Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park

Update (December 8, 2020): California has issued a Regional Stay at Home Order to stop the surge of COVID-19 cases and prevent a strain on the health care system. This action will help protect critical care for patients. While the order includes the closure of campground sites in impacted regions, the state also recognizes that mental health is physical health. As such, day use outdoor areas of park units currently open to the public will remain open. Members of the same household are encouraged to stay local and recreate responsibly in the outdoors. Please take the time to read the information contained on this webpage to find out what is open and closed, and the COVID-19 guidelines for this park unit.

What is open now?
  • Parking lots at North Beach, the Sawmill, the Monument, the Pioneer Cemetery and on Church Street are open as well as parking along the street within the park.
  • The outdoor day-use facilities, restrooms, and boat launch at North Beach are open.
  • Visitor Center for day use payments only.
  • Blacksmith shop.
  • Gold panning.

What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?

Closed at this park:
  • Museums and historic buildings.
  • Special events continue to be canceled until further notice.

Statewide:
  • Many campgrounds across the state remain temporarily closed until further notice or will be temporarily closed in accordance with the new Regional Stay at Home Order. More information here.   
  • 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, State Parks has implemented the following guidelines to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors:
  • Stay Local –Stay close to home to slow the spread of COVID-19. Do not travel if you or someone in your household is sick.
  • Plan Ahead – The COVID-19 pandemic response continues to be dynamic and fluid. As such, information on this webpage may change. Prior to visiting us, please check this webpage again right before you visit the park to find out if new guidelines are in place.
  • Stay Safer at 6 feet – No matter the recreational activity, maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more. Your guests should only include those within your immediate household. This means no guests or friends, and no gatherings, picnics or parties. Visitors are being asked to leave if there are too many people to allow for the required physical distance.
    • Boating: Do not raft up to other boaters or pull up onto a beach next to other recreators.
    • Off-highway Vehicle Recreation: Do not ride next to others or pull up next to someone else as it could put you in close proximity to others. Stage 10 feet or more from each other during unloading and loading.
  • Keep Clean – Be prepared. Not all restrooms are open to the public. in some cases, restrooms will be temporarily closed to keep up with cleaning schedules. Bring soap/hand sanitizer. Please pack out all trash. Park units are experiencing heavy use and you can help alleviate the impact on park facilities.
  • Stay Covered – The state requires you wear a face covering when you cannot maintain physical distancing of six feet or more. Individuals must have a face covering with them at all times.

Statewide, California State Parks continues to work with locals on a phased and regionally driven approach to increase access to state park units where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved. However, the situation remains fluid and park operations can change at any time. The need for Californians to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the outdoors remains critical.

For information on statewide current closures and available services, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.

Phone Number

(530) 622-3470

Park Hours

Day Use Areas: 8am - 5pm

Visitor Center for payments only: 9am to 4pm

Museum closed until further notice

Store Hours: Thurday to Sunday 10am - 4pm

Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day

 

 

Dogs Allowed?

Yes
Dogs allowed on trails and in the river. Dogs not allowed in buildings.

Driving Directions to Marshall Gold Discovery SHP

The park is located in Coloma on Highway 49 between Placerville and Auburn.

Online reservations are not available for this park.

Upcoming Park Events

No events scheduled at this moment.

BOATING
Boating
TRAIL USE
Hiking Trails
DAY-USE ACTIVITIES & FACILITIES
Historical/Cultural Site
Picnic Areas
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Fishing
Guided Tours
Interpretive Exhibits
Beach Area
Museums
Family Programs
OTHER FACILITIES & VISITOR INFORMATION
Food Service
Parking
Restrooms
Drinking Water Available

Get Social with Marshall Gold Discovery SHP

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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 (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.

goldpanning

Gold Discovery Tours

Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park is pleased to offer visitors guided walking tours! Tours will be conducted for individual family groups from the same household only with proper physical distancing. Please check in at the Visitor Center.

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 (tours will NOT be given when the temperature is above 92 degrees). 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.

To learn more about our procedures to comply with state mandates please call the museum at (530) 622-3470.

 

Additional Information

Seasons & Recommended Clothing
Summer and spring are warm; fall and winter can be cool. Layered clothing is advised.

River Flow
For current river flow, please click on the link to be redirected.

Disclaimer
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;  You can also email marshallgoldshp@gmail.com for additional information.

 

Junior Ranger Program

All youngsters are encouraged to become Junior Rangers at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. We recently released a new and improved Junior Ranger Program with additional activities and challenges for an improved Junior Ranger experience.

Jr Ranger ProgramYou'll learn about

  • James Marshall and the Gold Discovery
  • Different methods for mining gold
  • Plants and animals found in the area
  • The Native Americans who lived in this valley
  • The people of Coloma
  • The historic buildings in the park

Stop by our visitor center to pick up a copy of the Junior Ranger booklet and start exploring! Or, you can download the booklet here.

For more information, call (530) 622-3470.

Group Reservations 2020-21

Check school and group information page for change in reservation dates and procedures.
School and Group Information

Sutters MillSutter's Mill

Location & Directions

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.

Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park
Although small amounts of gold had been found in other parts of California, it was the gold discovery at Sutter’s mill that received world-wide attention in 1848. The discovery caused one of the largest mass-migrations in history, bringing people to California from all over the world. Most prospectors who came did not strike it rich in the gold fields and returned home, but about ten percent stayed in California. Those who stayed contributed to California’s unprecedented rapid commercial, agricultural and industrial development and statehood in 1850.

Marshall Gold Discovery SHP(Photograph by Mike Fuller)

The full Geo Gems report  |  Geological Gems of State Parks

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