Columbia is a real town, it never actually closes. Most businesses are open from 10:00am to 5:00pm.
Columbia State Historic Park
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Location - Directions
Columbia State Historic Park is three miles north of Sonora, off Highway 49.
The parks address is 11255 Jackson Street Columbia CA, 95310.
Our nonprofit Friends of Columbia sponsors interpretation and education at Columbia State Historic Park.
Their mission, goals and events are listed at: friendsofcolumbiashp.com
The town's old Gold Rush-era business district has been preserved with shops, restaurants and two hotels. Visitors have the chance to time-travel to the 1850s, imagining life when gold miners rubbed shoulders with businessmen and the other residents in Columbia. Visitors can experience a bygone era watching proprietors in period clothing conduct business in the style of yesterday. There are opportunities to ride a 100 year-old stagecoach, pan for gold, and explore the real working businesses of Columbia.
At an elevation of 2,100 feet in the Sierra Nevada, summer days can be hot and evenings can cool down quickly. Winters are rainy, with snow at times.
Average Annual Rainfall: 40 inches
Average Daily High Temperatures:
Winter: 59 F
Special School programs designed to meet state curriculum standards for 4th graders are offered from September-June. Programs include Town and Schoolhouse Tours, Gold Trek, and Diggins Tent Town Education Days. Programs are popular and fill quickly. To sign up or learn more information, click HERE.
2017/2018 School Tour Reservation Information
Reservations for 2017/2018 School Tours and Programs will be available online beginning August 22nd at 6 A.M. Many dates fill the first day so be ready to make your reservation early! More detailed information will be available soon.
PORTS for Columbia
Parks Online Resource for Teachers and Students
Three downloadable lesson plans focused on 4th grade curriculum culminating with a staff member from Columbia interacting with the class via video conference.
Regularly Scheduled Programs
Free Town Tours:
June 15th - Labor Day: Daily @ 11:00 AM Monday-Friday based on staff and docent availability. Please check with museum upon arrival.
Year-round: Saturday & Sunday @ 11:00 AM
Led by staff and docents. Meet at the museum.
Approximately 1 hour.
For groups over ten people, special tours must be arranged in advance by calling 209-588-9128.
Our Museum is currently open from 10:00-4:00pm. Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
Gold Rush Days occur the second Saturday of each month from 1 to 4pm. Many special exhibits are open and hands-on activities are led by volunteers in period attire throughout the afternoon. Call 209-588-9128 for details.
Special Events & Programs
History's Mysteries-Saturdays at 10:00am; July 22nd, August 5th & 19th, September 2nd
Uncover the mystery behind a real case from history! This year's show is based on an 1858 robbery and shooting. Visitors will view the reenactment and then have a chance to question the witnesses. Event ends in a court case where the truth will be revealed. Watch out for rumors along the way! www.friendsofcolumbiashp.com for tickets.
Want to host your own event in Columbia? Weddings, birthdays, family reunions, retreats, and more have all been hosted in the park. Click here.
Facilities and Activities
The park was once known as the "Gem of the Southern Mines." Between the 1850s and 1870s over one billion dollars in gold (at today's value) was mined in the area. For a time, Columbia was the second largest city in California.
Unlike many other settlements that disappeared due to fire, vandalism and time, Columbia survived. It was never completely deserted. In 1945 the State Legislature made the site a State Historic Park in order to preserve a typical Gold Rush town, an example of one of the most colorful eras in American history.
Visitors can taste hand-dipped chocolates, a superior cup of coffee, savor fine dining, family fare or purchase picnic provisions. Stagecoach rides are available, season and weather permitting.
There's also the chance to relax at one of two comfortable hotels, listen to music in historic saloons, or take in a performances at the Fallon Theatre.
Visitors can make a candle or purchase Columbia soap, wooden toys, old fashion clothes, or dress-up for a photograph.
Other highlights include taking a walk to the two-story brick school house and cemetery overlooking town, or hiking the one-mile nature trail where mule deer and wild flowers may be seen.
Available Activities and Facilities at Columbia State Historic Park
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Drinking Water Available