The best place to start your tour of Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park is at the visitor center and museum. Interpretive exhibits and programs tell the story of the gold discovery and help make it come alive. Publications about the park can be found in the visitor center.
About seventy percent of Coloma is included in Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park and subject to use fees. Since there are only about two hundred year-round residents in the town, the tree-lined streets of the park are memorably quiet and serene throughout much of the year.
The park features a number of buildings that have survived from the gold rush, as well as many other reminders of that tumultuous period. The Gold Discovery Museum features gold-rush-era exhibits including mining equipment, horse drawn vehicles, household implements and other memorabilia as well as a number of films about the gold discovery and early mining techniques.
Volunteer with Us
We are always looking for new volunteers eager to bring history alive in our park. We have so many different opportunities and areas that we can use volunteer help.
Want to become a volunteer?
If you have some extra time on your hands we are always looking for new volunteers and would love to have you come join our volunteer forces here at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park! It’s a lively place with something always going on so whether you love meeting people from all over the world and want to help them get around the Park to learn more about the Gold Rush, or if you prefer to do behind the scenes work – we have a place for you! Some of the places where volunteers are especially needed include:
Eureka Experience school/group programs
Gold Discovery Museum and Visitor’s Center
Gold Rush Mercantile
Monument Loop Hike
This difficult 1.5 mile walk includes a 250 foot climb. From the alternate start (see map) the total length of the loop walk is 1.25 miles.
From the mill site, take the trail marked "Marshall Monument." After crossing the highway, you will pass a large bedrock outcrop behind the picnic area where Nisenan Indian women ground acorns for food. Look for mortar holes in the rock.
After passing the restroom (the alternate start), the trail climbs for about a half made through forest and chaparral. Please stay on the trail. At the top is James Marshall's Monument, built over the discoverer's grave in 1889.
The return hike brings you down the one-way road (or a short steep trail) past Marshall's Cabin to Church Street. St. John's Church and Emmanuel Church were built in the 1850s and are now historic structures protected by the state park.
On your way down High Street you will pass the Noteware-Thomas House, a restored residence that is sometimes open for tours. The stone ruins of the old El Dorado County Jail can be seen on Back Street as you return to the Visitor Center.
Monroe Ridge Trail
The Monroe trail is approximately 2.3 miles long. It connects Marshall Monument with the North Beach picnic area, at opposite ends of Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. The southern end of the trail climbs 300 feet; the northern end climbs 400 feet. Nearly 1 mile is on top of a ridge. The trail runs through natural areas for its entire length.
Information about the Monroe Ridge Trail
Information about the Monroe Family
Information about the Plants and Animals Found on Trail
When James Marshall first saw the Coloma Valley, the grass- covered hillsides were completely free of litter. Now, we need your help to keep them that way. Whatever you bring into the park, please take it out with you.
When you hike, please stay on the trails. Shortcuts destroy the ground cover and speed erosion.
Diving in the river is not permitted. The river shoreline contains submerged obstacles and an uneven bottom.
Recreational gold panning is allowed on the east shore of the river. Hands and pans only, please.