Travel Gold Country
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Plan your adventure to the Sierra Foothills (2)
direction. Today those “helictites” are the cavern’s major allure.

Black Chasm was abandoned soon after the Gold Rush and largely forgotten. Luckily, a handful of cave experts continued to explore the chasm and the beauty seemed endless. A century after its discovery Black Chasm was recognized by the U.S. government for the beautiful and rare rock formations and helictites that live in abundance down there. It was declared a National Natural Landmark in 1976.

Guests can explore the cavern on platforms, steps and walkways.

RISE UP RIVER TRIPS

What sounds more appealing than candlelit fine dining on a riverbank following an easy — or not so easy — rafting ride on the South Fork of the American River? The South Fork is one of the best whitewater rafting rivers in California: Plenty of thrilling rapids, wildlife and a wonderfully clear river flowing through a beautiful canyon.

Rise Up River Trips knows that each ride down the waterway should be as unique as the scenery itself, so it customizes trips for special events or just travelers who want to “wing it,” said Rhea Meyers, who works at Rise Up River Trips. The boutique rafting company also offers guided fly-fishing tours.

“It’s a great experience for wedding parties or corporate retreats,” she said.

Plus, it’s an easy drive from Sacramento and the Bay Area and is fun for the experienced or novice white water enthusiast. Regardless of their experience level, those who run this river will long remember the famous rapids which bear such names as “Meat Grinder,” “Trouble Maker,” “Satan’s Cesspool” and “Hospital Bar.”

AUBURN STATE RECREATION AREA

The question about the Auburn State Recreation Area isn’t “what can I do there?” but “What can’t I do there?”

From boating to camping — including float-in camps — to hiking to rock climbing to horseback riding to swimming to cultural sites and picnic areas, fishing, exhibits and interpretive programs, ASRA is one-stop shopping for Gold Rush area recreation and history. Families from throughout the Northern California region have made ASRA a tradition for years. If you don’t have a watercraft of your own, stop by the marina for rentals. There is also a nicely-stocked store and the very important restrooms.

As West said, the entire area is great for hikers and equestrians, partly because of the wider trails made by old gold cart railways.

One can’t miss hike is to see the falls at the Confluence — the meeting up space of the forks of the American River. At ASRA, cameras are a must — just don’t drop them in the roaring rivers and calm lakes.