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Spring’s in bloom on Daffodil Hill

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Spring’s in bloom on Daffodil Hill

More than 300,000 daffodils can be found on Daffodil Hill in Volcano.

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POSTED March 16, 2013 1:17 a.m.

VOLCANO — Are you into daffodils?

Then you’ve got to take the drive to Volcano in the Gold Country to Daffodil Hill.

Each spring Daffodil Hill explodes with more than 300,000 blooms, attracting visitors from around the world.

Daffodil Hill is a 4-acre farm owned by the McLaughlin family since 1887. The farm began as a 36-acre ranch and toll road for travelers and teamsters hauling timber. In the early days of the Gold Rush, Daffodil Hill was a regular stopping place for teamsters hauling timber from the Sierras down to the Kennedy and Argonaut Mines, and for eastbound travelers heading for the Comstock Lode on the Amador-Nevada Wagon Road (Highway 88).

In 1887, after coming west from New York and Ohio, Arthur and his wife, Lizzie, began to plant the first daffodil bulbs in their spare time. The bulbs have since been lovingly nurtured.

Not a commercial enterprise, nor formally publicized or promoted, the ranch has been owned by the same family since it was acquired in 1887 by wagon pioneers Arthur McLaughlin and Elizabeth “Lizzie” van Vorst-McLaughlin.

Over a Century of Nurturing

Today, much of the landscape around the old homestead is covered with more than 300 named varieties of daffodils. For the last twenty years, the McLaughlins have continued to plant up to 6,000 new bulbs a year. It is estimated that today, Daffodil Hill is carpeted with over 300,000 bulbs.

Daffodil Hill is in a beautiful alpine setting at an elevation of over 3,000 feet. With pine trees, an old barn, wagon wheels, and rusting mining equipment and farming tools, it appeals to anyone with a love of nature. Flowers are everywhere, with pea-fowl, chickens, pigeons and lambs making themselves at home.

More bulbs are added each year, with the help of private donations. Today, the bulbs number more that 300,000 and include not only 300 varieties of daffodils, but also a large number of other varieties of bulbs and flowers, as well.

Nature sets the schedule for public viewing. Daffodil Hill opens when 25 percent of the flowers are in bloom and closes when only 25 percent remain. The best time to visit Daffodil Hill is the spring, usually from the end of March through the first three weeks of April. Daffodil Hill is open only at this time of year, after that it goes back to a working ranch.

Daffodil Hill opened Friday The hill is open Monday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., weather permitting at 18310 Rams Horn Grade, Volcano.

Visitors are encouraged to call the recorded phone message at 209-296-7048 to see if Daffodil Hill is open the day they are visiting. Admission and parking are free, the only charges may be from local youth groups raising funds in concession stands across the road.  No pets are allowed on grounds of Daffodil Hill.

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, accessible from Stockton via Highway 99 (Highway 88 turnoff).

From Sutter Creek, turn East on Gopher Flat Road and then 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 and you are there.

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