California Road Trips - 2020 - 26

ROAD TRIPS 2020

DISTANCE: 119 MILES * STARTS: LAKE TAHOE

Lake Tahoe to
Gold Country
Discover alpine fun
and underground wonders
wo hundred feet below the surface in California Gold Country,
the auditorium-sized chambers
of Black Chasm Cavern hold a
rare treasure trove of glittering
crystals, spiky stalactites, and
North America's largest display
of twisting, curling, glass-like
helictite formations. This natural
wonder is literally a hidden gem,
a worthwhile conclusion to a
road trip of discovery from Lake
Tahoe through the hills and valleys of central California.
Starting at an elevation of
6,200 feet on the shores of
South Lake Tahoe, explore the
inlets and beaches by boat or
kayak, then soar upward in a
gondola at Heavenly to zip-line
and climb at its Epic Discovery
Park (summer only). Make
your base the convenient Hotel
Becket, gobble up fish tacos
and local ales lakeside at Riva
Grill, then hit the road, taking
Highway 50 winding westward
through the Sierra Nevada.
Sample the fresh bounty of
California's farm-to-fork heartland at some of the 50 familyrun farms and wineries of Apple
Hill Growers near Placerville
(check in advance for seasonal
openings). Nearby, stay at the
homey Ponderosa Ridge Bed &
Breakfast, overlooking a threeacre orchard. See the creative
uses for all this produce at The
Farm Table Restaurant (try the
homemade sausages or turkeypumpkin panini). Get dessert at
the Hangman's Tree Ice Cream
Saloon next door, underneath
an outlaw hanging from the
fa├žade of the historic structure.

T

26 | VISITCALIFORNIA.COM

Black Chasm Cavern

LAKE TAHOE
Ponderosa Ridge
Bed & Breakfast
The Farm
Table
Restaurant
Apple Hill
Growers
Iron Hub
Winery
Terra
d'Oro
Kennedy
Gold Mine
Amador
County
Museum

Black
Chasm
Cavern

WORTH A DETOUR
Photo opps: About 30 minutes from South Lake Tahoe,
hike the mellow Pyramid
Creek Trail for waterfall views.
Scenic journey: Drive along
Lake Tahoe's west shore for
stunning views of Emerald
Bay, then visit historic towns
like Tahoe City and Truckee.
Quilt hunt: Travel through
Placerville farmlands to find
colorAREA OF DETAIL
ful quilt
designs
painted on
San Francisco
the sides
Los
of old
Angeles San
Diego
barns.

MARTIN GOLLERY

Across the rolling hills of
Highway 49 about 30 minutes
south, the emerging wine country of Amador County has 45
wineries as of yet escaping the
tourist crowds of Napa. Sample
wines in the scenic tasting room
of the 50-year-old Terra d'Oro
Winery in Plymouth, then stop
by the Iron Hub Winery to fuel
your trip onward with wine and
soup pairings.
Dive into 19th-century Gold
Rush history along Highway 49
at Kennedy Gold Mine and the
Amador County Museum near
Jackson. But even the gleam of
gold can't compare to nature's
million-year-old rock sculptures
revealed in tours through Black
Chasm Cavern in the hills above
Volcano off of Highway 88. This
National Natural Landmark
includes trails, picnic areas, a
sluice-gold-panning activity,
and even a monolith-filled Zen
Garden. But the real treasure
worth the trip is what lies hidden
below at your final destination.


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California Road Trips - 2020

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