NorCal Roadtrips

An Explorer's Guide to Northern California

Columbia State Historic Park

Columbia State Historic Park

Description: A partially restored historic gold rush town with many historic buildings now operated by concessionaires as shops for the living.

The park was once known as the "Gem of the Southern Mines." From the 1850s to the 1870s over one-half billion dollars in gold (in today's dollars) was mined here and 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.

Start at the informative museum and walk the streets for a taste of the historic past. The location lends itself to people exploring the area near Angels Camp and environs. There are ranger tours, and real stores and restaurants are open to cater to the needs of the visitor. A sign on a hotel wall advertises "beds with springs", which makes us campers insanely jealous.

Facilities: Picnic areas, historic buildings, nature trail, museum, restrooms. Guided tours also available. WiFi.

Open: Year round, day use only. Museum 10AM-4PM except holidays. Phone: 209-588-9128.

Location: From Hwy. 49 in Sonora drive north about 3 miles to Parrotts Ferry Road and continue about 1.5 miles to the park. It is well marked.

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