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El Dorado County, California facts for kids

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El Dorado County, California
County of El Dorado
L StarksGradeBarn.jpg Sugar Pine Point State Park 1.jpg
American river running through the El Dorado hills.jpg 2009-0724-CA-MarhallDiscoverySite.jpg
Images, from top down, left to right: A barn in El Dorado County, the shore of Lake Tahoe in Ed Z'berg Sugar Pine Point State Park, the South Fork American River running through the El Dorado hills, Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park
Flag of El Dorado County, California
Official seal of El Dorado County, California
Location in the state of California
Location in the state of California
California's location in the United States
California's location in the United States
Country  United States of America
State  California
Regions Sierra Nevada, Gold Country
Metropolitan area Greater Sacramento
Incorporated February 18, 1850
 • Total 1,786 sq mi (4,630 km2)
 • Land 1,708 sq mi (4,420 km2)
 • Water 78 sq mi (200 km2)
Highest elevation 10,886 ft (3,318 m)
Population (April 1, 2010)
 • Total 181,058
 • Estimate (2015) 184,452
 • Density 101.376/sq mi (39.142/km2)
Time zone Pacific Time Zone (UTC−8)
 • Summer (DST) Pacific Daylight Time (UTC−7)
Area code 530
FIPS code 06-017
GNIS feature ID 277273

El Dorado County, officially the County of El Dorado, is a county in the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 181,058. The county seat is Placerville.

El Dorado County is part of the Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is in the historic Gold Country in the Sierra Nevada.

El Dorado County's population has grown as Greater Sacramento has expanded into the region. In the county's unique Lake Tahoe area, environmental awareness and environmental protection initiatives have grown along with the population since the 1960 Winter Olympics, hosted at Squaw Valley Ski Resort in neighboring Placer County.


The present-day site of El Dorado County was once home to the Maidu, Washoe, and Miwok Native American tribes, and is notable for being the site of the 1848 gold discovery that sparked the California Gold Rush. The County of El Dorado was one of California's original 27 counties created effective February 18, 1850 (the number has risen to 58 today). Its name is derived from the Spanish meaning "the gilded/golden".

The final segments of the Pony Express mail route ran through El Dorado County until its replacement with the telegraph service in 1861; U.S. Highway 50 follows the Pony Express route today.

  • Mother lode
  • James W. Marshall
  • California Mining and Mineral Museum
Local landmarks:
  • Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park
  • Confidence Hall
  • Fountain-Tallman Soda Works
  • John Pearson Soda Works
  • Combellack-Blair House
  • Rubicon Point Light


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,786 square miles (4,630 km2), of which 1,708 square miles (4,420 km2) is land and 78 square miles (200 km2) (4.4%) is water.

Geographic features



  • D. L. Bliss State Park
  • Desolation Wilderness
  • Eagle Falls Trailhead
  • Eldorado National Forest
  • Emerald Bay State Park
  • Folsom Lake State Recreation Area
  • Glen Alpine Springs Trailhead
  • Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park
  • Pine Hill Ecological Reserve
  • Tahoe National Forest


  • Heavenly Ski Resort
  • Sierra-At-Tahoe Ski Resort


  • Placerville Speedway


  • California Shenandoah Valley AVA
  • El Dorado AVA
  • Fair Play AVA
  • Nello Olivo
  • Sierra Foothills AVA



Places by population, race, and income


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 20,057
1860 20,562 2.5%
1870 10,309 −49.9%
1880 10,683 3.6%
1890 9,232 −13.6%
1900 8,986 −2.7%
1910 7,492 −16.6%
1920 6,426 −14.2%
1930 8,325 29.6%
1940 13,229 58.9%
1950 16,207 22.5%
1960 29,390 81.3%
1970 43,833 49.1%
1980 85,812 95.8%
1990 125,955 46.8%
2000 156,299 24.1%
2010 181,058 15.8%
Est. 2015 184,452 1.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2015

The 2010 United States Census reported that El Dorado County had a population of 181,058. The racial makeup of El Dorado County was 156,793 (86.6%) White, 1,409 (0.8%) African American, 2,070 (1.1%) Native American, 6,297 (3.5%) Asian, 294 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 7,278 (4.0%) from other races, and 6,917 (3.8%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 21,875 persons (12.1%). The largest growth in the county has come in El Dorado Hills where the population grew by 24,092 residents to a total of 42,108 since 2000.


As of the census of 2000, there were 156,299 people, 58,939 households, and 43,025 families residing in the county. The population density was 91 people per square mile (35/km²). There were 71,278 housing units at an average density of 42 per square mile (16/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 89.7% White, 0.5% Black or African American, 1.0% Native American, 2.1% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 3.6% from other races, and 3.0% from two or more races. 9.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 14.9% were of German, 13.4% English, 10.3% Irish, 6.6% Italian and 6.6% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 90.5% spoke English and 6.5% Spanish as their first language.

There were 58,939 households out of which 34.2% had youngsters under the age of 18 living with them, 60.1% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.0% were non-families. 20.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the county, the population was spread out with 26.1% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 27.8% from 25 to 44, 26.9% from 45 to 64, and 12.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 99.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.3 males.

The 2000 census also states that the median income for a household in the county was $51,484, and the median income for a family was $60,250. Males had a median income of $46,373 versus $31,537 for females. The per capita income for the county was $25,560. About 5.0% of families and 7.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.6% of those under age 18 and 5.0% of those age 65 or over.


Major highways

Map of El Dorado County in Northern California
  • U.S. Route 50
  • State Route 49
  • State Route 89
  • State Route 193
  • Luther Pass

Public transportation

  • El Dorado Transit runs local service in Placerville and surrounding areas (as far east as Pollock Pines). Commuter service into Sacramento and Folsom is also provided.
  • BlueGo is the transit operator for the South Lake Tahoe area. Service also runs into the state of Nevada.


General aviation airports include Placerville Airport, Georgetown Airport, Cameron Airpark and Lake Tahoe Airport.


Portions of El Dorado County are known to contain natural asbestos formations near the surface. The USGS studied amphiboles in rock and soil in the area in response to an EPA sampling study and subsequent criticism of the EPA study. The study found that many amphibole particles in the area meet the counting rule criteria used by the EPA for chemical and morphological limits, but do not meet morphological requirements for commercial-grade-asbestos. The executive summary pointed out that even particles that do not meet requirements for commercial-grade-asbestos may be a health threat and suggested a collaborative research effort to assess health risks associated with naturally occurring asbestos.

In 2003 after construction of the Oak Ridge High School (El Dorado Hills) soccer field, the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry found that some student athletes, coaches and school workers had received substantial exposures. The inside of the school needed to be cleaned of dust.


El Dorado County Courthouse, Placerville


Census-designated places

Other unincorporated communities

Population ranking

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of El Dorado County.

county seat

Rank City/town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census)
1 El Dorado Hills CDP 42,108
2 South Lake Tahoe City 21,403
3 Cameron Park CDP 18,228
4 Diamond Springs CDP 11,037
5 Placerville City 10,389
6 Pollock Pines CDP 6,871
7 Shingle Springs CDP 4,432
8 Auburn Lake Trails CDP 3,426
9 Georgetown CDP 2,367
10 Camino CDP 1,750
11 Tahoma (partially in Placer County) CDP 1,191
12 Grizzly Flats CDP 1,066
13 Coloma CDP 529
14 Cold Springs CDP 446
15 Shingle Springs Rancheria AIAN 102
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