Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park, Pine Grove

#1 of 6 in Historic Sites in Amador County
State Park · Historic Site
Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park is a California State Park, preserving an outcropping of marbleized limestone with some 1,185 mortar holes—the largest collection of bedrock mortars in North America. It is located in the Sierra Nevada foothills, 8 miles (13 km) east of Jackson. The park is nestled in a little valley 2,400 feet (732 m) above sea level, with open meadows and large specimens of valley oak that once provided the Miwok peoples of this area with an ample supply of acorns. The 135-acre (55 ha) park was established in 1962 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

The native name for the site is "Chaw’se", the Miwok word for "grinding rock". Upon this rock they ground acorns and other seeds into meal, slowly forming the cup-shaped depressions in the stone, which can still be seen today. Along with the mortar holes, the main grinding rock within the park features a number of petroglyphs: circles, spoked wheels, animal and human tracks, wavy lines, etc. Some of these carvings are thought to be as much as two or three thousand years old and are now becoming difficult to discern. This association of rock art and bedrock mortar pits is unique in California. Except for one other small site, Chaw'se has the only known occurrence of mortars intentionally decorated with petroglyphs.
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Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
72 reviews
  • Nat exactly what I expected but interesting. It rained the day we visited so we didn't do the full trail. There is a small museum on sight. The grounds are really the attraction here though...  more »
  • We stopped by after visiting the Black Chasm Cavern near by. It was not very busy and we took a quick walk around to check out the historic grinding rock. It is a great place for families with kids....  more »
  • Quite possibly the nicest, cleanest, well-run parks I've ever seen. Tranquil forests and informative cultural exhibits - perfect. A special shout out to ranger Lee Eal! Knowledgeable and helpful...  more »
  • Too many BARKING DOGS. Ranger workers all over the place not saying anything to shut them up when only service animals were supposed to be allowed to pow wow. Young man in gift shop was super nice & understanding, & said he too saw service animals only on web site. Craft room was a neat thing to do. Loved seeing the grinding rocks n dancing. Next year hopefully there won't be barking dogs if we decide to go.
  • Very nice campground! The hosts are very friendly and keep everything clean and well kept. Nice place for kids with hiking paths and educational museum. Nicest bathrooms and showers I have ever seen at a campground!
  • Last weekend in September there's an awesome pow wow. Go on Saturday and get there early so you can enjoy an Indian Taco or flatbread!
  • Very enjoyable. Clean and accessinle for older people to enjoy. Beautiful park. Thanks to park staff for keeping up for our childrens future
  • Nice clean picnic and camping areas. Camp ground host and rangers very friendly and helpful.

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