Columbia State Historic Park

UPDATE (May 15, 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 Columbia State Historic Park:

What is open now?
Very limited parking is now available to the public.
Select retail and restaurant concessions – following state and local public health guidance.

What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?

At this park:
  • Hotels and cottages.
  • Museum.
  • Indoor exhibit spaces.

  • Campgrounds.
  • High public-use indoor facilities, including museums and visitor centers.
  • Special events and tours 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

Phone Number

(209) 588-9128

Park Hours

Columbia is a real town, it never actually closes.

Park Exhibits open daily 10:00am - 4:00pm

Most businesses are open from 10:00am to- 5:00pm.

Driving Directions to Columbia SHP

Columbia State Historic Park is three miles north of Sonora, off Highway 49.

Camping and Lodging

Online reservations are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Reservations can be made 6 months in advance via the ReserveCalifornia website, or by calling the toll free telephone number at 1-800-444-7275. Click on the Online Reservations link or the banner below that to go directly to our ReserveCalifornia page. If your stay will be in the next 48 hours please call the hotel directly at (209) 532-1479 for availability.

RV Access
Hiking Trails
Historical/Cultural Site
Picnic Areas
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Guided Tours
Interpretive Exhibits
Family Programs
Food Service
Drinking Water Available

Welcome to Columbia State Historic Park!

Columbia was once known as the "Gem of the Southern Mines." The town's Gold Rush-era business district was designated as a State Park by Governor Earl Warren in July 1945. Today we can take a step back in time to experience life in 1850s California. 

Parking and entrance to Columbia State Historic Park are free. Additional fees may apply for special events in the park. 

Stay at Columbia SHP

Agents of Discovery Virtual Scavenger Hunt

Enhanced Field AgentFourth Grade in park virtual scavenger hunt. This activity will help students learn about the impacts the gold rush had on the culture, environment and economy of California.  They will explore town and learn about Columbia by playing a game that highlight learning through multiple choice questions, historic photos and artifacts.

To play Agents of Discovery:

Download the Agents of Discovery App using the free parks WI-FI or your own data plan. Search for the Columbia State Historic Park mission and download the mission. Start the mission at the Columbia Museum. Once the app is downloaded you can turn off Wi-Fi if you choose.

Good Luck Agents!


School Programs

Special School programs designed to meet state curriculum standards for 4th graders are offered 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.

2019/2020 School Tour Reservation Information

Reservations for 2019/2020 School Tours and Programs open August 1 at 3:30 P.M. at  Programs will continue to take reservations until full.

Columbia Virtual Curriculum 

Westward Expansion & Routes of Travel

Gold Mining Methods & Environmental Effects

  •  Also check out our Smithsonian learning lab collections about the changes the Gold Rush brought to California. These stories are told through a collection of qoutes and artifacts from the park and are created for you to download and make them relevant to your class visit.

Free 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 providing a tour of our gold rush town.

We can also create content for any grade level about the Gold Rush, diverse cultures, building a community, geology, westward expansion and other science concepts.

  • Let us help your class prepare to explore the park or wrap up your field trip through a virtual program.

This virtual tour gives students and adults a chance to interact with a ranger in the park and see the artifacts and buildings of the Gold Rush.

To book your Gold Rush virtual program click the link below.