Columbia State Historic Park

Gold Country

The so-called ‘Gem of the Southern Mines’ is like a miniature Gold Rush Disneyland, but with more authenticity and heart. Four blocks of town have been preserved, where volunteers perambulate in 19th-century dress and demonstrate gold panning. The blacksmith’s shop, theater, hotels and saloon are all carefully framed windows into California’s past. The yesteryear illusion of Main St is shaken only a bit by fudge shops and the occasional banjo-picker or play-acting forty-niner whose cell phone rings.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Gold Country attractions

1. Columbia Museum

0.03 MILES

Looking rather like dinosaur bones, limestone and granite boulders are noticeable around town. These were washed out of the surrounding hills by hydraulic…

2. Tuolumne County Museum


In the former 1857 Tuolumne County Jail, you'll find this great little museum with a fortune’s worth of gold on display in the form of nuggets and gold…

3. Railtown 1897 State Historic Park

5.53 MILES

Five blocks east of Jamestown’s Main St, this 26-acre collection of trains and railroad equipment is the photogenic sister to Sacramento's rail museum. It…

4. Ironstone Vineyards

6.93 MILES

The unusually family-friendly atmosphere makes the wine feel secondary at Ironstone. There’s a natural spring waterfall, a mechanical pipe organ, frequent…

5. Newsome-Harlow

7.84 MILES

This family run winery pours the juicy red varietals that made them famous in their lively tasting lounge. At times, the place feels like the community…

6. Tanner

7.91 MILES

In downtown Murphys, start wine tasting at Tanner, whose family was the first to plant grapes and pay an alcohol tax in Calaveras County during the 1860s.

7. Twisted Oak

7.93 MILES

Don't miss the Rhône red blend at Twisted Oak's tasting room in downtown Murphys.

8. Murphys Old Timers Museum

7.95 MILES

The name is a good hint that this place approaches history with a humorous touch. Housed in an 1856 building, it has an inscrutable tintype of the outlaw…