The Four Best Places to Learn About California Gold Rush History

California Gold Rush history can be experienced in 4 top-notch museums in Coloma and Placerville, California, right near Eden Vale Inn. Discover more about the incredible mining history of this area and even take home some gold for yourself with panning experiences, museums, period reenactments, and so much more!

panning for gold near Eden Vale Inn

Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park

10 minutes from the Inn

California Gold Rush history is the center of Coloma, California, where James W. Marshall discovered gold at Sutter’s Mill. The Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park has a great museum, outdoor exhibits, gold panning lessons, tours, and living history days on the second Saturday of the month.

a blacksmith making something out of iron near eden vale inn

Sutter’s Mill at Gold Discovery Park

10 minutes from the Inn

Marshall Gold Discovery park is open every day. Tours and gold panning lessons are held several times a day. See Sutter’s Mill, Marshall’s Monument, and the blacksmith shop where volunteers make various iron items in front of your eyes. On the second Saturday of every month, history comes alive! Volunteer docents in period dress show and talk about aspects of pioneer life, such as tinsmithing, rope making, candle dipping, and old-fashioned log sawing. History buffs will especially love the opportunity for some hands-on history activities!

a pair of train wheels at a museum in northern california

El Dorado County Historical Museum

18 minutes from the Inn

California Gold Rush history is alive on Placerville Drive. Outdoor exhibits include logging transportation and train equipment. The museum itself is connected to real train rides on a historic train in the area – see the website for times. Inside are exhibits and artifacts on the gold rush and later. The museum has a bookstore, and a research room if you think you might have had family living in the area.

an old miners pickaxe at a museum in northern california

El Dorado County Historical Society’s Fountain

20 minutes from the Inn

The “biggest little museum in the West,” the Fountain-Tallman Museum is in the oldest building on Main Street Placerville CA, #524. This two-story building has exhibits of the California Gold Rush of 1848, from buttons and catalogs of 1895 to a telephone switchboard from 1926. Gold rush exhibits include the Miwok and Chinese workers, and the bible of Snowshoe Thompson who brought the mail no matter what. See the website for more details including open hours and more.

a picnic basket at gold bug park near Eden Vale Inn

Gold Bug Park and Hattie Museum

22 minutes from the Inn

In Placerville, the Gold Bug Mine is a real mine that you can explore on self-led tours using headsets. You can also pan for gold there. The two-story Hattie Museum and Interpretive Center have gold rush history exhibits and a gift store. It’s all on 61 acres that have several easy walking trails and picnic areas, including a lovely spot by a stream. Make sure to see the Joshua Hendy Stamp Mill that recreates the large stamp mills used to crush ore. See the Gold Bug Park website for hours and admission.

Fireplace with glasses of wine in Placerville

Stay in Luxurious Accommodations

Take a relaxing getaway at our Northern California bed and breakfast, the perfect home base for all sorts of area activities. Comfy accommodations and everything you need for a fantastic stay are all right here along with first-rate amenities and the beautiful property with a pond, firepit, and more! Sleep on cozy king and queen beds, soak in your own private outdoor jetted tub and even prepare your own meals at our stocked outdoor kitchen area. Enjoy a fresh-cooked three-course breakfast each morning from a rotating seasonal menu that proudly features produce, eggs, and meats sustainably sourced from local farms.

We’re always happy to help our guests learn more about area attractions. See our specials at Eden Vale Inn – or feel free to call us at (530) 621-0901.

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