Highway 50 to the east will take you to Placerville. Along the way from Sacramento, you’ll notice that the traffic thins out and you are headed uphill. Take Main St. through Placerville and enjoy this very well preserved gold rush town. Main St. will take you to Broadway. When you get to Schnell School Road, take it to Carson Road and turn right. Heading east, you will shortly find yourself in Apple Hill, surrounded by apple orchards. Take your time to drive these quiet country roads, enjoy the views and maybe apple goodies. You can also take the drive before the apple season truly starts, when things tend to get really busy.
Past Pollock Pines on Highway 50, take the turn to the Crystal Basin Recreation Area. You are in the mountains. The road will take you through stands of smaller trees that have grown in the old Cleaveland Corral Fire. Notice the sweeping views as you drive. As you continue towards Loon Lake, the forest offers several species of towering conifers. Take your choice of pulling off at Ice House, Union Valley or Loon Lakes. Approaching Loon Lake, there are fantastic rock walls on one side of the road and fine views on the other. Pay attention, and soon you’ll be able to enjoy the lake.
If you would like to drive through a lot California history, this is the road to take. Take the northern part and you end up in the mountains. Head north on 49 out of Nevada City and watch as the foothill scenery transitions into more mountainous scenery. Take the time to enjoy the small communities along the way. Downieville has wonderful vistas, and the mountains and canyons are stunning. Quincy is a good spot to stop and have a bite to eat. Head home from here, and you will have had a wonderful drive through a gorgeous chunk of California history.
This is a tour through foothills, corn fields and wine country. Head south towards Amador City, Sutter Creek and Jackson. The route will take you through Sloughouse, and at the right time of year the corn fields will be full and the corn sweet. The rolling hills are beautiful. Each of the small communities along the way are worth spending some time in. The farther south you get, the vista will fill with vineyards as far as you can see. It’s simply a stunning way to spend some time on the road, enjoying fine foothill country, just outside of Sacramento.
Driving on Highway 50 to Lake Tahoe takes you through the American River Canyon. From Pollock Pines to Echo Summit, you are driving along the American River, big trees all around. At Echo Summit, you get your first glimpse into the Tahoe Basin. Continue on 50, with Lake Tahoe in full view. When you get to Spooner Summit, take Highway 28, and you’ll be on a course that will take you fully around the lake. At Tahoe City, you’ll take Highway 89 towards South Lake Tahoe. Along the way, fine communities, many views of the lake, a fantastic forest, Emerald Bay and Tallac Historic Estates are all within your trip as you travel these great roads.