65 mi0.1 mi
Traveling East to Explore How the West Was Won
Explore California's origin story through the settlement that was a catalyst for the Gold Rush, as well as a museum focused on the workers and machines that carved a railroad path through the Sierra. Stroll a path dedicated to country superstar Johnny Cash and his impact on a remote prison, then walk the streets of one of the state's most historical towns, where some of the buildings are unchanged from pioneer times.
Photo credit: Courtesy That Dam Place
Photo credit: Courtesy That Dam Place
0.5 mi5 min
California State Railroad Museum
With its 105 shiny antique locomotives and rail cars, this museum is one of the largest and best railroad museums in the country, and the highlight of Old Sacramento. You'll need at least an hour to see the historical exhibits, interactive displays, and scores of engines and passenger cars from a wide range of eras. From April to September, steam locomotive rides carry passengers 6 miles along the Sacramento River.
2.4 mi15 min
Early settler John Sutter established this outpost in 1839. The park, restored to its 1846 appearance, aims to recapture the spirit of 19th-century California. It was here that Sutter paid for goods with gold found at his mill in Coloma, raising suspicion that he had discovered a source of gold in the Sierra. Exhibits include a blacksmith’s forge, a cooperage, a bakery, and a jail (a self-guided audio tour is available). Demonstrations and reenactments in costume are staged daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
22 mi30 min
That Dam Place
While the setting in a department store parking lot isn't exactly postcard-worthy, the food and the ambiance inside are fun, casual, and creative. The menu at That Dam Place (a reference to the nearby reservoir and dam) is full of well-done American favorites, some with surprising twists and nearly all with whimsical names reflecting the proximity of Folsom Prison, the state pen turned pop-culture reference thanks to Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues." Order the "Citizen's Arrest" burger with a side of "Felony Fries," or go for the lobster roll, named simply "The Last Meal".
1.3 mi10 min
Johnny Cash Trail
Other Great Outdoors
This 2.75-mile walking and biking trail pays homage to music legend Johnny Cash, whose hit song "Folsom Prison Blues" and the live album he recorded at the prison helped put the remote town on the map. The trail winds from downtown Folsom, featuring views of Folsom Lake, crossings of the American River, and, of course, a vista of the imposing Folsom State Prison. You can walk just a portion of the trail to get the feel. In the future, the trail will feature public art installations that salute Cash and his impact on the region.
19.5 mi40 min
Placer County Museum
This small but intriguing museum is located on the first floor of the yellow, domed, neoclassical Placer County Courthouse, which was built in 1852. Collections and exhibits include samples of gold taken from the rivers and mines here, as well as displays about the history of the original Indigenous inhabitants. Admission is free.
8.1 mi20 min
PaZa Estate Winery
Founded in 2005 when owners Pamela and Zane Dobson traded in corporate exploits to make wine in the hills northwest of Folsom, PaZa is the unpretentious antidote to the la-di-da expensive tastings that dominate Napa and Sonoma wine countries. If there's any doubt this is a small, family-run operation, the tasting room is a rustic, open-sided shack with views of the vineyard and the surrounding Sierra foothills. The offerings lean toward reds, including a 2019 barbera, a 2020 Sangiovese, and the comically named Scrappy Red.
7.9 mi20 min
Old Town Auburn
Gold was discovered here in the spring of 1848, just a few months after James Marshall's initial discovery in Coloma. Auburn is a major stop on the road from Sacramento to North Lake Tahoe, and it has developed accordingly. But fortunately, Old Town Auburn remains intact. The landmark four-floor, red-and-white fire station dates back to 1892 and contains California's first motorized fire engine. Close by is the state's oldest continuously used post office. The narrow streets of Auburn are a magnet for antique hunters looking for that elusive bargain.
0.1 mi5 min
17:301 hr 30 min
The homey and casual Auburn Alehouse is one of the more popular hangouts in Old Town Auburn, especially among travelers on Highway 49 and Interstate 80 between the San Francisco Bay Area and Lake Tahoe. The microbrewery opened in 2007, although the historical Block Building that it occupies was built in 1856 as the American Hotel. The menu focuses on elevated pub grub and a wide variety of brews made in-house.
3.5 mi10 min
19:3012 hrs 30 min
SpringHill Suites Auburn
After a full day of discovering the Old West, check into this modern accommodation, complete with a swimming pool, fitness center, and free Wi-Fi. Rest up for a day of history, wineries, and barbecue — not necessarily in that order.