The history of Copperopolis is closely tied to the Civil War, and the 19 million pounds of copper mined in the 1860’s made Calaveras County second in national production of this ore. Mining, workshop sites, and other historical artifacts from this era remain alongside buildings that have been restored by the perseverance and ingenuity of some townspeople. Not to mention, The Gentleman Bandit, AKA “Black Bart”, Charles Boles, held up his first Wells Fargo stagecoach right outside of Copperopolis, and his last highway robbery was committed just south east of the town. (See the Calaveras County Museum for much more about “Black Bart”).
Copperopolis no longer holds claim to any working mines or stagecoach robberies, but visitors and residents are drawn by the recreational attractions and the rich Civil War and Gold Rush history. Read on about things to discover while visiting Calaveras and consider making Copperopolis your base when exploring nearby Yosemite and the scene of the California 1849 Gold Rush.
Historic Buildings & Landmarks:
The Copperopolis Armory, 695 O’ Byrnes Ferry Road: Built in 1866 for $8,000, the Copperopolis Armory was used by the Union Guard to train and enlist troops for the Union Army during the Civil War. The architecture is Classic Revival, a popular style throughout Calaveras’ Gold Rush towns, and the building still boasts its original iron doors used to secure the troops’ arms and ammunition. The Armory sold in 1868 for $800 and was used for public meetings, rallies, dances, and church services.
Today, the Copperopolis community uses the building for weddings, meetings, and celebrations like Christmas, July 4th, Veteran’s Day, and Homecoming. In January, the Copperopolis Community Center hosts the First Taste of the Year to benefit the preservation of the historical buildings. This wonderful event showcases excellent Calaveras County wine, appetizers from local restaurants. Get your tickets at the door January 13, 2024 from 5:30 to 7:30.
The Copperopolis Congregational Church, 411 Main Street: Built in 1866, this beautiful brick church is the only remaining Gothic Revival-style building remaining in Copperopolis, and it’s one of only two left in all of Calaveras. In 1939, the Mineral Lodge I.O.O.F donated the building to the Copperopolis community, resulting in the formation of the Copperopolis Community Center which now oversees the preservation of the historic buildings in Copperopolis.
Calaveras Olive Oil, 665 Main Street: Located right next door to the Copperopolis Armory and Caltel, Calaveras Olive Oil produces premium, local olive oils and ships their products all over the world. Inside the store, they carry a variety of olive oils, blends, vinegars, sauces, soaps and related olive oil products. You are always welcome to drop by for a tasting when you are in the area. Try the dipping blend! It’s a perfect marinade, salad dressing, or great to dip a baguette!
World Class Golf:
Ranked #14 in California by Golf Week Magazine for 2016 and named one of Golf.com’s Must-play courses in Northern California in 2013, The Golf Club at Copper Valley complements the natural contours of the spectacular foothills while generous fairway landings and white sand bunkers define its golfing character. This special course was designed by Carter Morrish in 1996 with water features in more than half of the holes. Breathtaking views are just part of the experience, including dramatic views of the Sierras, Yosemite and a plentiful variety of wildlife. Natural lakes, streams and grasses frame each hole with flashed bleach white bunkers to excite your every shot.
Lake Tulloch – Boating & Fishing:
Lake Tulloch has 55 miles of scenic shoreline straddling both Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties. It’s a popular location for boating, swimming and fishing, waterskiing, and kayaking. There are currently no amenities on the Calaveras side of the lake, so we’re providing information about the RV Campground and Marina located in Jamestown.
This facility offers 130 sites on a mile of shoreline offering family-friendly camping here in the Sierra foothills. There’s a 21-slip marina and gas dock, a general store and restaurant, hot showers and laundromat. Besides camping, there are also rustic cabins that sleep 6-8 people, and some are available with private docks.
Be sure to check in with Gateway Adventure Company at the Town Square at Copper Valley for the most up-to-date information about fishing, boating, biking, etc. – all things that are outdoor adventure!
Gateway to Yosemite:
Copperopolis is just a short 1.5 hour drive to one of the most iconic natural national parks, Yosemite. Experience and discover all of the beauty and adventure of Yosemite, yet stay in affordable luxury at the dog-friendly Gateway Hotel right in Copperopolis’ Town Square. The countless outdoor adventure opportunities surround Copperopolis. Enjoy biking, hiking, skiing, fishing, golf, or just relax poolside and in the hot tub overlooking the rolling, golden hills of this gorgeous area.
Unique Shops & Restaurants @ Town Square:
Wine Tasting – The welcoming and cozy Tipsy Frog Wine bar showcases local, regional, and international wines, pairing them with cheeses and yummy desserts. With over 100 varieties, this rotating wine menu features the best of Calaveras County and the Sierra Foothills AVA. Enjoy an ever-changing tasting experience in a relaxed atmosphere, just steps away from The Gateway Hotel.
Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner – Baldi’s at Copper Valley is the perfect spot for casual breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Gold Dust Pizza serves incredible, cheesy, thick-crust pizza with a smile! Featuring a full bar, wonderful service, and a beautiful atmosphere, this is a great place to catch your favorite game! In the mood for bbq? Griff’s has you covered with slow-cooked brisket, pulled pork sandwiches, and even some vegetarian options. Again, all within steps of the beautiful Gateway Hotel!
Excellent Shopping – The Rusty Bucket Trading Company offers a mix of antiques vintage, rustic, refinished and repurposed items, farmhouse, home decor, Wild Roses Boutique where western-meets-boho-style women’s clothing, shoes, accessories and more. The Gateway Adventure Company, and outdoor store for all your adventure supplies and extensive knowledge of the area. Specializing in biking, kayaks, SUPs, fishing, camping, and RV Supplies – they will set you up with the right gear for a great adventure!
For more ideas of where to go and what to do in Calaveras County, give us a call at 209-736-0049, or stop by to visit us at 753 South Main Street in Angels Camp. We look forward to hearing from you!