adventure down the Highway 395 corridor.

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