Day Use Areas
8am - 5pm
9am - 4pm
10am - 4pm
Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas
James W. Marshall discovered gold in 1848 on the South Fork of the American River in the valley the Nisenan Indians knew as Cullumah (beautiful valley). 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.
In 1848, James W. Marshall found shining flecks of gold in the tailrace of the sawmill he was building in partnership with John Sutter. This discovery changed the course of California's and the nation's history. See a replica of the original sawmill and over 20 historic buildings including a mining exhibit, Chinese store exhibits and schoolhouse exhibit.
Visitors have the opportunity to pan for gold in the American River and enjoy hikes and picnics under the riparian oak woodlands. Overlooking the beautiful river canyon is the Marshall Monument, California's first historic monument and the final resting place of James Marshall. The statue looks down on the river and points to the site of the gold discovery.
Visit our exhibits, take a gold panning lesson, or participate in tours, Living History Day, or special events planned regularly throughout the year. Contact the Gold Discovery Museum and Visitor Center for details. Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park is proud to also offer the Eureka Experience school and group programs.
Join us on Saturday, January 25, as we celebrate Gold Discovery Day.
At 11:30 a.m. in the museum theater, docent Ed Allen will be speaking on the gold discovery that kicked off the California Gold Rush in 1848. Learn about some of the major players in that drama including James W. Marshall, John A. Sutter, and Samuel Brannen.
Visit the Carpenter Shop to learn about timberframing techniques from Jason Smith, who helped build the reproduction mill now in the park. Park staff will also be on hand to talk about the park's milling operations and woodworking projects.
At 1 p.m., master quilt maker and docent Susan Webb will be sharing information on the history and art of quilting at the Coloma Schoolhouse. The lecture will be followed at 1:30 p.m. by a work session. Materials will be provided for participants to get hands on experience in quilting.
In celebration of the centennial of the passage of the 19th amendment, which guarantees and protects women’s constitutional right to vote, Marshall Gold Discovery SHP will host a year-long exploration of the domestic skills historically performed by women. On the second Saturday of each month, the history and techniques of a domestic skill will be explored and demonstrated. Materials and instruction will be provided to participants who wish to learn or hone their skills in that discipline.
Check school and group information page for change in reservation dates and procedures.
School and Group Information
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 the discovery of gold by James Marshall. Learn about the events leading up to the discovery, the history of the California Gold Rush and the town of Coloma.
Tours are offered at least twice a day, weather permitting. Tour cost is $3.00 per adult and $2.00 per child. We do not give tours on our event days including Coloma Gold Rush Live and Christmas in Coloma. Please come enjoy those events!
Any questions? Please call our museum at (530) 622-3470.
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 9am-4pm. You can also email email@example.com for additional information.
The park is located in Coloma, California on Highway 49 between Placerville and Auburn.
From US Highway 50 traveling East: Take the Ponderosa exit, turn left on South Shingle, take a right on North Shingle. Continue on North Shingle for 10 miles (North 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.
From US HWY 80 traveling East: Take the Elm Ave. exit and turn left. Take a left on CA HWY 49/CA HWY 193/South El Dorado Street. Continue on Highway 49 for approximately 13 miles. Highway 49 runs through the middle of Coloma.