Day Use Areas
8am - 5pm
9am - 4pm
Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park
The Parks Division of El Dorado County is CAUTIONING river users of HIGH WATER on the South Fork of the American River. Please wear appropriate cold weather gear and use advanced boating skills. Be prepared for changing water levels. Please contact the County Parks Division with any questions or concerns (530) 621-5360 or Marshall Gold at (530) 622-3470.
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. 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.
James W. Marshall found shining flecks of gold in the tailrace of the sawmill he was building for himself and John Sutter. This discovery in 1848 changed the course of California's and the nation's history. See a replica of the original sawmill and over 20 historic buildings including mining, house, school, and store exhibits.
Visitors have the opportunity to try panning for gold in the American River and enjoy hikes and picnics under the riparian oak woodlands. Overlooking the beautiful river canyon, where the gold discoverer rests today, see California's first historic monument, the statue of James Marshall pointing at his gold discovery site .
Come participate in tours or special events, see exhibits and "Living History Days" planned regularly throughout the year; contact the Gold Discovery Museum and Visitor Center for details. Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park is proud to now offer the Eureka Experience school and group programs, and gold panning lessons for park visitors.
Next Living History Day is Second Saturday
No Living History 01/14/2017 - Instead Living History will be held 01/21/2017 in conjunction with Gold Discovery Day.
Join us on the second Saturday of the month for living history activities and events. Enjoy the park filled with docents dressed in period clothing who discuss the 1850s and give demonstrations. You and the kids can participate in rope making, candle dipping, dutch oven cooking, sawmill wood working and games from the past. Come step back in the time!
Aside from special events, Living History Days are the second Saturday of each month from 10:00am-3:00pm. They may be cancelled in case of extreme weather - please call the museum at (530) 622-3470 to check ahead of time.
Gold Discovery Tours
Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park is pleased to offer visitors guided walking tours!
Our Gold Discovery Tour tells the story and visits the sites of the Coloma Valley before James Marshall's gold discovery. Hear about the events leading up to his incidental discovery, and the history of the California Gold Rush and town of Coloma.
Tours are offered twice a day or more, weather permitting. Tour cost is $3.00 per adult and $2.00 per child. We do not give tours on our event days including Second Saturday Living History Days, Coloma Gold Rush Live, Historic Holiday Houses, and Springtime in Coloma. Please come enjoy those events!
Any questions? Please call our museum at (530) 622-3470.
Group Reservations 2016
Check school and group information page for change in reservation dates and procedures.
School and Group Information
Seasons & Recommended Clothing
Summer and spring are warm; fall and winter can be cool. Layered clothing is advised.
For current river flow, please click on the link to be redirected.
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; open seven days a week 10am-5pm. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org for any additional information.
Location & Directions
The park is located in Coloma on Highway 49 between Placerville and Auburn.
US Highway 50 going East. Take the Ponderosa Exit, turn left on S. Shingle, take a right on North Shingle. Continue on N. Shingle for 10 miles. (N. 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.
US HWY 80 going East, take the Elm Ave. exit and turn left. Take a left on CA/49--CA/193/South El Dorado Street. Continue on 49 for approximately 13 miles.
Available Activities and Facilities at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Drinking Water Available