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A trip back in time to the days of the Gold Rush of 1849 await you and your students on a Students on Tour Coloma - Gold Country Education Program.

Almost all Students on Tour Education Programs to Coloma – Gold Country, will typically include:

  • Gold Discovery Museum in Coloma

  • Sutter Mill and the gold discovery site

  • Hike to Marshall's Monument and cabin

  • Panning for gold in the American River

Many, with more time, may include:

  • Time with a Gold Rush character

  • Visits to surrounding mines

  • Overnight camping in Coloma Valley along the American River


In Coloma Valley, the spring and fall temperatures have daytime high temperatures ranging from 60°F - 80°F. Spring flowers and fall foliage are spectacular. There is some rainfall in spring, but usually not as much as in the winter.

Summers are hot. Daytime temperatures are typically around 90°F and can often spike to over 100°F. Little rain falls in the Coloma Valley between June and October.



The name Coloma comes from the native Nisenan Indian name for the valley Cullumah, meaning "beautiful." And it is beautiful. Coloma is nestled in a valley along the western shore of the South Fork of the American River in the Sierra Nevada foothills about 60 miles northeast of Sacramento.


  • Standing in the cold water of the American River panning for gold.

  • Walking to the spot in the tailrace of Sutter's Mill where gold was first discovered and imagining how it would change the world.

  • Hiking up to Marshall's Monument and seeing an incredible view of Coloma Valley.

  • Walking across the old steel bridge built in the 1930's that spans the American River. It is on the site of the original bridge built in 1849 - the first bridge built west of the Mississippi River.

Get Prepared


The Gold Rush, PBS, 1998 (DVD and VHS)

The Gold Rush is a one-hour historical documentary about the great 19th-century quest for gold in frontier California. Narrated by John Lithgow, the program intertwines historic photos with current

footage of California gold country. Interspersed throughout are passages from 49'er diaries and interviews with historians.


By the Great Horn Spoon! by Sid Fleischman, 1963. A twelve-year old boy named Jack, who has lived with his Aunt Arabella since his parents died, heads to California to search for gold after Aunt Arabella loses all her money. He is accompanied by Aunt Arabella's butler Praiseworthy.


Listen to the short story, The Celebrated Jumping From of Calaveras County, written by Mark Twain in 1867.


Forty-niner Flapjacks!


This is a very old recipe from the California Gold Rush days. These flapjacks were very popular in the gold camps. 


2 cups sour milk (regular milk can be used) 

1 cup cornmeal 

2 tablespoons flour 

1 egg 

1/2 teaspoon salt 

1 teaspoon baking soda 

Water as needed 


  1. Mix the milk, cornmeal, flour and egg together. 

  2. Add the baking soda and salt, mix. Add a little water if needed (if it looks too dry). 

  3. Drop dough onto a greased skillet (medium heat). 

  4. When bubbles appear and the bottom of the flapjacks are browned, turn and cook until the other side is brown. 


On top of these flapjacks they served syrup, honey, jam or whatever was available.


It usually gets warm in Coloma with a lot of hiking around. Make sure to drink plenty of water!




  • Gold was discovered in Coloma on January 24, 1848.  By 1850, over 300,000 gold seekers had flooded the area.

  • Most miners made about $10-15 a day. However, a pound of beef cost about $10, butter was $20 a pound, eggs were $3 each, and a shovel was around $40!

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