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el dorado county historic park

A Guide to Exploring Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park With Kids

Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, located in Coloma, California, sits on the banks of the South Fork of the American River. It’s been an important part of the state’s history since 1848. So, whether you’re planning a weekend away from the hustle and bustle of the city or are looking to fun activities on an extended vacation, the historic site offers plenty of things to do with kids that will keep them entertained!

This state park offers year-round fun thanks to its beautiful surroundings and history. Here are some helpful tips for getting the most out of your visit!

Pan for Gold at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park

For most kids, visiting a historic state park conjures up images of strenuous hikes and mosquito-ridden campouts. At Marshall Gold Discovery State Park, there’s another way to explore—with a gold pan. Learn how to pan for gold by taking a 15-minute lesson, then spend the next half hour panning the troughs looking for garnets, fools gold, and real gold flakes! The park also allows you to try your hands at panning for gold in the American River.

Take the guided walking Gold Discovery Tour and hear the story of the Coloma Valley and the history of the California Gold Rush. The location also features a 19th-century Sutter’s Mill where you can learn about gold mining in California and several interpretive exhibits that explore what life was like back then in Coloma.

Hike Along Monroe Ridge Trail

The Monument Loop hike at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park is an easy hike with a few hills. It gives you a great view of historic buildings and quite a bit of information about life in Coloma during the California gold rush.

The loop passes by mining equipment and points of interest with interpretive signage at various intervals to inform hikers about Marshall’s early years. You can also see incredible panoramic views of the American River from the top of James Marshall Hill, just off the trailhead for the Monument Loop Trail near Richardson Avenue in Coloma.

Enjoy Delectable Meals at The Argonaut Farm to Fork Cafe

Gold Rush history comes alive at The Argonaut Farm to Fork Cafe in Coloma, just minutes from Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. The cafe, located in a historical building, offers delicious organic food!

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