Skip Navigation.
  • Seal of El Dorado
  • Seal of El Dorado

  • California - Find Yourself Here

Coloma, California
Marshall Gold Discovery State Park

Marshall Gold Discovery State Park in Coloma offers attractions, exhibits, and events to keep the family busy all day.

The town of Coloma is nearly hidden within a densely forested section of the America River Canyon. It was here in 1848 at Sutter's Mill that James Marshall initiated the California Gold Rush with a single sentence, "Boys, I believe I've found gold!". By 1852, Coloma was a busy town of 12,000 miners and merchants, each seeking their fortune.

Sutter's Mill

Today, Coloma has a population of 175, but in many ways, life remains much the same. The tinsmith still pounds out lanterns and candlesticks. The woodsy-smelling smoke from the blacksmith's fire greets the morning as he hammers and shapes horseshoes and a sundry hardware. The gunsmith can be found mending all manner of antique firearms and yes, people still pan for gold along the river's edge and find it!

The old bell in the tower of the one-room school house rings as visiting school groups are called to class. Locals drop in for a cup of coffee and a piece of homemade pie at the Argonaut Cafe on Main Street. And most days you can hear the clip clop of horses hooves as authentic carriages travel along the quiet tree-lined streets.

At the time of the gold discovery, the Culumali Indians inhabited this picturesque valley. Its diverse habitats are impressive given it's relatively small area. Within just a few miles you can experience conifer and deciduous forests, a wonderful mix of grey and ponderosa pine, incense cedars, redwoods, madrone, maples, and sycamore. A second habitat here in the canyon is oak woodland, home to live, blue, black and valley oaks. Native vegetation includes such chaparral plants as manzanita, toyon, buckeye, and redbud. A lush riparian zone along the river's corridor hosts alder, ash, cottonwood and willow, as well as reeds and rushes.

Coloma is a great place to observe wildlife. Black-tailed deer are plentiful in the park and are often seen grazing in the old orchards and meadows. Wild turkey, coyote, fox, and even mountain lion reside in the surrounding hills. In addition, the valley is home to more than 180 species of bird life. California quail and red-tailed hawk are common. The 1/2 acre pond behind the Inn is a perfect spot to bird watch - home to mallards, wood ducks, redwing blackbirds, and the belted kingfisher. It is a favorite nesting spot for the rare green heron, as well as the great blue heron.

Here are some websites that are worth looking at for more information on historic Coloma!

Marshall Gold Discovery State Historical Park

Marshall Gold Discovery
State Historical Park

Coloma, Calif.

Gold Discovery Park Association

Gold Discovery
Park Association

Celebrating and preserving the
history of the Gold Rush era at
Marshall Gold Disovery State
Historic Park

Highway 49

Travel through time...
on Hwy 49!

Coloma Valley
Where the Gold
Rush began

Dog Trekker logo Experience El Doorado