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.

Quiet and nice view along the way, very straight forward trail. Visited some of the museums in Mashall Gold park.

Shaded most of the way. Sloping ascent for 30 or so mins at slow pace.

More uphill than I expected but a really nice trail that is well-maintained. Lots of shade and some pretty amazing views. Be very careful of the poison oak.

The trail is nice but LOTS of poison oak alongside the trail.

6 months ago

Opinion: Good trail with a good variety of up and down. Nothing too hard. The trail itself is well worn and easy to walk on. The creek is dry currently so we didn't see any waterfalls of anything like that, but the trail has a nice amount of wildflowers and historical sites that make it fun. At 3.2 miles it's short enough to be ok for dogs and kids and friends who might not hike often, but it's got enough uphill (just a series of switchbacks) to get the blood moving. The river at the trailhead/end is good for cooling off. Plus at the statue of john marshall and at the park/trailhead there are stone grills and picnic tables for cooking. We really didn't see any othe people on the actual trail. At the park there were some people, but it was quiet and nice enough to make for a great day away.

Info: The park closes at 8pm. no camping is allowed. Fishing in the river is ok with a license. On the trail you're likely to see lizards and some bugs, but warning signs for mtn lions, rattlesnakes, and ticks are around, so be aware of your surroundings. Also watch out for poison oak.

Love this piece of gold country. Beautiful views!