Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park
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.
- The North Beach Group Picnic Area has accessible parking, accessibly designed and located picnic tables, and an accessible restroom.
- The Main Picnic Area behind the Gold Discovery Museum has accessible tables and may be usable in dry weather with some assistance. Additionally, shaded accessible picnic tables are located adjacent to the Gold Discovery Museum. Accessible parking and restrooms are available at the Gold Discovery Museum, and across Highway 49 at the North Beach Group Picnic Area.
- The Levee Trail is a 0.25 mile trail that starts at an accessible parking lot located near the northeast side of the Mt. Murphy Road bridge. The trail takes visitors along the South Fork of the American River and terminates at a river overlook. Accessible parking is provided at the trailhead.
- The Gold Discovery Trails are a 1.2 mile system of trails located between the Gold Discovery Museum and the Gold Discovery site. The trails provide access to historic mining infrastructure and native American bedrock mortars. Accessible picnicking and restrooms are provided along the trail route.
- Approximately a dozen historic structures are located along the main street or on a hill overlooking the street. Few buildings are accessible.
- Many freestanding interpretive panels are scattered throughout the park and are accessible.
Gold Discovery Museum: The museum and exhibits within are accessible. Accessible parking and restrooms are available at the museum.
Seasons & Recommended Clothing
Summer and spring are warm; fall and winter can be cool. Layered clothing is advised.
For current river flow, please check here: http://www.theamericanriver.com/trip-planning/south-fork-news-flows/.
Gold panning, tours, the blacksmith shop, and other scheduled activities may be closed/cancelled due to extreme weather, poor air quality conditions, inclement weather, or emergencies. For the latest information, please call the Gold Discovery Museum at 530-622-3470; open seven days a week 10am-5pm. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org for any additional information.
Location & Directions
The park is located in Coloma on Highway 49 between Placerville and Auburn.
US Highway 50 going East. Take the Ponderosa Exit, turn left on S. Shingle, take a right on North Shingle. Continue on N. Shingle for 10 miles. (N. Shingle will turn into Green Valley Road, then Lotus Road.) Lotus Road ends at CA HWY 49. Turn right on Highway 49 and go 1 mile to Coloma.
US Highway 80 going East, take the Elm Avenue exit and turn left. Take a left on CA/49--CA/193/South El Dorado Street. Continue on 49 for approximately 13 miles.
Day Use Fees
- $8 per car
- $7 per car (seniors 62 and older