Fifty things to do

50 things to do on the 50 special section
By: Staff report
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The Fabulous 50, more commonly known as Highway 50, offers visitors and travelers many options ranging from live performances to outdoor recreation. This list is certainly not comprehensive, but is a starting point for readers to begin their own journey. The list is not in no particular order. 1. Coloma — The site of the first discovery of gold in California in 1848 is at Coloma, located east on Highway 49 from Placerville. The state historic park sports a replica of John Sutter’s Mill, a Mormon cabin, museum and more. For more information, visit 2. Folsom Thursday Night Market — This seasonal market runs through the summer on Sutter Street in Folsom and features live entertainment, a farmers market and activities. For more information, visit 3. El Dorado Hills Town Center — Conveniently located directly on Highway 50, this shopping center hosts live concerts and other community events throughout the year. For more information, visit 4. Lake Tahoe — The Jewel of the Sierra, Lake Tahoe is a destination all year long. From skiing to swimming to boating and hiking, South Lake Tahoe is a hub of activities. For more information, go to 5. Shakespeare Festival — The Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival at Sand Harbor draws thousands of visitors every year. This year’s festival is scheduled for July 11 through Aug. 23. 6. Folsom History Museum — Featuring displays on local history, including the Pony Express and the Gold Rush, the museum is located at 823 Sutter St. in Folsom. For more information, visit 7. Folsom Aquatic Center — Located at 1200 Riley St. in Folsom, the Aquatic Center is managed by the city. The facility features a pool, a water slide and splash pool. For more information, visit or call (916) 355-8318. 8. Hangtown — Highway 50 intersects with Highway 49 at Placerville, providing easy access to plenty of Gold Rush history. The town also features many dining establishments, antique shops and a museum in its historic business district. For more information about Placerville, visit 9. Live Music — There are plenty of live music venues along the Highway 50 corridor, including the Powerhouse Pub at the corner of Riley and Sutter streets in Folsom, The Purple Place in El Dorado Hills and ABs Bar on Blue Ravine Road in Folsom. 10. FIDO Dog Park — The fenced dog park at 1775 Creekside Drive in Folsom is named after the Folsom Independent Dog Owners group. There are no fees. For more information, call (916) 355-7285. 11. Foothills driving — White Rock Road, located just off of Highway 50, is a scenic drive of rolling hills and ranches, south of Highway 50 all the way to Grant Line Road south of Rancho Cordova. Near Highway 50 is also the remains of Clarksville, a town dating back to the Gold Rush. It is private property now, but private tours can be arranged. For more information on Clarksville, visit 12. Apple Hill — This area is known for its apple pies and other treats during the fall. Wagon rides, music, vendors and more can be found at Apple Hill in Camino, just east of Placerville. For more information, visit 13. Boating on Folsom Lake — The famous Folsom Lake is perfect for boating enthusiasts and easy access to ramps are provided at Folsom Point, off of Natoma Street in Folsom, and Brown’s Ravine, off of Green Valley Road. Fees are posted at the entrance. For more information on Brown’s Ravine, call Folsom Lake Marina at (916) 933-1300. 14. Wright’s Lake — Folsom and Tahoe aren’t the only lakes in the area. Wright’s Lake is located east of Placerville in the El Dorado National Forest. From Kyburz on Highway 50, go east 5 miles to Wright’s Lake Road. Turn left (north) and drive another 8 miles. The lake features trails, campgrounds and more. For more information, call (530) 647-5415. 15. Outlet Shopping — Folsom Premium Outlets, 13000 Folsom Blvd., draws shoppers from all over the region. Some of the outlets included in the center are Calvin Klein, Converse, Guess, Izod, Jockey, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th and more. For a complete list, visit 16. Sutter Street shopping — Folsom’s Historic Business District sports many unique shops and services. From day spas and salons to antique stores and restaurants, Sutter Street is always a happening place. For more on the district and what it has to offer, visit 17. Folsom shopping — Aside from the Premium Outlets and Sutter Street, East Bidwell Street in Folsom features the Broadstone Shopping Center and many other centers along the road. There is also the Brigg’s Ranch center at Blue Ravine Road and Natoma Street. 