El Dorado Hills lies about 18.6 miles from the 1848 gold find site in Coloma, the impetus for the California Gold Rush. Gold was washed down the South Fork of the American River, into areas now in El Dorado Hills and Folsom, but farming and ranching supplanted the Gold Rush. Portions of two Pony Express routes in this area from 1860-1861 remain as modern El Dorado Hills roads. El Dorado Hills includes the longest surviving section of the Lincoln Highway, the first U.S. transcontinental highway. This section, part of the Pioneer Branch, passes through historic Clarksville and is the predecessor of the modern US 50 route.
The modern history of El Dorado Hills dates back to the early 1960s when original developer Alan Lindsey began its development as a master planned community. The original master plan, prepared by architect Victor Gruen, covered the area generally north of U.S. Highway 50, and part of the area south of US 50 now considered to be part of the community. El Dorado Hills was envisioned as a large-scale master-planned community that would be completely planned from its inception as a group of residential “villages”. Other land uses in the master plan included a business park, 18-hole golf course, community parks, schools, a community shopping center, and small commercial centers in each village. The master plan emphasized open space between villages and opportunity for outdoor recreation.
What to Do:
Apple Hill is host to a variety of activities at fruit orchards, pumpkin farms, bake shops, craft fairs and breweries. It is located nearby and provides an annual event that is so popular, it sells out. Visit during the apple and harvest seasons to enjoy the many foods, samplings, and sales of fresh produce purchased direct from the farms.
Folsom Lake is one of the most popular recreational areas in the state and includes around 70 miles of lake front. The history of the park is incredibly interesting. Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park brought electricity 22 miles downstream to Sacramento for over 100 years. The plant was the nation’s first power system to provide high-voltage current over long distance lines for major city and industrial use. An historic 1893 Truss Bridge upriver of Rainbow Bridge and the Folsom Powerhouse serves as a bicyclist-pedestrian bridge linking the existing American River Bike trail to the Folsom Historic District and the powerhouse.
Folsom Historic District offers a Gold Rush-era town setting for strolling, shopping, dining, lodging, and a look at a restored 1850s railroad. parks.ca.gov.