Placerville was once known as a town for mining gold, and it was labeled “Dry Diggin’s” for the way in which miners moved so much dry soil to the running water to separate the soil from the gold itself. However, the town was also known for other more sinister reasons as a large number of public hangings on the town square would result in a new alias, “Hangtown”.
Today the mining is gone and also the bad reputation, for Placerville is now a fast growing scene for food and wine with many establishments receiving glowing recommendations. Yes, this small town at the foot of the Sierra Mountains has a fascinating history to match an equally impressive lineup of attractions, but there is also another reason to visit Placerville – convenience. It may feel like a million miles away from the city when you get there but located just two hours’ drive from San Francisco; it is one of the easiest destinations to reach for locals seeking a short break from the norm.
Departing San Francisco on the US – 101, join up with the Interstate 80E and take it all the way to Sacramento before continuing on the US-50, also known as the El Dorado Freeway. From here, you will drive a very short distance into the center of Placerville and the heart of all the action.
Although the drive from San Francisco to Placerville is just two hours, the journey will take you through a range of landscapes and also give you the opportunity to take a quick stopover in Sacramento. The California State Railroad Museum is a favorite with adults and children alike, but then there is also Sutter's Fort, a mid-1940’s fort which was built to protect legendary immigrant John Sutter, his crops and loyal workforce.