Visit foothill and mountain museums free during Heritage Trail event |

Visit foothill and mountain museums free during Heritage Trail event

The Gatekeeper's Museum in Tahoe City has expansive, lakeside grounds in addition to displays and quaint gift shop.
Amy Edgett / Sierra Sun |

The seventh annual Placer County Heritage Trail Museum Tour, offering free admission 10 a.m.-4 p.m., highlighting 20 Placer County museums from Roseville to North Lake Tahoe, will take place Aug. 2 and 3.

Remnants from the Gold Rush-era, transcontinental railroad, the granite mining industry, the agriculture and timber production industry, vineyards and farmlands are scattered for viewing throughout the museums participating in the Heritage Trail Tour.

Encounter simulated experiences of Placer County and California history with multiple hands-on displays and demonstrations at the various sites — a weekend event for the whole family to enjoy.

Touring museums in Tahoe City, Foresthill, Dutch Flat, Colfax and Soda Springs will include many unique museum offerings.

Enjoy the sweet smell of pine in the mountain air while exploring the Donner Summit Historical Society Museum in Soda Springs and the Gatekeeper’s and Watson Cabin Museums in Tahoe City.

Come face-to-face with a black bear in the Gatekeeper’s Museum and view more than 800 displays of vintage and contemporary Native American baskets, jewelry, pottery and dolls. Or, take a tour of the 1909 Watson Cabin, the oldest building constructed on site in Tahoe City. It is set up like a typical home of the era.

Walk through the 19th century engineering feat, Summit Tunnel #6 at Donner Pass, which opened on Nov. 30, 1867, after two years of blasting to bore through 1,659 feet of granite. Tunnel #6 was used continuously for 130 years by Central Pacific, Southern Pacific, Union Pacific and AMTRAK. The last train drove through Tunnel #6 in 1993.

A stroll through the town of Dutch Flat is like walking onto an old western movie set. Most of the town is lined with original buildings from the 1800s. Stop to visit the Golden Drift museum.

The renovated train station in Colfax has displays of antique jewelry, railroad memorabilia and a collection of hand-made dolls depicting each President of the United States. The dolls are donated and kept up-to-date by a resident and each depicts something personal about the individual president.

The Forest Hill Divide Museum in historic Foresthill features one-of-a-kind displays of the lumber industry among its many resources, while the Western SkiSport Museum at Boreal honors the various world renowned sports events and activities in the Sierra.

If you choose to visit museums downhill, there are six museums located in Auburn, and several valley area museums open in Lincoln, Roseville, Rocklin and Penryn, brimming with antiquity and activities for all ages.

Free printed Heritage Trail Guides are available at every Heritage Trail museum. A copy may also be downloaded now at

Sponsors of the Heritage Trail are the County of Placer, WAVE Broadband, Consolidated Communications and the Native Sons of the Golden West (Auburn Parlor #59 and Lincoln #63 Silver Star Parlor).

Find following museums participating in the Heritage Trail.

Mountain museums located in the Sierra Nevada and North Lake Tahoe: Forest Hill Divide Museum (Foresthill); Colfax Area Heritage Museum; Golden Drift Museum (Dutch Flat); Donner Summit Historical Society Museum (Soda Springs); Western SkiSport Museum (Boreal); Gatekeeper’s Museum (Tahoe City); Watson Cabin (Tahoe City).

Valley museums located in South Placer: Lincoln Area Archives Museum; Maidu Museum & Historic Site (Roseville); Roseville Historical Society Carnegie Museum; Roseville Fire Museum; Lincoln Area Archives; Rocklin History Museum; and Griffith Quarry Museum (Penryn)

Auburn museums within one mile of the historic courthouse in Auburn: The Benton Welty School Room; Bernhard Museum Complex; Gold Country Museum; Placer County Museum;; Joss House Museum; and Gold Country Medical History Museum.

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