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The following Placer County cities are in the Gold Country:
The following Placer County cities are in the Sierra Nevada mountains:
- Nevada County - Located north of Placer County, Nevada County rises from the Sierra foothills to the Nevada border. The county retains many examples of its Gold Rush past, ranging from California's oldest operating theater in Nevada City to the Holbrooke Hotel in Grass Valley, an establishment that has hosted four Presidents since its opening in 1851. Even before the Gold Rush, the county gained fame for the ill-fated Donner Party of 1846, and today the lake named for that doomed expedition is a popular recreation spot.
- Western Nevada
- El Dorado County - The name of Placer County's southern neighbor translates from Spanish as "the gilded/golden", an appropriate title for the county where the California Gold Rush was kicked off after a discovery at Sutter's Mill (near Coloma) in 1848. The county's attractions include mountain scenery, gold mining history, the impossibly blue waters of Lake Tahoe, backpacking opportunities in the Desolation Wilderness, and epic skiing in the South Lake Tahoe area.
- Sacramento County - Bordering Placer County to the southwest , Sacramento County stretches from the wetlands at the edge of the San Francisco Bay to the rolling hills of Gold Country. The Sacramento and American Rivers played prominent roles in the county's development, and today offer outdoor opportunities ranging from boating to fishing to birdwatching. The capital city of Sacramento is located at the rivers' confluence, and visitors will appreciate its historic districts and more than 25 museums.
- Sutter County - Placer County's western neighbor, tiny Sutter County lies between the Sacramento and Feather rivers, with nearly 90% of the county's land used for grazing and agriculture. The county is home to the eroded volcanic lava domes of the Sutter Buttes, which occupy a circular area roughly ten miles across and are sometimes referred to as the world's smallest mountain range.
- Yuba County - Bordering Placer County to the northwest, rural Yuba County is located along the western slope of the Sierra Nevadas, offering visitors recreational opportunities in the Plumas and Tahoe National Forests, and providing a glimpse into the area's Gold Rush past at the ghost town of Timbuctoo and neighboring Smartsville. The western side of the county is flatter, more populous, and primarily used for fruit orchards, rice fields, and grazing.