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Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park

Contact Information

(530) 622-3470

Park Hours

Day Use Areas
8am - 6pm
Museum Hours
10am -5pm

Driving Directions to Marshall Gold Discovery SHP

The park is located in Coloma on Highway 49 between Placerville and Auburn.

Online reservations are not available for this park.

Upcoming Park Events

No events scheduled at this moment.


The World Rushed In

James W. Marshall discovered gold in 1848 on the South Fork of the American River in the valley the Nisenan Indians knew as Cullumah (beautiful valley). This event led to the greatest mass movement of people in the Western Hemisphere and was the spark that ignited the spectacular growth of the West during the ensuing decades. The gold discovery site, located in the still visible tailrace of Sutter's sawmill in present day Coloma, California, is one of the most significant historic sites in the nation.

In 1848, James W. Marshall found shining flecks of gold in the tailrace of the sawmill he was building in partnership with John Sutter. This discovery changed the course of California's and the nation's history. See a replica of the original sawmill and over 20 historic buildings including a mining exhibit, Chinese store exhibits and schoolhouse exhibit.

Visitors have the opportunity to pan for gold in the American River and enjoy hikes and picnics under the riparian oak woodlands. Overlooking the beautiful river canyon is the Marshall Monument, California's first historic monument and the final resting place of James Marshall. The statue looks down on the river and point to the site of the gold discovery. 

Visit our exhibits, take a gold panning lesson, or participate in tours, Living History Day, or special events planned regularly throughout the year. Contact the Gold Discovery Museum and Visitor Center for details. Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park is proud to also offer the Eureka Experience school and group programs.

goldpanning

Next Living History Day is January 20

Gold Discovery Day Commemorates the Richness of the Coloma Valley

On Saturday, January 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma, California will commemorate the richness and diversity of the Coloma Valley during the annual Gold Discovery Day activities.

This event kicks off a year of exploring the diverse peoples and cultures found in Coloma before, during and after the Gold Rush. On the second Saturday of each month during the park’s monthly Living History event, a different cultural group will be explored. In October, all cultures will come together in the melting pot of Coloma Gold Rush Live, the park’s annual 4-day living history event.

Venture into the park to learn more about the Native American people who populated the Coloma Valley for thousands of years. Members of the El Dorado County Indigenous Tribe will be interpreting the bark house and grinding rock exhibits in the park and rebuilding the chakka, or granary, used by the natives to store acorns. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about life in the Coloma Valley before the gold discovery and how that discovery forever changed the valley.

After visiting the indigenous peoples, visitors can stroll to Sutter’s Mill and talk with James Marshall, who discovered gold in the South Fork of the American River 170 years ago on January 24, 1848. Park docents will be on hand to explain the various routes and modes of transportation used by the first emigrants to California and share gold panning techniques used in the early years of the gold rush.

In addition to the living history activities, at noon park visitors are invited to open house at the park’s research library housed in the back of the museum. Join us for refreshments and a tour of the library.

Living History Themes for the remainder of the year include:

  • January 20: Native Americans
  • February 10: African Americans
  • March 10: Women
  • April 14: Italians
  • May 12: Chinese
  • June 9: English/Welsh
  • July 14: Irish
  • August 11: Latin Americans
  • September 8: Germans
  • October 11-14: Gold Rush Live – Cultural Melting Pot

For more information on the park, this event, or future events at the park, visit call (530) 622-3470

Group Reservations 2017-18

Check school and group information page for change in reservation dates and procedures.
School and Group Information

Gold Discovery Tours

Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park is pleased to offer visitors guided walking tours!

Our Gold Discovery Tour tells the story and visits the sites of the Coloma Valley before the discovery of gold by James Marshall. Learn about the events leading up to the discovery, the history of the California Gold Rush and the town of Coloma.

Tours are offered at least twice a day, weather permitting. Tour cost is $3.00 per adult and $2.00 per child. We do not give tours on our event days including Coloma Gold Rush Live and Christmas in Coloma. Please come enjoy those events!

Any questions? Please call our museum at (530) 622-3470.

Sutters MillSutter's Mill

Additional Information

Seasons & Recommended Clothing
Summer and spring are warm; fall and winter can be cool. Layered clothing is advised.

River Flow
For current river flow, please click on the link to be redirected.

Disclaimer
Gold panning, tours, the blacksmith shop, and other scheduled activities may be closed/cancelled due to extreme weather, poor air quality conditions, inclement weather, or emergencies. For the latest information, please call the Gold Discovery Museum at (530) 622-3470; open seven days a week 10am-5pm. You can also email marshallgold.info@parks.ca.gov for additional information.

Location & Directions

The park is located in Coloma, California on Highway 49 between Placerville and Auburn.

From US Highway 50 traveling East: Take the Ponderosa exit, turn left on South Shingle, take a right on North Shingle. Continue on North Shingle for 10 miles (North Shingle will turn into Green Valley Road, then Lotus Road). Lotus Road ends at CA HWY 49. Turn right on Highway 49 and go 1 mile to Coloma.

From US HWY 80 traveling East: Take the Elm Ave. exit and turn left. Take a left on CA HWY 49/CA HWY 193/South El Dorado Street. Continue on Highway 49 for approximately 13 miles. Highway 49 runs through the middle of Coloma.

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Available Activities and Facilities at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park

BOATING
Boating
TRAIL USE
Hiking Trails
DAY-USE ACTIVITIES & FACILITIES
Historical/Cultural Site
Picnic Areas
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Fishing
Guided Tours
Interpretive Exhibits
Beach Area
Museums
Family Programs
OTHER FACILITIES & VISITOR INFORMATION
Food Service
Parking
Restrooms
Drinking Water Available