Our Community’s History
Pleasant Valley was founded on June 18, 1848 by Henry Bigler and two other members from the U.S. Army Mormon Battalion. Because of its elevation of around 2400 feet, the area was high enough to have cooler summer temperatures compared to the Sacramento Valley yet not high enough to be snowbound for 6 or more months per year. The Bigler scouting party determined the area to be the perfect staging area for the honorably discharged veterans to begin the necessary preparations for their long trek back to their families in Salt Lake City, Utah and to be the best launching point for a new eastern trail over the Tahoe summit. Thus was created the now famous Mormon Emigrant Trail which now hosts hundreds of off road enthusiasts, hikers and campers each year.
Prior to being discovered, the area was a large Miwok village. At the peak of the Gold Rush, Pleasant Valley boasted a population of 10,000 and it is estimated that between 5000-6000 wagons came down the new Mormon Emigrant Trail between the summer of 1848 and the fall of 1849 and continued to be a major pioneer route over the next 18 years. The hamlet even had its own The 1920’s brought more stability to the area with family homesteads and agricultural activity such as the planting of orchards, fields of grain, and grazing areas for cattle and sheep.
Pleasant Valley Today
Today, Pleasant Valley, still retains much of its rural agricultural charm with small homesteads and farms with all kinds of livestock and hay fields interspersed amongst the oak woodlands and mixed conifer forests. Although there are only four wineries in the community, the area serves at the gateway to the award winning south county vintners of the El Dorado and Fair Play Wine Appellations. Crawford Irrigation Ditch, which dates back to the Gold Rush days, also meanders for miles throughout the pastures and surrounding forest landscapes. Weber Creek runs year round along the northern boundary of the community while the North Fork of the Cosumnes River forms the southern border. On its eastern boundary is Clear Creek and the Sly Park Hills Subdivision while the western edge is marked by the lovely, old Gutenberg farmhouse at the intersection of Pleasant Valley and Bucks Bar Roads.
At the heart of the community is a small business district which boasts a small town hardware store, beauty parlor, church, Chinese restaurant, pizza parlor, and a neighborhood grocery store along with several other small businesses. There is also a state of the art veterinary clinic where the old red barn stood on the northside of the intersection at Pleasant Valley and Mt. Aukum Roads. Further down Pleasant Valley Road, towards the west, is a small mini storage, roadhouse, gas station, El Dorado County Fire Station 19 and a silversmith factory that manufactures rodeo belt buckles and western jewelry. Dozens of home-based, sole proprietor and family-owned businesses are also weaved in throughout the area.
Further west, just past the turnoff onto Newtown Road, is Pleasant Valley Community Hall which is home to the local 4H clubs and Boy Scout troops and has been a gathering place for local residents in the community since 1939. The hall hosts a community pancake breakfast on the 1st Saturday of each month, an annual crab feed, a community Christmas party and the very popular Bucko Taco Nights are held several times each year! Guild members also coordinate the annual 4th of July Parade down Pleasant Valley Road. The area is also home to Gold Oak Union School District with Pleasant Valley Middle School located toward the eastern side and Gold Oak Elementary School on the western side. About a mile to the south of Pleasant Valley’s “downtown” lies a quaint local cemetery where many of the area’s pioneers and families are laid to rest.
Locals are greeted by their first name whenever they enter any of the local establishments, visitors are greeted with kindness and enthusiasm, and newcomers quickly become part of the community quilt that makes up Pleasant Valley; a place where everyone knows everyone and residents go out of their way to help neighbors and strangers alike. Whether your a newcomer or a long time resident in the area, the Pleasant Valley Community would like to say: “Welcome Home! Come on in for a nice hot cup of coffee, kick up your feet and stay awhile!”