Inns in California’s Historic Gold Country

Sacramento, CA [September 8, 2016] -- The discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in 1848 drew thousands of people to California in search of riches. The Gold Rush-era towns that sprang up to support the miners are quieter now, but all the more charming. Visitors can still try their hand at panning for gold and explore historic sites surrounded by the natural beauty of the Sierra Foothills. Below are just some of the gems among the bed and breakfast inns and boutique hotels in California’s Gold Country.

Eden Vale Inn is located just minutes from where gold was first discovered and the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma.  Visitors have the opportunity to try panning for gold along the South Fork of the American River and explore the region’s history through a newly refurbished museum.  Eden Vale Inn’s central location make it easy to explore other historic gold rush sites such as Gold Bug Park in Placerville, the Empire Mine in Nevada City, and Columbia State Park near Sonora.  The innkeepers are happy to help guests plan their trip.  Also, don’t miss the World Gold Panning Championships September 11-18, 2016 at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds. 

Guests who pan a few pinches worth of gold can pay for their room at the 1859 Historic National Hotel & Restaurant in Jamestown.  As was the custom over 150 years ago, customers paid for a night’s stay at the hotel with a purse full of gold dust. National Hotel owner Stephen Willey has brought back the option of paying with gold by purchasing an old-time brass balance scale with weights, along with a digital model required by county weights and measures.  Willey notes the daily price of gold inside the hotel’s authentic Gold Rush-era saloon, which still uses the original back bar from 1859. For those not flush with gold, guests can still pay for their rooms with cash or credit cards.

Willis Dunbar, who built the Dunbar House in Murphys, originally paid for his 880-acre Dunbar Ranch with $150 in gold coins.  The town of Murphys had been founded on one of the most lucrative gold mining operations in the state.  Two brothers, John and Daniel Murphy, were among the first pioneers to successfully bring wagons over the Sierra in 1844.  Four years later, they struck gold and became millionaires. Dunbar served as the Superintendent of the Union Water Company, which built reservoirs in Murphys and Angels Camp to ensure miners with a steady stream of water for washing gold. The Dunbar House is a short walk from Murphys Old Timers Museum, which recounts the town’s rich history and offers weekly guided walking tours departing from the museum at 10:00 a.m. each Saturday. Just a mile and a half from downtown Murphys, the Courtwood Inn is a newly-constructed cedar log bed and breakfast offering panoramic views of the hills where the miners looked for their riches.  A short drive from both inns, visitors can join gold panning tours in Angels Camp.

Known as the “Golden Chain Highway,” scenic Highway 49 winds its way through several historic gold rush towns.  Located just off the highway in Sierra City, High County Inn is a mountain lodge providing a great base for exploring this rich stretch of gold country, including the Kentucky Mine Historic Park and Museum, just four miles away.  The park provides twice-daily tours for visitors to see and hear the sounds of an old gold mine and stamp mill in operation.  In the nearby town of Downieville, the Downieville Museum is located in a stone building with original iron doors and window shutters that date back to 1852.  The museum houses a fascinating collection of artifacts depicting the town’s Gold Rush origins.

Also off of Highway 49 in Grass Valley, the Empire Mine State Historic Park is the site of one of the largest, deepest, and longest operating gold mines in California. The park contains many of the mine’s buildings, the owner’s home, restored gardens, and the entrance to 367 miles of abandoned and flooded underground mine shafts. Miners unearthed 5.6 million ounces of gold before it closed in 1956. Visitors can explore the park through guided tours of the mine and miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. The nearby Swan Levine House was built in 1867 by owners of a local gold mine.  The historic inn is now owned by a pair of artists who have a printmaking studio inside the grand home. 

For more information about these and other California bed and breakfast inns, visit


Media Contact: Ranee Ruble, or 503-788-3938


About Us

The California Association of Boutique & Breakfast Inns (CABBI) is the largest and most influential bed & breakfast and boutique inn association in the nation and is the only California bed & breakfast association affiliated with the California Hotel & Lodging Association. CABBI was formed in 1991 to promote the bed and breakfast experience to the traveling public and to educate, support and encourage CABBI members to provide a quality stay for inn travelers.