Park Day Use Hours:
Sunrise to Sunset
10 am to 4:00 pm
The museum will be closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Years Day
Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park
As such, State Parks continues to ask visitors to plan ahead, avoid road trips and stay close to home, maintain physical distancing, wear a face covering when a physical distance of six feet from others who are not from the immediate household members cannot be maintained, and avoid congregating. This means no gatherings, picnics or parties. Visitors are being asked to leave if there are too many people to allow for the required physical distance. Full details on the guidelines are available at parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.
Here are some guidelines for people visiting Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park:
What is open now?
- Day-use areas and parking.
- Outdoor, open spaces.
- Campground will open June 22. For more information about camping, visit www.parks.ca.gov/COVID19Camping. To make a reservation, visit www.ReserveCalifornia.com or call 800-444-7275. Reservations must be made 48 hours in advance of arrival date.
What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?
- Museum is temporarily closed until further notice.
- Special events and public gatherings continue to be canceled until further notice.
- Many campgrounds across the state remain closed until further notice. Some campgrounds have started to reopen with modifications. For more information, please visit www.parks.ca.gov/COVID19Camping.
- Many 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: The state now requires you to wear a face covering in most indoor settings and public outdoor spaces when you cannot maintain physical distancing of six feet or more from people outside of your immediate household. For details, please visit CDPH’s guidance here. Visitors should also abide by their local county health orders.
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.
The 2020 Chaw'se Big Time Celebration presented by the Ione Band of Miwork Indians for September 26-27, 2020 has been Cancelled.
Virtual School Tours
Visit the park through a virtual program. Our interpreters can help you connect with the Miwok history of the Amador area. Our programs can be developed based on your classes learning objectives.
Program Topic: Examination of the indigenous Miwok culture at Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park
General Description: Learn about the indigenous Miwok tribe with a visit to Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park. Located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, this park protects a scared Miwok site that was home to a Miwok village for thousands of years. This park most notably features the largest grinding rock in North America. During this program, students will understand how the Miwok tribe used the natural resources around them and lived in harmony within their environment through an examination of cultural items, clothing, and structures. Students will also learn how members of the Miwok tribe continue to keep their traditions alive to this day.
Academic Content Standard Subject Area: History/Social Science
To book your virtual field trip
For questions regarding this program you can reach Randie Ortloff@email@example.com
Park Fees and Schedule
|Day Use||$8.00/per vehicle|
|Motorcycle Day Use||$8.00/per motorcycle|
|Camping||$30.00/ per night|
|Holiday Camping||$35.00/per night|
|Camping Extra Vehicle||$8.00/per night|
|Senior Discount||$1.00 off day use $2.00 off camping|
We now accept reservations through ReserveCalifonia year round.
Camping Fees: We accept credit card payments in the Chaw’se Regional Indian Museum 10-4 daily.
The senior discount only applies to day use fees and campsite fees. The discount does not apply towards supplementary fees such as extra vehicle fees.
Camping fees pay for one vehicle only and all campsites are limited to two vehicles maximum. Trailers (travel, boat, personal watercraft, etc.) count as a vehicle; however, trailers are not required to pay the extra vehicle fee. Extra vehicle fees are required for vehicles driven in to the park, including motorcycles.
The maximum limit on all campsites is 27 feet. There is no overflow parking in or near the campground - plan accordingly.
The park is open seven days a week from sunrise to sunset. The Chaw'se Regional Indian Museum is open daily 10am to 4pm; admission to the museum is free with your paid parking.
The campground is open every day of the year. Check in time is 2pm and check out time is noon.
About the Park
Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park (IGR) is located in the Sierra Nevada foothills 12 miles east of Jackson, CA. The park nestles in a little valley 2,400 feet above sea level with open meadows and large valley oaks that once provided the Native Americans of this area with an ample supply of acorns. The park was created in 1968 and preserves a great outcropping of marbleized limestone with some 1,185 mortar holes -- the largest collection of bedrock mortars in North America.
The park is northeast of Stockton in the lower foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Take State Highway 88 East through Jackson to the town of Pine Grove. Take a left turn on Pine Grove-Volcano Road and approximately 1.5 miles later you will arrive at the park. The SECOND turnoff is the main entrance to the day use area while the first turn off is to the campground.
The Sierra foothills experience warm, dry summers and cool, moist winters. Many summer days exceed ninety degrees. Snow falls occasionally during the winter in the Chaw'se area, but most precipitation takes the form of rain.