18. Gallery at 48 Natoma — The Gallery at 48 Natoma St. in Folsom features rotating exhibits of art, photography, quilting and more. For more information, visit 19. White water rafting — There are many white water rafting companies along the various forks of the American River, including the South Fork near Coloma. For a partial list of whitewater outfitters, go to 20. The Folsom Powerhouse Museum — The Folsom Powerhouse, at 9980 Greenback Lane, is part of a colorful chapter of Sacramento history and is also an example of the tremendous advance in the commercial application of electricity. H.P. Livermore realized that the water of the American River could turn generators for electricity in Sacramento, located 22 miles downstream. With his partners, Livermore built the powerhouse, which still looks much as it did in 1895. The opening of the powerhouse brought with it a “grand electric carnival” parade through downtown Sacramento and a 100-gun salute from a detachment of soldiers near the substation. Vintage generators are still in place at the powerhouse, as is the control switchboard. Visitors touring the powerhouse can see the massive General Electric transformers, each capable of conducting up to 11,000 volts of electricity. For more information, call (916) 985-4843. 21. Sacramento Drive-in — One of the few remaining drive-in theaters is located at Bradshaw and Highway 50, 9616 Oates Drive in Rancho Cordova. The theater is open, despite rumors to the contrary. For more information, call (916) 363-6572. 22. Old Sacramento — Highway 50 merges with Interstate 5, taking motorists right to Old Sacramento. The area features museums, historic buildings and the California State Railroad Museum, 125 I St. For more information, visit 23. Red Hawk Casino — If you don’t feel like driving all the way to Nevada, stop in at the Red Hawk Casino in Shingle Springs near Placerville. For more information, visit 24. Wine tasting — For those looking for a quick stroll while wine tasting, visit Sutter Street. There is the Cellar Wine and Cheese Bar, 727 Sutter St., (916) 293-9332, and Procissi Cellars in the 600 block of Sutter, (916) 608-9179. For the more adventurous, head up to El Dorado County where the region is turning into a little Napa Valley. For a list of wineries and wine tasting events, go to or call (800) 457-1624. 25. Go golfing (private) — Private golf courses abound in the area.  is located at 1620 East Natoma St. in Folsom, (916) 817-8100, Serrano Country Club is located at 5005 Serrano Parkway in El Dorado Hills, (916) 933-5005 and Cameron Park Country Club, 3201 Royal Drive in Cameron Park, (530) 672-7900. 26. Go golfing (public) — There are some great public courses available to those looking for a quick trip to the links. Bass Lake Golf Course is located at 13000 Alexandrite Drive in Rescue. For more information, call (530) 677-4653. Other public courses include Apple Mountain, Camino Heights, Cold Springs and Sierra. 27. Hiking — Trails are plentiful off of Highway 50. Around Folsom, there are trails along the American River, Folsom Lake and Folsom Boulevard. Just keep you eye out for trail signs as you embark on your adventures. 28. Go to jail — Folsom Prison Museum is located next to the historic prison off of Natoma Street in Folsom. For information on the prison and its exhibits, call (916) 985-2561, Ext. 458 or visit 29. River Cats Stadium — Watch the River Cats play and attend other events. It’s located across from Old Sacramento. 30. State Capitol — Visit the State Capitol building and grounds in the heart of Sacramento. 31. Gold Panning — Go gold panning. There are lots of options, including demonstrations at Coloma and at Gold Bug Mine in Placerville. 32. Tommy T’s Comedy Steakhouse is moving into the Nimbus Winery at Hazel and Folsom Boulevard. It will open soon. 33. Regal IMAX in El Dorado Hills — Located in the Town Center, the movie theater utilizes IMAX technology, but sadly, not the iconic huge screen. Seeing a movie in the crisp digital IMAX quality in an air-conditioned theater can easily make up for the smaller screen. 