Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in El Dorado Hills, CA

  • Published 2022/01/28

The gateway to scenic El Dorado County, California, is the town of El Dorado Hills, sitting on the foothills of the high Sierras.

If you want to visit a mountainside town filled with diverse gorgeous landscapes, you might want to drop by for a weekend.

At the foot of the mountains, the village sits high off the ground, standing from 200 feet to more than 10,800 feet.

You can do a lot of things in El Dorado Hills.

For example, you can drive from the village up to the Sierras to ski in the winter.

Likewise, you can visit the wineries in the village to sample delicious fine wines.

The American River also offers adventurous tourists a great opportunity for whitewater rafting.

In El Dorado County, you’ll find roughly 1,000,000 acres of national forest, with the Desolation Wilderness area being California’s most visited wilderness area.

You’ll also find 11,640 acres of lakes in the greater El Dorado County.

Do you want to know more about El Dorado Hills?

Here’s a list of the best things to do in town:

Shop ‘til You Drop at the El Dorado Hills Town Center

Shops at El Dorado Hills Town Center

Cassiohabib /

The Sacramento A-List voted the El Dorado Hills Town Center as the #1 “Best Live Music Venue” in 2018, which should be more than enough reason for you to visit.

Besides live music, the shopping complex also hosts various top-quality retail outlets.

Go ahead and indulge your desire to shop and discover the pleasures of abundance.

Likewise, the town center features various unmissable dining options, ranging from casual dinner spots to luxury restaurants.

Enjoy your meal with a scenic view of the nearby lake.

After your meal, you can catch the latest blockbuster at the town center’s IMAX theater.

Spend the Day at Promontory Park

Located at Alexandra Drive, the Promontory Park in El Dorado Hills features a wide selection of amenities for residents and tourists alike.

During your visit, you’ll find sports fields and courts, children’s playgrounds, and a picnic area, all of which are laid over natural grass.

This 18.7-acre park opened in 2007, and it is still awaiting further expansion.

What sports can you play here?

You can play bocce, tennis, and softball for adults and girls.

All the courts and fields for these games are lighted, too, so you can play well into the night.

Likewise, you can enjoy a nice picnic or barbecue in their respective areas.

Try Fine Spirits at the Dry Diggings Distillery

In 2008, the Dry Diggings Distillery opened, where it became the first distillery of its kind in quite some time.

The distillery became part of the mid-2000s “early second wave” of smaller distilleries in the United States.

They offered guests informative distillery tours and let them taste their full line of spirits.

Likewise, they sold inspired gift items.

In 2015, Dry Diggings Distillery got together with Amador Distillery to produce more spirits from locally grown fruit and grain.

Today, Dry Diggings provides tours and tastings, with spirits from barrels aged for over ten years.

Sample Unique Beers at the Mraz Brewing Company

If you want to try truly phenomenal Belgian-inspired or American-style beers, then you need to visit the Mraz Brewing Company.

Their popular beers have won various awards, too.

You can be sure of drinking only the highest quality beer at Mraz.

Likewise, this brewery is unique because they try not to create a set beer lineup.

They like to mix things up, offering an ever-changing menu of fully distinct beers made with only the best unique ingredients.

Over the years, they have crafted more than 100 different beers, with even more to come.

Grab a Bite at the El Dorado Saloon & Grill

Exploring a new town should make anyone hungry.

When your stomach starts grumbling, duck inside the El Dorado Saloon & Grill, and gobble up their mouthwatering meals.

The place combines Sauced Pizza and the El Dorado Saloon to form an unforgettable restaurant.

The place also hosts live music so that you can enjoy your favorite tunes over your meals or drinks.

You can stay inside the restaurant or soak in the mountain atmosphere on their patio tables.

Their meals include nachos, buffalo wings, cheeseburgers, chicken sliders, and more.

Likewise, they offer tasty beers, wines, and cocktails for happy hour.

Get New Threads at the Runway Boutique

Sitting next to the El Dorado Hills Town Center is the Runway Boutique, one of the top boutiques in the nearby area.

The store focuses on working with women who want to find the best clothes and accessories on their budget or personal style.

Likewise, they don’t discriminate.

They provide the best clothes and accessories to women of all ages, body types, and styles.

The boutique sells modern designer wear, which you can wear on all occasions, whether formal or casual.

You can also buy matching shoes and jewelry there, at various prices.

If you’re confused about what to buy, the expert staff has no problem leading you to the clothes that suit you and will never go out of style.

Broaden Your Horizons at Face in a Book

Who says a bookstore can’t be a tourist attraction?

If you want to expand your mind at El Dorado Hills, go to the Face in a Book bookstore and lose yourself in the sea of words.

The store sells books on all subjects, with their inventory numbering in the thousands.

Besides books, the bookstore also sells stationery, greeting cards, and more gift items.

When you visit Face in a Book, you might stumble upon special events held for the community to strengthen their connections through literature.

Passionate readers attend these events, such as children’s book events or book signings, which also draws more readers from all over the country.

