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Arguably the most historically significant spot in the state of California, Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park should (in theory) be on every history buff's destination list. Back in 1848, James W. Marshall discovered gold near the sawmill he was constructing, sparking the largest migration of people in the Western Hemisphere. The park is located in the town of Coloma, which is known for its intense river rafting and riparian oak-shaded hiking trails. Visitors can view a replica of the original sawmill and more than 20 historic buildings including mining, house, school, and store exhibits. The park offers Living History Days, hiking ...

Arguably the most historically significant spot in the state of California, Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park should (in theory) be on every history buff's destination list. Back in 1848, James W. Marshall discovered gold near the sawmill he was constructing, sparking the largest migration of people in the Western Hemisphere. The park is located in the town of Coloma, which is known for its intense river rafting and riparian oak-shaded hiking trails. Visitors can view a replica of the original sawmill and more than 20 historic buildings including mining, house, school, and store exhibits. The park offers Living History Days, hiking trails, and a small museum. If you'd like to try your luck at snagging some gold, you can hire equipment and sluice away in the river. The historic park offers a lovely place to picnic near the South Fork of the American River.

Michele Bigley
About the Expert

Michele Bigley is the author of Northern California: An Explorer's Guide and Great Destinations Kauai from Countryman Press.

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Michele Bigley for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summer