This 317-mile long state highway, dubbed the "Golden Chain" Highway, meanders through nine counties in the heart of the California Gold Country. Oakhurst anchors its south end while Vinton and Loyalton are found to the north. The idea for an all-weather road linking many of the major Gold Rush communities began nearly 100 years ago when a group of businessmen, miners and editors formed the Mother Lode State Highway Association. Today the highway winds through river canyons and in many stretches has been widened to four lanes in some areas to accommodate the explosive population growth in the region.

By following this route, travelers can visit dozens of Gold Rush towns. Allow at least several days for the trip.

Here's a site that describes some of the features to be found along Highway 49.
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