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Serendipity: Daffodil Hill is blooming

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Posted: Saturday, March 18, 2017 7:30 am

One hill in California is living up to the Golden State’s nickname. Daffodill Hill is in full bloom, and the gates are open until early April — at least, as long as the weather holds up.

Every spring, Daffodil Hill in Volcano bursts into bloom, with around half a million golden flowers carpeting nearly six acres. Visitors are welcomed to the family ranch, where they can walk through the flowers or sit on a bench.

Daffodill Hill makes a perfect setting for photos. Beyond the white and yellow blooms, pine trees, the original barn, wagon wheels, and rusting farm and mine equipment provide unique backdrops or fascinating photo subjects on their own.

The 36-acre ranch is a historic site in Amador County. It was purchased by the McLaughlin family in 1887, near the end of the California Gold Rush. At the time, it was a way-station for teamsters hauling timber, as well as travelers headed for the Comstock Lode in Nevada’s silver mining country.

Arthur and Lizzie McLaughlin planted daffodils when they weren’t tending to ranch operations or caring for travelers. They were carrying on the tradition of Pete Denzer, the Dutch-American man they’d bought the ranch from. Denzer began planting the daffodils to remember his home country Holland by.

The Ryan family, descendents of the McLaughlins, have continued to plant several thousand bulbs each year — an average of 12,000 per year.

Bring a picnic lunch and spend the day enjoying the ranch. The Soroptomist Organization of Amador County will sell food and snacks cooked on-site. Stop at charming Sutter Creek on the way up or during the trip home for dining, shopping, wine tasting and more.

Daffodil Hill is partially accessible to scooters, wheelchairs and walkers, but travel on the paths will depend on personal comfort. Accessible parking and portable toilets are available.

Daffodil Hill is a working family ranch that opens to the public only from when about a quarter of the flowers are in bloom until only a quarter remain.

Daffodil Hill can be reached from Sutter Creek and the trip is about 12 miles.

From Main Street (Old Highway 49) in Sutter Creek, turn east on Gopher Flat Road. Drive about 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.

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