34. Folsom Live — The area’s biggest street party takes place on Sutter Street on the fourth Saturday in September. This year’s bash is Sept. 26. The event features dancing, live music on three stages, shopping and dining. For more information, visit 35. American River Bike Trail — This famous bike trail runs from Beal’s Point in Granite Bay all the way to Sacramento. For more information, visit 36. Fishing — From river fishing to lake fishing, Highway 50 offers easy access to all of these options. Check with local parks and facilities for rules. 37. Nimbus Fish Hatchery — Located at 2001 Nimbus Road in Gold Run, the visitor center for the hatchery is open daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call (916) 358-2820. 38. Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary — Rescued animals are on display in natural settings at the zoo in Folsom, located at 403 Stafford St. For more information on activities and hours of operation, call (916) 351-3527. 39. Nimbus Winery — This “winery” is actually a shopping center and is also home to Tommy T’s Comedy Steakhouse and other shops. It is located at 12401 Folsom Boulevard in Rancho Cordova. 40. Ski — When the weather is right, there nothing like fresh powder on the mountain. Some popular ski resorts on Highway 50 include Heavenly Ski Resort. Access to the resort is at the gondola at Heavenly Village on Highway 50 in South Lake Tahoe. They offer off-season events and activities, so there’s plenty to do even when the snow has melted. For more information, visit Sierra at Tahoe is also located near South Lake. For more information, visit 41. Sacramento State Aquatic Center — The facility is located at 1901 Hazel Ave. in Gold Run near Lake Natoma. They feature special events, training, boating safety, water skiing and more. For more information, go to 42. Placerville Speedway — This place, located at 100 Placerville Drive, seats 1,600 and when the racers get going, so will your adrenaline. For more information, visit 43. Drive through the airpark — Cameron Park’s Air Park is a place where you’ll see driveways going right up to houses, only instead of a car, an airplane is parked out front. The airpark is located along Highway 50. For more information, call (530) 676-8316. 44. Fine dining — Visit the chambers of commerce in Placerville, El Dorado Hills and Folsom to find out some of the best dining choices around. 45. Skateboard parks — Placerville, Folsom, Cameron Park and El Dorado Hills offer skate parks. 46. Bed and breakfast — Staying in a bed and breakfast is an experience on its own and there are many along Highway 50. For tips on places to stay, including hotels, go to or 47. See Folsom Dam — Park your car and walk or pedal along the path on Folsom Lake Crossing Road. Once on the new bridge, you’ll have a perfect view of the Folsom Dam. When the dam was constructed in the mid-1950s, many small communities, farms and historic mining sites were submerged under the lake. During periods of low water, some of the foundations of the original structures resurface. The road is accessible from either Folsom-Auburn Boulevard or East Natoma Street in Folsom. 48. See the Nimbus Dam — The dam features a marina and recreation area and holds back Lake Natoma. There is a group campground, 11 miles of paved bicycle trails, 6 miles of multi-use trails and two launch ramps for boating. For more information, call (916) 988-0205. 49. Horseback riding — Many of the area’s trails are perfect for horses, just be sure to mind the rules. To learn how to ride horses, you can check out Paradise Ranch Equestrian Center, 4831 Paradise Lane in Placerville, (530) 644-7923. 50. Cave Rock — Just on the other side of the state line is an enormous rock that Highway 50 runs right through. It is a site considered sacred to the Native Americans and rock climbing is no longer allowed, but there is a hiking trail located off the road. The hike is only about a 1/2 mile in length. The trailhead is in the Cave Rock Estates, 3 miles north of Zephyr Cove and just south of the Cave Rock tunnel. The well-maintained trail ends at the base of the rock, about 20 feet below the very top. Anyone of average ability can scramble up the narrow trail to the very top, where there is room for relaxing, enjoying the view, or even a picnic. If you plan on climbing to the very top, wear sturdy hiking boots to protect your feet.