Stroll along the Kalithea Park

You’ll find this park at the intersections of Powers Drive, Gillett Drive, Ridgeview Drive, El Dorado Hills.

During your visit, you’ll get treated to a magnificent view of nearby Sacramento and the imposing Folsom Lake.

These views explain why the park goes by “Kalithea,” which means “beautiful view” in Greek.

Besides the view, you can also enjoy the park’s several amenities.

For example, you can let your kids play at the children’s play structure while you play with friends at the sports field, laid over a natural turf.

You can also hold a barbecue with your friends or family at the park.

Visit Base Camp at the California Welcome Center

California is a vast area with hundreds of attractions, and you’ll need to start somewhere if you want to experience everything the state has to offer.

So, why not make your starting point El Dorado Hills?

Come to town and see the California Welcome Center.

Their staff will guide you to the attractions you need to see, the places you need to visit, and the things you need to do during your California visit.

From the California Welcome Center, you can make your way to the foothills of the Sierras or go skiing near Lake Tahoe.

Otherwise, you can simply shop, dine out, or see a movie at the El Dorado Hills Town Center.

Take a Hike along the Old Salmon Falls Bridge

This 3.9-kilometer back trail near El Dorado Hills sees a moderate number of hikers every year because it’s appropriate for hikers of all skill levels.

Even if you’re not an experienced hiker, you’ll still have a good time just walking along this nature trail.

The best time to visit this place is from October to March.

Usually, this bridge stays submerged under Folsom Lake, appearing when the lake’s water level falls below 400 feet.

People built this bridge in 1925 to connect the opposite banks of the American River’s South Fork.

You can cross the Old Salmon Bridge, connect to the Darrington Trail, and then to the Peninsula Campground.

Hang Out with Family at the El Dorado Hills Community Park

Right in the heart of El Dorado Hills sits the 40-acre Community Park, which features various amenities to fill your itinerary for a memorable family day.

For example, you can play different sports at the three multi-use fields or explore the pristine section of the New York Creek Nature Area.

Likewise, you can let your dog run around safely in the fenced dog park while you let your kids play in the skate park.

When lunchtime comes, spread your blanket on the picnic tables and prepare your barbecues.

You can also beat the heat at the park’s competition and wading pools.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Go Hiking along the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail

Empty paved road ideal or biking at Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail

Eric Buell Photography /

If you’re still in Folsom, you can explore the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail, one of the best hiking trails in the Sacramento area.

This trail system allows you to hike, bike, or ride your horse.

Likewise, you can skate along the path.

If you just want to relax, just take a stroll there and experience nature around you.

The trail also offers plenty of shade, where you can have a cozy picnic or throw a line on the pond.

Commuters also follow the trail for a healthy way to work while also protecting the environment.

Narrow footpath amidst the wilderness at Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail

Danita Delimont /

Climb to the Top of Carpenter Hill

View of the top of Carpenter Hill

UncleVinny, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Within Folsom, California sits the tall Carpenter Hill at the bottom of the Sierra Nevada foothills and Sacramento Valley region.

This hill is relatively low, standing at just 831 feet.

However, the hill remains high enough for hikers to get the full panorama of the Central Valley spreading out below them.

It’s the highest point of Sacramento County, too.

Because of its low elevation, the hill doesn’t receive snow.

Carpenter Hill at Folsom, CA

UncleVinny, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

However, you can spend a day hiking to the summit with your friends or family.

This hill is an excellent way for outdoorsy tourists to go outside without wearing themselves out too much.

See Rare Plants at the Pine Hill Ecological Reserve

Drive 14 minutes from El Dorado Hills to reach the nearby town of Rescue, California, where you can find the Pine Hill Ecological Reserve.

The California Department of Fish and Game manage this reserve, which began in 1979.

If you’re interested in botany, you’ll love this ecological reserve because it contains eight rare plants.

Four of these plants are also endemic, such as the Pine Hill flannelbush and the El Dorada bedstraw, and they exist nowhere besides the Pine Hill area.

Likewise, five plants fall under the category of threatened or endangered species, putting them under the protection of state and federal laws.

Explore the Outdoors at the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area

Serene Folsom Lake

Vince Migliore, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Just 13 minutes away from El Dorado Hills is the city of Folsom, where you can visit the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area.

This state park sits at the foothills of the majestic Sierra foothills, featuring a lake and recreation area.

What can you do at this park?

If you love the outdoors, you’ll love hiking, biking, or camping here.

Likewise, you can also enjoy the lake by renting out a boat or water-skiing.

You can also fish for trout, catfish, and perch on Folsom Lake.

The park also features the historic Folsom Powerhouse, adding a dash of history to the surroundings.

People once called this building the “greatest operative electrical plant on the American continent.”

Final Thoughts

El Dorado Hills offers plenty of recreation and exploration activities.

Likewise, it’s a terrific access point to nearby cities that feature beautiful natural attractions.

If you want to indulge your adventurous side, you won’t go wrong with El Dorado Hills.

Book your trip today!

Discover More of El Dorado County, CA

Things to Do in Placerville, CA

© All rights reserved.