Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, Coloma

(4.5/5 based on 180+ reviews on the web)
James W. Marshall discovered gold in 1848 on the South Fork of the American River in the valley the Nisenan Indians knew as Cullumah. 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.

James W. Marshall found shining flecks of gold in the tailrace of the sawmill he was building for himself and John Sutter. This discovery in 1848 changed the course of California's and the nation's history. See a replica of the original sawmill and over 20 historic buildings including mining, house, school, and store exhibits.

Visitors have the opportunity to try panning for gold in the American River and enjoy hikes and picnics under the riparian oak woodlands. Overlooking the beautiful river canyon, where the gold discoverer rests today, see California's first historic monument, the statue of James Marshall pointing at his gold discovery site .
Put Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park and other Coloma attractions into our Coloma itinerary builder, and watch your holiday take shape.
Create a full Coloma itinerary

Plan your trip to Coloma

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.
  • Having recently moved to CA, this was a really nice place to learn about the states history and what shaped America through the mid 1800's to really today. There was plenty of area for the kids to run...  more »
  • Small, quaint and quiet, Marshall Good Discovery Park in Coloma is one of the most important historic landmarks in the west. Site of Marshall's discovery of a nugget in the tailrace of John Sutter's n...  more »
  • I know a little of the California gold rush, but remained low. Gold trench experience can enjoy in remembrance. There is no reason why bother driving here.
    View original
  • Very cool place, there is a lot to do here especially for kids. Check their website for events they have year round. Lots of historic stuff on site, river runs on the east side, nice restroom facilities, BBQ areas, and picnic tables. Deer like to roam the grounds.
  • This was not on our original trip itinerary. We were trying to get a good grouping of Northern California activities and this one just got popped in. My 14 and 10 year old boys forgot all about electronics and caught gold fever. Several days later they are still recounting every part of their visit to this park.
  • One of my favorite places to go. This was the site of the gold discovery in California. A very important part of California history. Just imagine miners coming from all over the world looking for gold and it will blow you away.
  • A nice little historical park, with a small museum. Bring a lunch and picnic by the American River, watching the rafters and kayakers float by. Usually parking is sufficient, except on the busiest days when school groups or such are visiting.
  • It is a nice and mostly quiet Park, at least the day we were there. There is lots to see, including Sutters Mill, circa 1849. Little stores from the original time of the settlement. There are places to swim, hike and plenty of places to picnic.