- Tour the many historic buildings in Columbia State Park in California
- Only one hour and 40 minutes from Yosemite National Park
- See some California history at the Columbia Museum
- Ride a 100-year-old stagecoach
- Pan for gold in a California stream
- See where scenes of the movie High Noon were shot
Columbia State Park, not a far drive from Yosemite National Park, is worth a visit when you are touring the Sierra Nevada Mountain region. Here you can see a well-preserved gold rush town as it existed in those bustling days of history. It’s a real town, with real businesses, but also includes people performing reenactments of what life was like during the California Gold Rush.
Location & Information
Columbia State Park CA is 3 miles north of Sonora, off California Highway 49. To get there from Yosemite, take Highway 140 out of the park, turning right when you reach Highway 49. It’s about a one-hour and 40-minute drive.
Columbia State Historic Park, being a real town, is always open. Most of the businesses in town are closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
11255 Jackson St.
Columbia, CA 95310
Columbia California State Park is where the whole family can enjoy some interesting activities.
- Visiting the Columbia Museum
The Columbia Museum, also known as the Cavalier Museum, contains fascinating bits of history, such as photographs, old books and coins and other artifacts of the city’s past. The museum is located in the brick Knapp building in downtown Columbia.
- Riding a Real Stagecoach
Take the family on a ride in a 100-year-old stagecoach. This is an exciting way to have an authentic Old West experience. If over 8 years of age, you can even ride “shotgun” on top of the coach.
- Pan for Gold
There’s nothing quite as exciting as finding gold in a California stream. Try your hand at gold panning while visiting the park. When there is a heavy runoff, your chances are even better than usual for finding some gold nuggets. There are places nearby to rent a pan, and even to take lessons.
Get a free tour of the town daily in summer months and on weekends the rest of the year. The informative guides will fill you in on the history of the area as you go.
There are many exciting events in town throughout the year. At Gold Rush Days on the second Saturday of each month you will find all sorts of exhibits and interactive activities. In June you will have fun stepping back in time to a gold rush tent town from the mid-1800s. At Christmas time, you can enjoy a Miner’s Christmas, with storytelling, arts and crafts and a chance to join the miners while they roast chestnuts over an open fire.
Columbia State Park California used to be known as the “Gem of Southern Mines,” with an output of more than one-half billion dollars in gold.
The park has often been used as a location to shoot television and movie scenes, including the movie High Noon, shot in 1952 on Main Street and in front of the firehouse.