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Organization Title

Columbia State Historic Park

Contact Information

(209) 588-9128

Park Hours

Columbia is a real town, it never actually closes. Most businesses are open from 10:00am to 5:00pm.

Driving Directions to Columbia SHP

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

View on Map

Camping and Lodging

Online reservations are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Reservations can be made 1 year in advance via the Reserve America website, or by calling the toll free telephone number at 1-800-444-7275. Click on the Online Reservations link below or the banner below that to go directly to our Reserve America page. If your stay will be in the next 48 hours please call the hotel directly at (209) 532-1479 for availability.

Online Reservations

Brochures and Campground Maps

We are currently recruiting for our 2015 Docent Class! If you are interested in volunteering in the park, please click HERE!

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:

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
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.

Our Museum is currently open from 10:00-4:30pm. 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.

School Programs

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.

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.

Special Events & Programs

Gold miners at Columbia Diggins

Ghost Tours – Saturdays, August 8, August 29, September 12, September 26, and October 24, 3pm
Walk through town with a costumed guide and hear stories of people from the past. Stop in at the hotels and other buildings throughout the park while listening for some residents who may still remain! Make your reservations at $10/person. (209) 588-8411 for more information.

History’s Mysteries – Saturday,  August 15, & 29, 10:00am
Solve an actual crime that occurred in Columbia in the 1800s. You will witness the event, interview key members to the crime and get a chance to subpoena them in court. Then you will select one person from your group to question people on the stand. At the end, you will determine the outcome of the crime. $5/adults, $1/children. Meets at 10 a.m. at the museum. Reservations can be made online

California Admission Day Parade – Saturday, September 5
The Native Sons of the Golden West, Columbia Parlor #258, sponsors a California Admissions Day Parade in Historic Columbia. The Native Sons have a tradition of preserving California History. The parade was started in 1876 and was revived in 2008. There are many other events held on Admissions Day in Historic Columbia. For more information call 588-9128.

Back to School 1861 – Saturday, September 19, 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Join us for a beautiful evening at the historic schoolhouse. During this reminiscent event, take a tour of the upstairs, sit in on a lesson taught by a docent dressed as an 1860s school teacher, play games of long ago, listen to music, and help make hand-cranked ice cream.

Stories in Stone – Friday, September 25 & 26 & October 2 & 3, 7:00pm
Costumed docents guide guests through Columbia’s historic cemetery by lamplight. At each gravestone a costumed volunteer will tell about the person’s life in Columbia and how they came to rest in Columbia Cemetery. Be prepared to walk on uneven ground after dark for about an hour in the cemetery. $25.00 per person. Call 532-3184 for reservation

Columbia Diggins, Tent Town 1852 – May 19-22, 2016
Step back in time to the early days of Columbia. Experience mining demonstrations, theater performances, bakery and laundry “businesses,” boarding house and lots more. Over 100 costumed volunteers and re-enactors recreate life in 1852 Columbia.

Additional event information may be available at

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.

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Available Activities and Facilities at Columbia State Historic Park

RV Access
Hiking Trails
Historical/Cultural Site
Picnic Areas
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Guided Tours
Interpretive Exhibits
Family Programs
Food Service
Drinking Water Available