Placerville is a great little place to explore while traveling between Sacramento and Tahoe on Hwy 50. It has a thriving and well-preserved downtown with antique shops and bars, and local wags who cherish the wild reputation of ‘Hangtown’ – a name earned when a handful of men swung from the gallows in the mid-1800s. Among the many awesome local legends is ‘Snowshoe’ John A Thompson, a postal carrier who regularly delivered 80lb of mail on skis from Placerville over the Sierras to Carson Valley during the winter.
Placerville has always been a travelers’ town: it was originally a destination for fortune hunters who reached California by following the South Fork of the American River. In 1857 the first stagecoach to cross the Sierra Nevada linked Placerville to Nevada’s Carson Valley, which eventually became part of the nation’s first transcontinental stagecoach route.