Columbia SHP

State Historic Park

Location - Directions

Columbia State Historic Park is three miles north of Sonora, off Highway 49.

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.

Seasons/Climate

Climate
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.

Weather
Average Annual Rainfall: 40 inches
Average Daily High Temperatures:
Winter: 59 F
Summer 89F

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.

Digging Deeper Into Columbia
June 15th-Labor Day: Daily @ 1:00 PM. Learn more about Columbia by listening to a short presentation by park staff or volunteers. Hands-on demonstrations and interpretation. Please check with museum upon arrival to see location and topic of the day.

Our Museum is currently open from 10:00-5:00pm through Labor Day. Fall/Winter hours 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.

Costumed volunteer at Gold Rush Days

School Programs-
Special School programs designed to meet state curriculum standards for 4th graders are offered from September-June.  $40 per class. Students enjoy an hour-long history program at the museum led by park staff, including a bucket brigade.  Then students walk to the original brick schoolhouse for an hour-long 1860s living history school program.   Registration forms for the program are available by clicking the School Programs link on the right side of the page.  Programs are popular and fill quickly.

PORTS for Columbia
Parks Online Resource for Teachers and Students
Three downloadable lesson plans focused on 4th grade curriculum culminating with a ranger from Columbia interacting with the class via video conference.

Special Events & Programs

Photography Tour-More dates coming soon! 
Novice class in travel photography with a focus on Columbia. Learn how to get that perfect shot!
$20/person or $30/two people. Call (209) 588-9128 to make a reservation.
Additional classes and levels to be posted soon. Check back!


Big Band Street Dance    History's Mysteries



Big Band Street Dance
July 19, 6:00-10:00pm
Put on your dancing shoes and join us as we celebrate the year Columbia became a California State Park, 1945! Wear your best '40s and 50's clothes and dance under the stars on Main Street. Fundraiser event sponsored by Friends of Columbia. Free parking and admission.

History's Mysteries
July 26, Aug 2, Aug 16, Aug 30; 10:00am
Follow along and solve a real historical crime! Interview witnesses and participate in a trial to find out the "truth". $5/person, reservations highly recommended. (209) 588-9128.

31st Annual Lamplight Tours
December 5 & 6, beginning around 6:00 pm and running every 15 minutes
Take a walk through Columbia on a lamplight-led tour by our costumed volunteers! Follow your guide from venue to venue and watch the play all come together in the end. It's sure to be a night to remember! Reservations are recommended and can be made after September 1st. Please call (209) 588-9128 for more information.


For special event information please call Columbia State Historic Park at 209-588-9128.

Additional event information may be available at www.columbiacalifornia.com.

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.

·Park Information

  • Hours of Operation:

  • Park Office Telephone:

    (209) 588-9128

  • Region

    Gold Country

    County

    Tuolumne

  • Purchase Annual Passes

Telephone

209-588-9128

Operating Hours

Columbia is a real town, it never actually closes. Most businesses are open from 10:00am to 5:00pm. Many restaurants, hotels, saloons and other establishments have longer hours. With the exception of the City Hotel, almost all businesses are closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Address

11255 Jackson St.
Columbia, CA 95310

Visitor Services Address

11255 Jackson St.
Columbia, CA 95310

Information line: 209-588-9128
Museum phone: 209-532-3184
Lost and Found: 209-532-3184

Museum open every day in Spring/Summer from 10:00-5:00PM.
Musuem open every day in Fall/Winter from 10-4 PM.
Closed on
Thanksgiving & Christmas.

Special Event Permits

Columbia is the setting of many special events.  Fun runs, special meetings, reserved picnic areas, weddings, car shows and other types of special use fall under the special event permit process, and additional fees may apply.

For more information on the special event permit process, call the park office at 209-588-8905.