“Every Exit up I-80” part II – Gold Run/Alta-Bonnynook – Gold Country Photography – Grass Valley, Ca

Gold Country Photography

In our initial episode Every Exit up I-80, issue one I left Colfax heading east and only made it as far as Dutch Flat but I had a great time there.

In this episode, I start the journey at Exit 143 Gold Run, went up to Exit 146 Alta Bonnynook Rd. and ended at Exit 148b Baxter.

So, let’s get started.

Heading east on Interstate 80 you often miss Exit 143 Gold Run, (especially if you are driving up from the Bay Area) because just past the Gold Run exit is the first “Rest Stop” on your way up the grade but I do not need the rest stop, at least not yet.

(the photo above is coming back west as I forgot to take this pic on the way up)

Stopping at the end of the exit, I see a uniquely old styled building off to the right.  Turns out to be a sports bar and grill  Mountain Springs Hitch n Post

As I am taking this shot, I look back across the road to see the Gold Run historical marker almost hidden behind a cyclone fence next to the freeway.

I head back over to the North side of I-80 to Gold Run Rd.

First thing I discover, Pioneer Union Church founded in 1871.


Then maybe the smallest post office I’ve ever seen, established in 1854 (middle building).

I continue east on Gold Run Rd which is a beautiful country road and get back on I-80 at the next entrance only to get back off at Exit 146, Alta Bonnynook Rd.

I turned south at the end of the exit, crossed a new looking bridge and followed a short road to a private property. On the way back I remembered the new bridge. (Remember last winter when about twelve houses were stranded when the road was washed away?)

I cross back over and head into Alta with a general store, a fire department crab feed, the Alta-Dutch Flat Union Elementary School and …..a surprise.

For some reason Alta Power House Rd called out to me so I took it. I had no idea where it went (and I do not use gps or an app for that). I drove down this quiet road to the end where I found Camp Alta.

Not noticing any “PRIVATE PROPERTY, NO TRESPASSING!” signs,….I keep going. I parked at the office and got out.

I met three very nice people who thought I was  lost but after I explained what I was doing, they happily told me about what they do and gave me permission to walk around and take pictures.  (They were very accommodating with me just rolling up on them like that, seems they were waiting for a large group of 200 to arrive in a couple of hours).

I must say, places, camps like this, what a great thing for people to have and belong to. As I was leaving, John invited me to take a short trail on their property. He said, ” You will not be disappointed”.

“All right” I thought, I might be stretching this “every exit” thing a bit but I’m game. A short trail as trails go but just as he said, I was not disappointed. It ended up with a view of the Alta powerhouse, it is the oldest hydroelectric power-producing unit the Pacific Gas and Electric generating system.

Leaving I thought, “Wow, what a neat deal”.

I left the way I came, headed east on Alta-Bonnynook Rd which took me back to Exit 148a Baxter. I continued on Baxter Rd only seeing a sand building (sand stored for snow removal) and entered the highway at entrance 148b.

It was a good day 😉



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