Amador: Ione-Plymouth-Shenandoah Valley-Mt Aukum-Fiddletown

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

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This route meanders around Amador County; the heart of the Gold Country from the town of Ione up to Plymouth. It rolls eastward through the wineries and vineyards around the gorgeous Shenandoah Valley followed by a climb up to Mt Aukum. The return includes a glorious run through Fiddletown and a scenic climb across the valley on Greilich Rd to Willow Creek.

Begin this ride from Charles Howard Park in Ione.

In 1853, Thomas Rickey subdivided land on the stage road from Sacramento and named it Ioneville. Before ’53, miners panned for gold along all creeks in the valley. Historians differ, but most likely “I own it” evolved into Ione. By 1894, the iconic Preston Castle began as a reformatory for youth, housing inmates from San Quentin and Alcatraz. In 1904, a short-line railroad company, Ione & Eastern, constructed eleven miles of track from Ione to Martell. Among Ione’s finest at Ernie Bonham, New York Yankee pitcher, and jazz giant, Dave Brubeck, who attended Ione High School. *1

Head west through the residential neighborhood to 5 Mile Dr.

Continue on Hwy 104 to Irish Hill Rd.

Turn right and head north on Irish Hill Rd, the rolling terrain travels across the expansive Lone Valley.

Continue northwards on Carbondale and Forest Home Rds.

Forest Home Rd comes to a T junction at Hwy 16, turn right and head east.

At Old Sacramento Rd, turn left, the road continues eastward across the open valley meadows with scattered ranches and barns.

Old Sacramento Rd rolls through the shaded woodland along Little Indian Creek and name changes to Main St as it enters the town of Plymouth.

Okerville and Puckerville preceded Plymouth along the old stage road between Fiddletown and Sacramento. When the Plymouth Mine hit rich rock by 1870, a new village named Plymouth rose, adjacent to the mine. Plymouth is home to Amador County Fairgrounds, established in 1938 by the late Harold Colburn and other citizens. Grape growing and winemaking began in the county in the early 1850s. Plymouth hosts the oldest planting of Zinfandel grapes in the United States. An agricultural history museum, Shenandoah Valley Museum, resides at the longest-running winery in Amador County, Sobon Estates. *1

Stay on Main St, the road name changes to Shenandoah Rd as it exits town.

Turn left on Shenandoah Rd, it winds uphill with views of the hillside vineyards.

Head east on Shenandoah School Rd, it cuts through the gorgeous Shenandoah Valley wine country with outstanding views of the vineyards and wineries.

The California Shenandoah Valley is an American Viticulture Area that includes portions of Amador County and El Dorado County. The region was first settled during the California Gold Rush in the nineteenth century, and settlers in the region began planting the first grapevines and producing the first wine soon thereafter. In 1983 region became a designated American Viticulture Area. Shenandoah Valley is the westernmost and, therefore, the least elevated and warmest region within the Sierra Foothills. The high temperatures result in very ripe fruit and full-bodied, high alcohol wines. Many wineries are open daily for wine tasting and tours located in the Shenandoah Valley. *1

Cross Shenandoah Rd onto Steiner, it continues through the beautiful Amador wineries around Shenandoah Valley. The rolling terrain horseshoes back to the junction at Shenandoah Rd.

Turn left and continue eastward on Shenandoah Rd, it winds up from the glorious valley up to the mountain vineyards and estate wineries.

Enjoy the views!

The road continues up the mountain to the town of River Pines at 2006 feet.

Shenandoah Rd crosses over South Fork Cosumnes River as it exits town, it continues with a gradual uphill to Mt Aukum at 2155 feet.

Stop at Mt Aukum General Store.

U-turn on Shenandoah Rd and head SE on Cedar Creek Rd, it rolls through the upper meadows dotted with scattered barns.

Cross South Creek and continue SE on Bridgeport School Rd, the narrow single lane road winds through the remote backcountry homes along South Fork Cosumnes River to Tylers Corner.

Turn right on Tyler Rd, the single lane becomes a two-lane road as it gradually climbs up through the woodland followed by a swift drop onto Fiddletown Rd.

Turn right onto Fiddletown Rd, it takes you through the town of Fiddletown.

The legend is that fiddle-playing miners from Missouri named the flat and town. By the late 1850’s, Fiddletown had a sizable Chinese community and a rare Chinese rammed earth adobe. Today that adobe is the Chew Kee Store, with a collection of a Chinese Herb doctor’s medicinal artifacts. Once a year musicians arrive from near and far to play music at the Fiddlers Jam. This free event brings plenty of audiences to listen and applaud. *1

The road continues downhill through the beautiful woodlands along North Fork Dry Creek.

Fiddletown Rd tilts up for a short steep 10-14% climb followed by a downhill towards the town of Plymouth.

The road name changes to Shenandoah and Main St as it rolls through town.

The road name changes to Old Sacramento Rd as it exits Plymouth. Go left onto Greilich, the narrow single lane road turns southwards as it cuts across the scenic valley.

Greilich Rd comes to a T junction at Hwy 16.

Turn right and head west on Hwy 16 for the next half mile.

Turn south on Willow Creek Rd, the rolling climbs drops down through the open valley to the T junction at Hwy 124.

Continue south on Hwy 124 into Ione.

Meander through town on Preston, Main and Church St for the return to Charles Howard Park.

This is a fabulous ride around the Sierra foothills through the quiet country backroads at the “heart of the Gold Country” from the towns of Ione to Plymouth and Mt Aukum to Fiddletown. You’ll enjoy the gorgeous rolling hillside vineyards and wineries around the scenic Shenandoah Valley wine country and the expansive green meadows and valleys!

*1 http://www.touramador.com/

Garmin Stats:
61.8 Miles with 3898′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 2214′
Max grade: 13%
Terrain: Flat-rolling with some low hills.

Weather: Sunny and warm with some breeze. Temps ranging from the high 50’s to the mid 70’s with SW > NW winds.

View the interactive RGPS route map & profile

Follow this route for today’s ride:

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