Amador County, California
Map of California highlighting Amador County
Location in the state of California
Map of the U.S. highlighting California
California's location in the U.S.
Founded 1854
Seat Jackson
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

605 sq mi (1,567 km²)

12 sq mi (31 km²), 1.94%
 - (2000)
 - Density

60/sq mi (23/km²)

Amador County is a county located in the Sierra Nevada of the U.S. state of California. As of 2005, the population was 38,471. The county seat is Jackson.

Amador County bills itself as "The Heart of the Mother Lode" and lies within the Gold Country. There is a substantial wine-growing industry in the county.


Amador County was created in 1854 from parts of Calaveras and El Dorado Counties. In 1864, part of the county's territory was given to Alpine County.

The county is named for Jose Maria Amador, soldier, rancher and miner, who was born in San Francisco in 1794, the son of Sergeant Pedro Amador, a Spanish soldier who settled in California in 1771. In 1848, Jose Maria Amador, with several Native Americans, established a successful gold mining camp near the present town of Amador City. In Spanish, the word amador means "one who loves."


Amador County is located approximately 45 miles southeast of Sacramento in a part of California known as the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,566 km² (605 sq mi). 1,536 km² (593 sq mi) of it is land and 30 km² (12 sq mi) of it (1.94%) is water. Water bodies in the county include Lake Amador, Lake Camanche, Pardee Reservoir, Bear River Reservoir, Silver Lake, Sutter Creek, Cosumnes River, Mokelumne River, and Jackson Creek.

Amador County ranges in elevation from approximately 250 feet in the western portion of the county to over 9,000 feet in the eastern portion of the county. The county is bordered on the north by the Consumnes River and on the south by the Mokelumne River.

Cities and towns[]

Unincorporated places[]

Adjacent counties[]

Shenandoah Valley[]

Though not as well known as the Napa Valley or Sonoma Valley wine growing regions of California, the Shenandoah Valley was once the wine growing region of California. With the discovery of gold, the area quickly became a mecca for those trying to make their fortune. In the process numerous wineries sprouted up many of whose vineyards are still in use by wineries today. The decline of the California Gold Rush coupled with the onset of Prohibition devastated the wine making region of Amador County. Today this area has been resurrected and is now home to over 40 different wineries. Amador County is renowned for its Zinfandel, but many other varietals are produced as well. Amador County has a high percentage of old Zinfandel vines. Some of the Zinfandel vineyards in this county are more than 125 years old. These old vines produce intense flavors allowing winemakers to make the outstanding Zinfandels for which this area is famous.

Gold mining[]

There are numerous gold mines in Amador County including the Argonaut Mine, the Kennedy Gold Mine, and the Sutter Gold Mine.


Silver Lake in Amador County CA

Amador County is home of the Gold Rush era in California. Many century-old gold-mining places in the county are now popular tourist destinations. Amador County offers several tourists destinations and things to do:

  • Jackson Main Street - antique shops
  • Sutter Creek Main Street - antique shops, [1]Sutter Creek Theater
  • Jackson Rancheria - casino and hotel
  • Volcano Theater Company and the Cobblestone Theater and the St. George Hotel in Volcano
  • Mace Meadows Golf Course in Pioneer
  • Old Mill Shopping Center in Martell
  • Underground caves with tours
  • Campgrounds areas with gold-panning activities
  • Wineries with wine-tasting activities
  • Lakes for boating and fishing
  • Winter Ski Resorts - for skiers, snowboarders, etc
  • Outdoor Activities - camping, picnic, ATV riding, horseback riding, whitewater kayaking, birding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, rock climbing, etc
  • Historic sites: Kennedy Mine in Jackson, Chew Kee Store in Fiddletown, Knight Foundry in Sutter Creek

Transportation infrastructure[]

Major highways[]

Public transportation[]

Amador Regional Transit System (ARTS) provides service in Jackson and the nearby communities. Connections are available to Sacramento and to Calaveras County.


Amador County Airport is a general aviation airport located near Jackson.


As of the census² of 2000, there were 35,100 people, 12,759 households, and 9,071 families residing in the county. The population density was 23/km² (59/sq mi). There were 15,035 housing units at an average density of 10/km² (25/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 85.79% White, 3.87% Black or African American, 1.78% Native American, 1.00% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 5.04% from other races, and 2.41% from two or more races. 8.91% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 93.1% spoke English and 5.1% Spanish as their first language.

There were 12,759 households out of which 26.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.9% were married couples living together, 8.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.9% were non-families. 23.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.81.

In the county the population was spread out with 20.6% under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 28.3% from 45 to 64, and 18.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 122.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 123.4 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $42,280, and the median income for a family was $51,226. Males had a median income of $39,697 versus $28,850 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,412. About 6.10% of families and 9.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.10% of those under age 18 and 5.40% of those age 65 or over.


Presidential election results
Year GOP DEM Others
2004 62.1% 11,107 36.6% 6,541 1.3% 243
2000 56.7% 8,766 38.2% 5,906 5.1% 792
1996 47.5% 6,870 40.6% 5,868 11.9% 1,714
1992 35.5% 5,477 34.3% 5,286 30.3% 4,671
1988 55.9% 6,893 42.1% 5,197 2.0% 148
1984 61.5% 6,986 36.9% 4,188 1.7% 189
1980 55.9% 5,401 33.0% 3,191 11.1% 1,078
1976 46.1% 3,699 50.4% 4,037 3.5% 282
1972 53.4% 3,533 40.9% 2,705 5.7% 378
1968 42.1% 2,269 45.3% 2,440 12.6% 681
1964 33.0% 1,682 66.9% 3,410 0.1% 6
1960 44.5% 2,175 55.0% 2,690 0.5% 22

Amador is a Republican-leaning county in Presidential and congressional elections. The last Democrat to win a majority in the county was Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Amador is part of California's 3rd congressional district, which is held by Republican Dan Lungren. In the State Assembly, Amador is part of the 10th district, which is held by Republican Alan Nakanishi. In the State Senate, Amador is part of the 1st district, which is held by Republican Dave Cox.

See also[]

External links[]

Coordinates: 38°26′N 120°40′W / 38.44, -120.66

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