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Overview

Do the names Old Hangtown or Dry Diggins make you want to exit Highway 49 and enter Placerville? Both monikers made Gold Rush prospectors think twice — and the vigilante judge who dangled criminals from ropes made sure his reputation traveled far and wide. These days the only relics of that overzealous justice are stuffed dummies hanging from bars and the occasional reference to the former name of the town. Modern Placerville relies heavily on its farm roots — boasting a slew of organic farms, nearby wineries, and healthy eateries located in the former mines of the historic downtown — to draw tourists. A stroll along Main Street offers a ...

Do the names Old Hangtown or Dry Diggins make you want to exit Highway 49 and enter Placerville? Both monikers made Gold Rush prospectors think twice — and the vigilante judge who dangled criminals from ropes made sure his reputation traveled far and wide. These days the only relics of that overzealous justice are stuffed dummies hanging from bars and the occasional reference to the former name of the town. Modern Placerville relies heavily on its farm roots — boasting a slew of organic farms, nearby wineries, and healthy eateries located in the former mines of the historic downtown — to draw tourists. A stroll along Main Street offers a glimpse of the 1850s, with museums, antique shops and hole-in-the-wall watering holes. In the evenings, live music trickles from casual wine bars and cafes, as the expansive sky glitters above. However, there is more than small town charm to this village. Travelers searching for outdoor adventures fill B&Bs in Victorian mansions (this town is the gateway to Lake Tahoe); eager families continue their gold history tours; vinophiles, mountain bikers and river rafters pop in for groceries before setting out on day trips.

Michele Bigley
About the Expert

Michele Bigley is the author of Northern California: An Explorer's Guide and Great Destinations Kauai from Countryman Press.

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Michele Bigley for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summer, early fall