Looking to learn a little bit more about the history of the Gold Rush? El Dorado County is the perfect place to do it. With gold originally being discovered within our county, we have a variety of museums, caves, mines, and historical sites to visit. If you’re interested in coming up for a weekend to explore, take a look at our list of the best places to learn about gold rush in El Dorado County.
1.) Gold Bug Park and Mine (2635 Gold Bug Lane, Placerville, CA 95667)
Come to Gold Bug Park and Mine to see Hattie’s gift shop, The Blacksmith, Hattie’s Gold Rush Museum, the Joshua Hendy Stamp Mill, 61 acres of natural flora and fauna, and of course, tours of the mines. This is a great place to bring families or field trips and the mine is a great way to beat the heat in the summer. The Gold Bug mine offers a great audio tour and if you would like to opt for a guided tour, consider touring the Priest Mine also located on the premises. The blacksmith makes some very cool Gold Rush history souvenirs that can be purchased at Hattie’s gift shop. Adjacent to Hattie’s gift shop, the museum offers a spectacular look into Gold Rush History through the tools the miners used to mining techniques to local geology.
Park Hours: April through October: 10:00am to 4:00pm daily.
March through March: 12:00 noon to 4:00pm weekends only.
Mine tours: Please arrive before 3:30 as the mine closes at 4:00pm
Admission: Adults: $6.00 Youth: (10-17yrs) $4.00 Kids: (3-9yrs) $3.00 2yrs and under can come in free.
Gem Panning: $2.00 an hour, closed for winter until the month of April.
2.) Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park (310 Back Street, Coloma, CA 95613)
Take a visit to the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park for a Gold Discovery guided tour. The tour covers what the Coloma Valley was like before and during the Gold Rush as well as taking you to the site where gold was discovered: Sutter’s Saw Mill. The best time to come to the park is the second saturday of each month when they put on Living History Days. On Living History Days, the park is filled with docents in period clothing, with stations set up to show you various aspects of Gold Rush life. Kids can participate in Gold Rush era games and learn about rope making, candle making, and old fashioned cooking.
Park Hours: Open Monday through Sunday.
November to March: 10:00am to 4:00pm
March to November: 10:00am to 5:00pm
Admission: Guided tours are $3.00 for Adults and $2.00 for kids.
3.) Fountain and Tallman Museum (524 Main Street, Placerville, CA 95667)
Come to this quaint museum in the old Fountain and Tallman Soda Works Building on Placerville Main Street (the oldest building in Placerville). Learn the history behind the building and all the ways that it has changed hands over the years as well as the role it played in Gold Rush history. As you continue to meander the museum, you will also learn about local geology, the history of Hangtown (Placerville’s previous name), the Chinese merchants of the Gold Rush, early firefighting, Snowshoe Thompson, and more. With so many exhibits in such a tiny building, no wonder it is called the “biggest little museum” in the west. It is a great addition to exploring the antique shops and bookstores downtown and will provide you with a great account of Placerville’s history.
Museum Hours: Wednesday to Saturday: 11:00am to 4:00pm
Sundays: 12:00pm to 4:00pm
Have a favorite museum in El Dorado County? Let us know in the comments, we would love to include it in future parts of our series on the best places to learn about Gold Rush History in El Dorado County! For more information on what to do in El Dorado County, go to: www.visit-eldorado.com