Just a short drive from the San Francisco Bay Area, nestled in the Sierra Foothills, is one of California’s greatest treasures…Sutter Creek. With a population of only 2,800, Sutter Creek is considered one of the most charming and possibly the most visited of California's gold-mining villages. Sutter Creek is rich in culture and historical ambiance. The quiet streets invite you to take a leisurely stroll around town and imagine how it was to live in the Wild West 150 years ago.
49er Gold Rush History:
With the discovery of gold, Sutter Creek became a mining boom town in 1854. Located right on the Historic 49er Trail, the photogenic village boasted some of the region’s deepest and most productive gold mines, plus colorful characters who shaped state history. Among them, Leland Stanford, whose stake in the Lincoln Mine (now called Sutter Creek Gold Mine) helped build the Stanford University; Alvinza Hayward, the Mother Lode’s first mining millionaire; and a lady miner named Madam Pantaloon, who, dressed in men’s clothes, pulled more gold out of her claim than most of her male compatriots. Beautiful buildings stand today as a reminder of the town’s rich historic past. Registered as California’s historical landmark #322 and located on the historic 49er Gold Rush Trail, here you don’t read about history ----you experience it!
Sutter Creek was founded in 1844 by Captain John Sutter. in 1845-46, the original settlers came in search of timber, not gold. With the discovery of gold in 1848, Sutter Creek became a destination for gold seekers from around the world.
The Wildman, Lincoln and Eureka Mines opened in the 1850s. Homes and businesses sprang up along what is now Highway 49. A number of fires destroyed wood frame buildings, but the brick and greenstone buildings remain to this day.
As the mines prospered, so did the townsfolk. Large, stately homes sprang up along Spanish and Main Streets. Leland Stanford, founder of Stanford University, is one of Sutter Creek's most famous former residents.
Lodging and Relaxation:
Escape to a bygone era and treat yourself to an overnight stay at one of Sutter Creeks intimate Bed & Breakfast Inns, handsome hotels, or cottages. There are many flavors of B & B Inns in Sutter Creek. You can stay in a Craftsman-style B&B with an expansive sitting porch, and lush gardens, or a luxurious Victorian jewel with sumptuously decorated guest suites and gourmet breakfast. Try an English-style B & B whose hosts pamper guests with afternoon tea, wine and hors d’oeuvres or experience a mix of the historic past and modern design in a newly renovated B & B. Walk next door to rejuvenate with a therapeutic massage to unwind from your daily stress. Sutter Creek can actually boast that it has California’s first Bed and Breakfast Inn, operating over 40 years, with17 rooms with private baths and a full country breakfast that is served family style.
Sutter Creek also has cozy, picturesque vacation cottages, some with private decks overlooking a burbling creek, just perfect for a romantic weekend. You may also prefer the convenience of a modern well known Hotel or a recently renovated 19th-century Hotel. Either way, you will surely enjoy your stay.
Looking for adventure? Go deep underground into the fascinating Sutter Gold Mine. Sutter Gold Mine is a modern hard rock mine located on historic Highway 49 just north of Sutter Creek, at the site of several historic mines. These include the Lincoln Mine from which Leland Stanford made his fortune enabling him to found Stanford University and to partner in financing the Central Pacific Railroad. Sutter Gold Mine offers a comprehensive look into the gold mining process and its historical progression from gold panning and hydraulic mining to hard rock techniques. Besides that, it’s just plain fun to go underground and see what’s usually only seen by miners: the inside of the Earth.
Although originally developed for gold extraction in the late 1980s, the mine is now open exclusively for one hour underground tours deep into the heart of the Mother Lode. Above ground, kids love the gemstone mining at the mining flumes right outside the Gold Store. Everyone is guaranteed to find some real gemstones; the perfect start to a rock collection!
Want more adventure? You can also explore caves, ride a zip-line, go camping, boating, hiking, enjoy miles of open road for biking or spend a day golfing.
Downtown Sutter Creek:
The well-preserved historical buildings of Sutter Creek are now filled with specialty boutiques, antiques, art galleries, wine tasting rooms and restaurants. Sutter Creek’s one-of-a-kind shops will make your browsing and buying experience one to remember. Come and sample our famous Sutter Creek hospitality.
Home to a wealth of talented artists, Sutter Creek showcases many fine galleries. At one of our studios, you can witness the transformation of molten glass into wonderful works of art.
Love wine? Taste quality Amador County Wines at one of our wine tasting venues in town or visit beautiful wineries just minutes outside of Sutter Creek. With more than 35 wineries nearby, you can spend a day taking in the beautiful countryside and sample some of California’s best wines.
Sutter Creek’s dining experience rivals the best. You’ll find Mediterranean Cuisine, wonderful steaks, seafood, and pasta at our fine dining establishments. For lighter fair we have wonderful delicatessens for fresh soups, salads and sandwiches. Sutter Creek also has an enchanting tea house where lunch is a languorous delight including high tea.
After your fabulous meal, your day won’t be complete without a trip back in time by visiting our famous old-fashioned ice cream emporium that features ice cream concoctions, full lunch menu, candy, fresh fudge, and live ragtime piano.
Catch a weekend performance at the historic Sutter Creek Theatre, voted Sacramento KCRA 3 A-List Best Independent Theatre 2010. Sutter Creek Theatre features award-winning local, national and international artists weekly! With its excellent acoustics and seating, the theater offers exceptional artists performing folk, bluegrass, Celtic, classical, and blues.
Sutter Creek has a wealth of local events: art, music, and wine festivals, historic reenactments, and an old-fashioned Christmas Open House. Visit www.SutterCreek.org or call (800) 400-0305 to learn more about the year-round events.
Sutter Creek is located at 1,200 feet elevation in the heart of the Mother Lode on Historic Highway 49 in Amador County, California. Driving time is approximately two hours from San Jose, one hour from Sacramento, and about two-and-one-half hours from San Francisco. Come visit us and see why we were voted ”Best Town in California’s Gold Country” by Sunset Magazine and “Top 10 Best Places To Vacation” by Money Magazine.