Things You Should Not Miss
1. Take a walk around the park and see the restored mill, plus twenty other historic buildings from the site where the Gold Rush began.
2. Start your tour in the Gold Discovery Museum and Visitor Center
and look at the exhibits that tell the story of the men who panned for
3. Take a gold panning lesson. Might come in handy later in life.
4. Go on a hike. It's a good place to use your feet.
The Monument and Monroe Ridge Trails take you to parts of the park
that some miss.
What is There Now
The Gold Discover Museum and Visitor Center - Start your visit here. Look at the exhibits that tell the story of the California Gold Rush and find out more about guided walks of the park.
Sutter's Mill - Not the original, but a replica of the same.
Twenty other Historic Buildings - Schools, stores, the and the Gold Rush Mercantile.
There is no lodging within the park, but lodging and campgrounds are available in the region of Coloma and Lotus with bed and breakfasts, inns, and campgrounds. Check through the Coloma links below or Expedia for the lodging of your choice. There's also more accomodations available in Auburn and Placerville. For those coming from Sacramento, a fifty mile trip, additional accommodations are plentiful.
California Gold Rush LinksSutter's Mill, Marshall Gold Discovery SHP
Coloma-Lotus Chamber of Commerce
Gold Discovery Park Association
El Dorado County Visitors Authority
Nearby AttractionsYosemite National Park
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco
San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park
San Francisco City Guides
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New Best Teams Ever Chapter included.
The California Gold Rush Then and Now
Sutter's Mill Then
John Sutter came to the area in 1841 with a land grant of 48,000 acres,
where he built a ranch, a fort, and then commissioned a young New
Jersey man who'd come west on the Oregon Trail, James W.
Marshall, to build a sawmill. In the fall of 1847, construction
began. When they dug a ditch to the river on January
24, 1848, gold came into the picture with the discovery by Marshall of
flecks in the American river. Not only did it swell the city of
Coloma to ten thousand peopled, it impacted the large gateway city
of San Francisco one hundred and forty miles away. The
city grew to twenty-five thousand
residents, twenty five times its former size, in less than two
years. An estimated eighty thousand would pass
through the city going for gold in 1849 alone.
The California Gold Ranch Expands - Although Sutter's Mill is the best known, and first, of the sites and area where prospectors looked for California gold, other locations swelled in size with prospectors, including the Northern California towns of Yreka and Shasta. Shasta is now also a state historic park.
Sutter's Mill Now
Inside the Park - Take your time to visit the park and discover the gold rush era. Begin your visit at the Gold Rush Museum and Visitor Center, take a guided walk, then walk around the site and town (200 residents still live there). There are twenty historic buildings, plus the mill (above current, top right historic) and monument to James Marshall.
Outside the Park- The region of the Coloma Valley has many recreational activities for you to choose, including kayaking and white water rafting on the American River. If you'd like more sedate pursuits, there are many hiking trails and places to fish. And wine country is not too far away either.