monument to James Marshall in Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic ParkMarshall’s monument, the original gold discovery site, and several historic buildings became part of California’s state park system in 1927. Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park features a museum, many original and restored buildings, and costumed volunteers. At the museum, you can learn how to pan for gold, and you can buy a gold pan there as well. Bekaert’s Gun Shop, located in the Park, offers similar activities and old-fashioned trade goods.

Other Park activities include video presentations in the museum and sawmill demonstrations at the working replica of the original Sutter’s Mill. With a map from the museum, you can guide yourself on tours of the town, the cemetery, the Monument Trail, and the Monroe Ridge Trail.

Fourth Graders Learn California History

Every year, tens of thousands of California schoolchildren, mostly 4th graders, visit Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park as part of their studies in California history. They see the site of the 1848 gold discovery that started the 1849 California Gold Rush and learn how it transformed our state and the nation.

blacksmith at Marshall Park, ColomaOther highlights of their visits include seeing the working replica of Sutter’s Mill, learning to pan for gold, and meeting docents dressed in period clothes and working as blacksmiths or doing other crafts of the time. They pick out souvenirs from the Park Museum or Beakeart’s Gun Shop, and the lucky ones get to enjoy ice cream at the Argonaut.

If you’re not a California fourth grader, you can still come to see the place at which California’s history was forever changed, and get your own ice cream too. Wander along the river, watch the Canada geese fly by on their migration, and painlessly pick up a bit of history. We look forward to your visit!

Guide for Visitors

For more information call Park Headquarters at (530) 622-3470, contact the Gold Discovery Park Association at (530) 622-6198, P.O. Box 461, Coloma, California, 95613, or visit the official Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park web site.

The Park sponsors several events each year; see the Coloma Valley calendar for details. The Park’s two historic churches are popular wedding locations. See our Weddings page for more information. If you are interested in reserving one of the group areas, call (530) 622-3069.