Monument Loop Hike
This moderate 1.5 mile walk includes a 250 foot climb.
From the mill site, take the trail marked "Marshall Monument." After crossing the highway, you will pass a large bedrock outcrop behind the picnic area where Native American Nisenan women ground acorns for food. Look for mortar holes in the rock.
The trail head is behind the restroom building in the picnic area. The trail climbs for about a half mile through forest and chaparral. Please stay on the trail. At the top is James Marshall's Monument, built over the discoverer's grave in 1889.
The return hike brings you down the one-way road (or a short steep trail) past Marshall's Cabin to Church Street. St. John's Church and Emmanuel Church were built in the 1850s and are now historic structures protected by the state park.
On your way down High Street you will pass the Noteware-Thomas House, a restored residence built in 1856. The stone ruins of the old El Dorado County Jail can be seen on Back Street as you return to the Visitor Center.
Monroe Ridge Trail
The Monroe Ridge Trail is a moderate hike of approximately 2.3 miles with an elevation gain of 400 feet. It connects the Marshall Monument with the North Beach picnic area at opposite ends of the park. Once you have climbed to the ridge, the trail follows the ridgeline for about a mile providing views of the river and surrounding valleys. The trail runs solely through natural forested areas of manzanita, oak, toyon, and pine.
Hikers can pick up the Monroe Ridge Trail at the Marshall Monument by taking the fire road at the south end of the parking area. Hikers can also connect to this trail by hiking up the Monument Trail (trailhead behind the restrooms in the picnic area behind the visitors' center) to the Marshall Monument. Alternately, hikers can use the trailhead at the north end of the park in the Monroe Orchard across Highway 49 from the North Beach Parking area.
Hikers are cautioned to watch for poison oak, rattlesnakes, and other natural hazards. Mountain Lions are also known to inhabit the area.
When James Marshall first saw the Coloma Valley, the grass-covered hillsides were completely free of litter. Now, we need your help to keep them that way. Whatever you bring into the park, please take it out with you.
When you hike, please stay on the trails. Shortcuts destroy the ground cover and speed erosion.
Diving in the river is not permitted. The river shoreline contains submerged obstacles and an uneven bottom.
Recreational gold panning is allowed on the east shore of the river. Hands and pans only, please.