Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park

UPDATE (May 21, 2020) - As California State Parks begins working with locals on a phased and regionally-driven approach to increase access to state park units where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved, it is important for visitors to continue to practice physical distancing and avoid congregating with people outside their immediate household. Everyone has the responsibility to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Here are some guidelines for people visiting Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park:

What is open now?
Parking lots at North Beach, the Sawmill, the Monument, the Pioneer Cemetery and on Church Street are open as well as parking along the street within the park. The outdoor day-use facilities, restrooms, and boat launch at North Beach are open.

What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?
At this park:
  • Museum/Visitor Center
  • Blacksmith Shop
  • Gold Panning
Statewide:
  • Campgrounds.
  • High public-use indoor facilities, including museums and historic buildings.
  • Special events continue to be canceled until further notice.

Are there any new visitor guidelines?

Yes, please see below:
  • Stay Local: Stay close to home. Walk or bike into the park. Parking is very limited. Do not take road trips to parks and beaches or to neighboring states.
  • Stay Active: Keep walking, jogging, hiking and biking. Watch for one-way trails.
  • Stay Safer at 6 Feet: Maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more. Gatherings, picnics and parties are not allowed. Visitors will be asked to leave if there are too many people at the park, beach or on trails to allow for the required physical distance.
  • Stay Clean: Be prepared. Bring soap/sanitizer and pack out all trash.
  • Stay Covered: If your county health orders require it, please be sure to wear face coverings when you cannot maintain a safe 6-foot distance from others.

Thank you for your patience and continued support of California State Parks as we work to limit your risk for exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors. For more information, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.

Phone Number

(530) 622-3470

Park Hours

Day Use Areas: 8am - 8pm

Museum Closed Until Further Notice
Visitor Center Open for Payments Only: 10am - 5pm

Store Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 10am - 4pm

Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas

 

 

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.

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

Get Social with Marshall Gold Discovery SHP

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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 points 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

Gold Discovery Tours

Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park is pleased to offer visitors guided walking tours! Tours will be conducted for individual family groups from the same household only with proper physical distancing. Please check in at the Visitor Center.


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!

Due to COVID-19 concerns, Marshall Gold Discovery SHP has suspended public gold panning lessons until further notice.


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

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;  You can also email marshallgoldshp@gmail.com for additional information.

The museum is currently closed. The Visitor Center is open for payment of day use fees only 10am - 5pm, 7 days a week.

Demonstration Day - Postponed

Due to park closures, Marshall Gold Discovery SHP will be postponing Demonstration Days scheduled for the second Saturday of each month. We hope to reschedule these demonstrations once the park is open again.


 

In celebration of the centennial of the passage of the 19th amendment, which guarantees and protects women’s constitutional right to vote, Marshall Gold Discovery SHP will host a year-long exploration of the domestic skills historically performed by women. On the second Saturday of each month, the history and techniques of a domestic skill will be explored and demonstrated. Materials and instruction will be provided to participants who wish to learn or hone their skills in that discipline..

Skills workshops for the year will be as follows (new dates to be announced at a future time):

  • March. Raw wool. Shear, card and dye wool
  • April. Spinning wool. Use a drop spindle to make yarn
  • May. Weaving. Use a loom to make a small placemat
  • June. Crocheting. Learn crochet stitches to make a granny square
  • July. Embroidery. Start a sampler
  • August. Braided Rugs. Start a braided rug
  • September. Tatting. Make lace edging.
  • October. Coloma Gold Rush Live. No workshop.
  • November. Pine needle basketry. Make a pine need basket.
  • December. Christmas in Coloma. No workshop.

For more information, call (530) 622-3470.

Group Reservations 2019-20

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

Sutters MillSutter's Mill

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.

Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park
Although small amounts of gold had been found in other parts of California, it was the gold discovery at Sutter’s mill that received world-wide attention in 1848. The discovery caused one of the largest mass-migrations in history, bringing people to California from all over the world. Most prospectors who came did not strike it rich in the gold fields and returned home, but about ten percent stayed in California. Those who stayed contributed to California’s unprecedented rapid commercial, agricultural and industrial development and statehood in 1850.

Marshall Gold Discovery SHP(Photograph by Mike Fuller)

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