Along California’s historic Highway 49, in Coloma between Placerville and Auburn, tucked neatly into a beautifully forested valley in the Sierra foothills, Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park straddles the South Fork of the American River. 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. The purpose of Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park is to secure for the people and to make available for their observation, inspiration, and enjoyment, the gold discovery site and its environs as an accurate portrayal of the story that unfolded at the time of the discovery and Gold Rush. The park's interpretive program primarily embraces the period from 1847 through 1852, but also shows the town of Coloma as it developed. 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. Throughout the year the park provides daily interpretive programs at the sawmill replica. Participate in special events, exhibits and "Live History Days" planned regularly throughout the year; contact the Gold Discovery Museum and Visitor Center for details. The Day Use Annual Pass is accepted at this park.
dennis t. on Monroe Ridge Trail and the Monument...
Adrienne P. on Monroe Ridge Trail and the Monument...
This is one of our family favs. Love stopping at the local cafe/deli. This trail is particularly special because of the history. Very enjoyable.
My kids & I (10 & 8yrs old) drove up to Coloma. It was not very busy. The trail was moderately difficult for me. Only seen one other couple on the trail. We had a great time together!! I did not realize it was a loop trail we went to monument and then back down the way we came. Said 1.5 miles on Fitbit but was 611 calories burned!! We also gold panned!! Good day!
It was ok. We started late and ended up going down the way we came after we realized following the trail would take us way farther away from our car and it was not really a loop unless you count going along the road as a loop. We did see fresh scat on the trail. Possibly mountain lion.
Monroe Ridge Trail to Monument. Seems to make the Coloma Loop. Gary Pinkley gives good advise on Trail.
Finding it was not fun. Look for the set of white buildings. Trail is to the right of the building.
Pretty nice in the winter. Wont go int the summer! to hot!
The Coloma Loop Trail is comprised of the Monroe Ridge trail and Monument trail.
Total combined is 3.7miles Pretty easy haul.
If you are coming from Placerville the GPS told me to go up hwy 49 then take a left on Church Street then a right on Hwy 153. If you are looking for the trail it is a hug waste of time and will take you to the actual monument that you'll hike up to. Hwy 49 takes a hair pin turn to the right. Church street goes left, stay on 49 to the right. Go into town and you will see two very large parking area on your right. Doesn't really matter which one you park at. The trail head is across the street. There is an area with several white buildings farm house looking structures and there must be 8 of them. Facing the buildings, the trail head is on the right side. Look for the big rock with metal plate. Its up in the field maybe 150yards Not on the road side.
The Monument Trail seems to be an attached trail coming off the Monroe Ridge Trail.
Total combined is 3.7miles Pretty easy haul.
If you are coming from Placerville the GPS told me to go up hwy 49 then take a left on Church Street then a right on Hwy 153. If you are looking for the trail it is a hug waste of time and will take you to the actual monument that you'll hike up to. Hwy 49 takes a hair pin turn to the right. Church street goes left, stay on 49 to the right. Go into town and you will see two very large parking area on your right. Doesn't really matter which one you park at. The trail head is across the street. There is an area with several white buildings farm house looking structures and there must be 8 small buildings. Facing the buildings, the trail head is on the right side of them. Look for the big rock with metal plate. Its up in the field maybe 150yards.
Summertime: not the greatest for hiking. Too hot, choking on dust, and looking at the greyness of the coated trees. I'm sure this hike would be tons better with the fall colors coming in, nice views of the valley below.
Lets wait for late October to hit.
Although there's lots of people in the "downtown" area of the park, the hiking trail wasn't crowded at all when I went. In fact, I only ran into 4 people in about a period of around 2 hours. I accessed the trail by driving up Califonia's shortest highway- highway 153. At the top of the road is a parking lot and the trailhead is across the road. When you start the trail, it's semi-steep and there's picnic tables at the top of the hill. Once you start going down the hill, there's a fork in the trail and I was not impressed with the amount of signage. I went to the right only because I ran into people at the fork that told me if I went right, I'd end up in the downtown park of the park. That unfortunately meant that I had to walk along the busy road for about half an hour just to get back to the parking lot to my car. Just a heads up: If you park in the downtown area and start the trail there where I exited, there's an extremely steep hill you'll have to climb up.
Overall the trail was nice, I just wish there was signage showing where the trail went off towards the left when you hit the fork.
UPDATE: I have returned and I've gone right at the fork. If you do go right, you wind around some paths downhill for a bit and end up in the downtown area anyway. So regardless of whether or not you go left or right you end up at roughly the same spot. On the signage you're told that if you go left there's some sort of beach, there's not. Bummer I know.