The World Rushed In
James W. Marshall discovered gold in 1848 on the South Fork of the American River in the valley the Nisenan Indians knew as Cullumah. This event led to the greatest mass movement of people in the Western Hemisphere and was the spark that ignited the spectacular growth of the West during the ensuing decades. The gold discovery site, located in the still visible tailrace of Sutter's sawmill, in present day Coloma California, is one of the most significant historic sites in the nation.
James W. Marshall found shining flecks of gold in the tailrace of the sawmill he was building for himself and John Sutter. This discovery in 1848 changed the course of California's and the nation's history. See a replica of the original sawmill and over 20 historic buildings including mining, house, school, and store exhibits.
Visitors have the opportunity to try panning for gold in the American River and enjoy hikes and picnics under the riparian oak woodlands. Overlooking the beautiful river canyon, where the gold discoverer rests today, see California's first historic monument, the statue of James Marshall pointing at his gold discovery site .
Come participate in tours or special events, see exhibits and "Living History Days" planned regularly throughout the year; contact the Gold Discovery Museum and Visitor Center for details. Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park is proud to now offer the Eureka Experience school and group programs, and gold panning lessons for park visitors.
Trails—The Levee Trail is generally accessible. The Gold Discovery Loop Trail is mostly level on hard-packed soil; some slopes may require assistance.
Picnicking—The North Beach group picnic area has accessible tables, with accessible restrooms and parking nearby. The picnic tables near the Wah Hop Store and Man Lee exhibits may require assistance.
DAY-USE ACTIVITIES & FACILITIES
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs