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California Gold Rush Country
The California Gold Rush Country is a region in northeast California famed for the mines and mineral deposits that brought the '49ers west for the California Gold Rush. It's made up of nine counties, including scenic Calaveras County. The county was also made famous worldwide when in 1865 Mark Twain wrote of the "Celebrated Jumping Frog," a contest that endures to this day. Located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, 133 miles east of San Francisco and 135 west of Lake Tahoe, the county lies midway along State Highway 49, which connects the towns of the Gold Rush Country. It is filled with natural and historic diversity. The topography of the county varies from ranch land, through a foothill environment, to the high Sierra Nevadas.

The county is a great place to buy a primary or vacation home, with 19 and counting award-winning wineries, six alpine lakes for water skiing, canoeing, kayaking, and camping, Bear Valley Mountain Resort, and world-class golf courses. Calaveras also boasts three caverns, Big Trees State Park, fine arts, live indoor and outdoor theater, two large venues for concerts and other large events plus great dining and lodging.

The median price for a single-family home in the county is $412,500, but multi-million-dollar properties are available in such towns as picturesque Murphys, known as "the Queen of the Sierra." With approximately 2,000 residents, Murphys lies in the Sierra Nevada foothills between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park. The village offers a historic main street, retaining the charm of yesteryear, which is canopied by towering elm trees. It also features numerous award-winning wineries, each with a tasting room open to the public, art galleries, live theater, eclectic shops, wonderful restaurants, and charming hotels and bed-and-breakfasts. It is just a short drive to numerous recreational opportunities.

Murphys is located at about 2,000 feet, ideally situated above the central valley fog but generally below the snow line. Its climate closely imitates that of some superb wine regions in France. The weather is pleasant and mild year-round, with temperatures ranging from the mid-30s to 60s during the winter and 70s to 90s during the summer.

The town is named for brothers Daniel and John Murphy, who settled the area in 1848 at the start of the California Gold Rush. These astute businessmen made their fortune by selling supplies to the throngs of gold miners who flocked to the area. Legend has it that both were millionaires by the time they were 25 years old.

Many of Murphys' original Gold Rush-era buildings are still in use today, including the Murphys Historic Hotel and Lodge, which once hosted such notables as General Ulysses S. Grant, Mark Twain, and Horatio Alger.

Story by Jacqueline Shannon
Photography courtesy of the Calaveras Visitors Bureau.


Print Date: 6/1/2020
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