Angels Camp is located in California’s gold country along Highway 49 and is a fun day trip destination to dig into California’s Gold Rush history. Explore the town’s historic downtown, visit a gold rush museum or go wine tasting at one of the many nearby Calaveras County wineries.
Angels Camp was founded during the Gold Rush by a shopkeeper who decided to make more money providing supplies to the gold miners than looking for gold himself. He did pretty well, and at its apex, Angels Camp served as the home base for over 4,000 miners.
Things to do in Angels Camp
Today, Angels Camp is a friendly town of about 3,000 people. The town is identified as California Historical Landmark #287. It is recognized as being an area rich in gravel mining and one of the most prolific quartz mining sections of the Mother Lode.
Angels Camp City Museum
When you get to Angles Camp, a great place to start is at the Angels Camp Museum and Carriage House. Located on South Main Street, this museum covers three acres and displays a comprehensive collection of artifacts that speak to the rich and diverse history of the area. You can see Gold Rush mining equipment, historic wagons, carriages, plus many more items. Open Thursday through Monday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Website. 753 S. Main Street (Highway 49).
Historic Downtown Angels Camp
Downtown Angels Camp is a pleasure to stroll and browse art galleries and antique shops. There are several restaurants where you can relax for a meal and people watch. You may notice an abundance of Mark Twain-related paraphernalia around town. Downtown is where Mark Twain based his short story “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County: on a tale, he claims to have heard at a local hotel.
The Angels Hotel is still standing and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. While the building is no longer used as a hotel, the sidewalk in front of the hotel features plaques for the winners of the frog jumping contest. The town plays up on this notoriety and hosts a Jumping Frog Jubilee. Angels Camp is also nicknamed & “Frogtown.” The frog jumping event is held along with the Calaveras County Fair in May of each year.
Angels Camp Nearby Attractions
Located five miles from Angels and minutes from downtown Murphys you will find Mercer Caverns. Prospector Walter J. Mercer discovered the caverns while searching for gold in the mid-1880s. Today visitors can climb down into the main chamber of the caverns via a steep stairway. There are numerous speleothems, stalactites, and stalagmites inside the cave: 1665 Sheep Ranch Road Murphys, California.
Calaveras County boasts several wineries and tasting rooms. If you want to sample the local offerings, head out Highway 4 from Angels Camp to the communities of Vallecito, Douglas Flat, and downtown Murphys. Ironstone Vineyards in nearby Murphys is one of the most extensive vineyards in the area and well worth a look. Award-winning wine tasting, Gold Rush Heritage Museum, and beautiful gardens are part of the Ironstone Vineyards expirence. 1894 6 Mile Rd, Murphys, California. Website.
Eleven miles from Angels Camp. If you want to explore things subsurface while in Angels Camp, head to the nearby Moaning Cavern Adventure Park. It is an enormous vertical chamber public cavern in California. The park offers various options to explore the limestone cavern, from gently guided walks to more thrilling rappelling options. They also have zip lines and an adventure trip.
New Melones Lake
New Melones Lake is located about 7- miles outside of Angels Camp and has a visitor center between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Popular activities at the New Melones Lake include boating and fishing. There is also a developed network of hiking and biking trails. Campgrounds are available, which are popular in the summer months.
At least one sequoia was known to be 3200 years old! The Calaveras Big Trees State Park is designed to preserve these giant trees and allow people to experience and learn about them. Calaveras Big Trees State Park is designed to be a park for all seasons and is operated year-round. So any time of the year is an excellent time to visit, 23 miles from Angels Camp.
Getting to Angels Camp
Getting There: Angels Camp is about a 2.5-hour drive from the San Francisco Bay Area or a two-hour drive from Sacramento. The town is located at the intersection of SR-4 and SR-49. If you want to make a weekend of it, there are several lodging options in town, including basic motels, bed and breakfast, camping resorts, and vacation cottages.