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The spot where James W. Marshall discovered gold in 1848 also happens to be one of the best places to learn whitewater kayaking.
Photograph courtesy Far West
The spot where James W. Marshall discovered gold in 1848 also happens to be one of the best places to learn whitewater kayaking. A 70-minute drive from Sacramento International Airport, the south fork of the American River has predictable water flows and beginner-friendly sections. Rest up at Eden Vale Inn, a B&B near Placerville with Xanax-like gardens and casually luxurious rooms (reserve one with an outdoor soaking tub). The Philly cheesesteak at Take a Bite Deli is a staple around here; get yours on the way to Current Adventures, where owner Dan Crandall starts newbies in a pool before moving them into the river to learn strokes. You can also visit a replica of Sutter’s Mill at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, which stocks maps of hiking trails. This is the country, but you’d hardly know it when you’re eating a house-made pasta or the chocolate-chipotle prawns at Café Mahjaic.