Amador County’s 142-year tradition marking the arrival of spring is now in full bloom.
Daffodil Hill is some 12 miles east of Sutter Creek and just north of Volcano nestled among Sierra foothill woodlands mixing pines with oaks at 3,000 feet. The blooms are expected to stay around until late April or early May.
Two things that you will like about the sea of roughly 300,000 yellow and white blooms on the rolling terrain springing up from a now lush green carpet: It’s low-key relaxation and it is free.
Daffodil Hill is arguably one of the most unique settings to just wander and enjoy a picnic afterwards. Sure, there are people around but it is definitely low key.
No pets of any type are allowed. You also must stay on paths at all times and are barred from picking blooms or disturbing planting areas.
Daffodil Hill boasts the original 1880s barn and a handful of critters from peacocks to chickens. You will also come across a mixture of Gold Rush era mining equipment, farming implements and old truck and even wagon wheels.
Known as the McLaughlin Homestead, the descendants of Arthur and Lizzie McLaughlin plant upwards of 16,000 new bulbs a year.
The McLaughlin family settled there in 1877. They bought it from Peter Denzer, a Dutchman who had planted some daffodils to remind him of his native Holland. It served as a stopping place along the Amador-Nevada Wagon Road that today has been replaced by Highway 88.
The McLaughlins expanded the daffodil plantings to help add color to the landscape.
Given that admission and parking are both free and that is a family funded operation, donations that are made help fund bulbs for next year’s planting.
The drive in itself is worth it given how the rain and snow has set the stage for one of the most colorful springs in years. There is dining in Sutter Creek plus Jackson Rancheria casino is nearby.
Daffodil Hill can be reached from Sutter Creek and the trip is about 12 miles. Sutter Creek is located on Old Highway 49 in Amador County. From Main Street Sutter Creek (Old Highway 49), turn East on Gopher Flat Road. Drive approximately 3 miles, and turn left at the third stop sign, which is Shake Ridge Road. Drive about 9 miles on Shake Ridge Road to Rams Horn Grade. Parking is to the left.
18310 Rams Grade, Volcano
Daily from 10 a.m. to 4 pm. during the flowering season. Closed in wet weather due to slippery paths.
Free. Dogs and other pets are not allowed.
It is best to call the Daffodil Hill hotline at 209-296-7048 for a recorded message before going to make sure it is open that day.