Amidst the rugged oak woodlands of the Sierra Nevada foothills, three miles north of Sonora, lies Columbia State Historic Park—once a busy, brawling gold rush town. The search for gold in the Sierra Nevada foothills offered hope and, for a fortunate few, riches. It drew prospectors from all over the world and of every nationality, including California Indians. Besides digging and panning for gold, they bought, sold and traded to try to make their fortunes. The authentic mid-nineteenth century backdrop of Columbia remains today to tell the colorful stories of these miners and merchants. The park was once known as the "Gem of the Southern Mines." Between the 1850s and 1870s over one-half billion dollars in gold (at today's value) was mined in the area. For a time, Columbia was the second largest city in California. Unlike many other settlements that disappeared due to fire, vandalism and time, Columbia survived. It was never completely deserted. In 1945 the State Legislature made the site a State Historic Park in order to preserve a typical Gold Rush town, an example of one of the most colorful eras in American history. Summer days are usually hot, with temperatures sometimes reaching into the 100s. Winters can be rainy, with snow at times.

No one has reviewed this trail yet. Be the first!