Facilities - Activities
The Chaw'se Regional Indian Museum
The museum features a variety of exhibits and an outstanding collection of Sierra Nevada Indian artifacts. A Miwok village complete with a ceremonial roundhouse has been reconstructed in the middle of the small valley.
The Museum has been designed to reflect the architecture of the traditional roundhouse. Exhibited in this two-story museum are outstanding examples of the technology and crafts of the Miwok and other Sierra Nevada native American groups.
As a regional Indian museum, the collection at Chaw'se includes Northern, Central and Southern Miwok, Maidu, Konkow, Monache, Nisenan, Tubatulabal, Washo, and Foothill Yokuts. Examples of basketry, feather regalia, jewelry, arrowpoints, and other tools are on display.
Additionally, we offer camping on the southside of the park with our 22 site campground. Please visit the camping page for more information.
Big Time Events
Several times a year ceremonies are held in the hun'ge (roundhouse) by local Native Americans. One of those ceremonies, Big Time, brings together Indian families on the weekend following the fourth Friday in September for the annual acorn gathering. Dancing, hand games, singing and storytelling are traditional at this event. Spectators are welcome, but there is no fixed schedule of events. Native American crafts and foods are available. During this event please ask for permission before taking photographs of Native Americans.
School Group Tours
School group tours are conducted from March 1st through approximately the middle of June and also September 1st through approximately the middle of November. Reservations for School Group Tours must be made in advance. Please call the park to inquire about available dates and times as well as applicable fees.
Digital Field Trips
Free-California 3rd and 4th graders now have the opportunity to learn through an interactive web based field trip about the Miwok society through an examination of the many natural resources native to this region that were used for spiritual, celebratory, and everyday uses by this tribe for over 10,000 years. Our park educator can also help your class prepare for their field trip to the park or help you wrap up your unit of study after your park visit. This program is offered Tuesdays from 9 to 2. To book this program please click the link https://forms.gle/TBX6TjDBuUS2heKB9
Environmental Living/Group Camping
Camping in the U'macha'tam'ma' sites (bark houses to the north) is a unique experience. Here you can "get away from it all" and get back in touch with the natural world while simultaneously learning something about Miwok life.
Seven bark houses, each one suitable for up to six people, have been constructed in a secluded area of the park. They can be reserved for a group of up to 44 people. The camping is primitive; therefore you must haul water, supplies and equipment 200 yards, or more, from the parking area; however, your time here will be unforgettable as you experience life in a bark house.
Reservations can be made up to six months in advance by phone or mail. Applications are available by contacting the park or by clicking the link on the right side of this page.
Alcohol in the Park
The consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in all areas of the park at all times except the 22 developed family campsites; this prohibition includes the Environmental Living/Group Camp area.
The day use area of the park contains a reconstructed Miwok village, which includes the Grinding Rock itself, bark houses, acorn granaries, a game field and the Ceremonial Round House. A picnic area with a shade ramada near the grinding rock can accommodate large groups (up to 150 persons). Reservations for the area are not accepted. There is also a small picnic area next to the museum. Please do not use campsites for picnicking.
There are two developed trails within the park. The North Trail, a one-mile round-trip, starts near the museum. It traverses the ridge surrounding the meadow, passes by the old farm site, crosses the creek and continues to the reconstructed Miwok village site before returning to the museum by way of the roundhouse and grinding rock.
The half-mile long South Trail is a self guided nature trail and starts near the roundhouse. The trail guide describes the ethnobotany of the area and identifies some of the plants that were used by the Miwok. A trail guide is available for 50 cents at the start of the South Trail near the round house; deposit money into the brown metal box with the guides..
The park is small, but offers many opportunities to observe wildlife. The mixture of oak woodlands and mixed pine forest provides a wide variety of habitats, just as it did in previous centuries when the Miwok lived here in the old way.
Birdlife varies depending on the season, but many species are seen year round, including turkey vultures, scrub and Steller's jays, California quail, acorn and hairy woodpeckers, northern flickers, hermit thrushes, wild turkeys (non-native), and California thrashers. In summer, the bright colors of the western tanager, northern oriole, calliope and Anna's hummingbirds can be seen in the woods around the meadow. A bird list is available at the museum.
Animal life in and around the park includes deer, fox, gray and California ground squirrels, black-tailed jackrabbits, bobcats, bats, and occasionally a mountain lion or black bear. The legendary coyote - the trickster of Miwok legend - can be heard singing on quiet summer nights.