Columbia is a real town, it never actually closes. Most businesses are open from 10:00am to 5:00pm.
Columbia State Historic Park
Stay at Columbia SHP
Location - Directions
Columbia State Historic Park is three miles north of Sonora, off Highway 49.
The parks address is 11255 Jackson Street Columbia CA, 95310.
Our nonprofit Friends of Columbia sponsors interpretation and education at Columbia State Historic Park.
Their mission, goals and events are listed at: friendsofcolumbiashp.com
The town's old Gold Rush-era business district has been preserved with shops, restaurants and two hotels. Visitors have the chance to time-travel to the 1850s, imagining life when gold miners rubbed shoulders with businessmen and the other residents in Columbia. Visitors can experience a bygone era watching proprietors in period clothing conduct business in the style of yesterday. There are opportunities to ride a 100 year-old stagecoach, pan for gold, and explore the real working businesses of Columbia.
At an elevation of 2,100 feet in the Sierra Nevada, summer days can be hot and evenings can cool down quickly. Winters are rainy, with snow at times.
Average Annual Rainfall: 40 inches
Average Daily High Temperatures:
Winter: 59 F
Special School programs designed to meet state curriculum standards for 4th graders are offered from 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.
2018/2019 School Tour Reservation Information
Reservations for 2018/2019 School Tours and Programs can be made on our website at www.friendsofcolumbiashp.org for all the details and to book your field trip.
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. We can also create content for any gradelevel on the Gold Rush, diverse cultures, building a comunity, geology, westward expansion and other science concepts.
This virtual tour gives students and adults a chance to interact with a ranger outside in the park and see the artifacts and buildings of the Gold Rush.
Regularly Scheduled Programs
Free Town Tours:
June 15th - Labor Day: Daily @ 11:00 AM Monday-Friday based on staff and docent availability. Please check with museum upon arrival.
Year-round: Saturday & Sunday @ 11:00 AM
Led by staff and docents. Meet at the museum.
Approximately 1 hour.
For groups over ten people, special tours must be arranged in advance by calling 209-588-9128.
Our Museum is currently open from 10:00-4:00pm. Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
Gold Rush Days occur the second Saturday of each month from 1 to 4pm. Many special exhibits are open and hands-on activities are led by volunteers in period attire throughout the afternoon. Call 209-588-9128 for details.
Special Events & Programs
Gold Rush Days
2nd Saturday each month from 1:00pm to 4:00pm
Saturdays & Sundays from 11:00am to 12:00pm
March 27th from 11am to 4pm
Diggins Tent Town
May 16th to 19th from 10 am to 4pm
June 22nd and October 26th from 8pm to 12am * purchase tickets online at http://friendsofcolumbiashp.com/
July 20th from 5pm-10pm
July 20th, 27th, August 3rd and 17th from 10 am to 12:30 pm * purchase tickets online at
Back to School 1861
September 21st from 3pm to 7pm
Stories in Stone
September 27th, 28th October 4th and 5th from 6 pm to 8:30 pm * purchase tickets online at http://friendsofcolumbiashp.com/
October 26th from 3pm to 6pm * purchase tickets online at http://friendsofcolumbiashp.com/
December 6th and 7th from 5pm to 10pm * purchase tickets online at http://friendsofcolumbiashp.com/
December 14th, 15th, 21st, and 22ndfrom 12 to 3
Want to host your own event in Columbia? Weddings, birthdays, family reunions, retreats, and more have all been hosted in the park. Click here.
Facilities and Activities
The park was once known as the "Gem of the Southern Mines." Between the 1850s and 1870s over one billion dollars in gold (at today's value) was mined in the area. For a time, Columbia was the second largest city in California.
Unlike many other settlements that disappeared due to fire, vandalism and time, Columbia survived. It was never completely deserted. In 1945 the State Legislature made the site a State Historic Park in order to preserve a typical Gold Rush town, an example of one of the most colorful eras in American history.
Visitors can taste hand-dipped chocolates, a superior cup of coffee, savor fine dining, family fare or purchase picnic provisions. Stagecoach rides are available, season and weather permitting.
There's also the chance to relax at one of two comfortable hotels, listen to music in historic saloons, or take in a performances at the Fallon Theatre.
Visitors can make a candle or purchase Columbia soap, wooden toys, old fashion clothes, or dress-up for a photograph.
Other highlights include taking a walk to the two-story brick school house and cemetery overlooking town, or hiking the one-mile nature trail where mule deer and wild flowers may be seen.