Gold Rush Country, CA
Going for the Gold
Gold Panning, copyright George
Chamber of Commerce
You came for gold. You got it. At Matelot Gulch Mine Supply Store in Columbia State Historic Park, you'll go home with a few flakes -- guaranteed! That's because the shopkeepers plant gold and gems inside their panning troughs. Bring your own gold pan or rent one for the day. Instructors will show you how it's done. This is a great activity for kids in summer, because they get to play in water. You'll take home your loot in a small plastic tube.
If your little gold seekers want more, take them to Jimtown 1849 Gold Mining Camp in nearby Jamestown. They can pan for ore by hand or hydraulic sluicer at this replica mining camp. Best yet: They get to keep all the glittering metal they find. Jimtown has been the location for more than 200 television shows and films, including, Little House on the Prairie, and Back to the Future III.
Watch the pros prospect for gold on a 1-1/2 hour Hidden Treasure Gold Mine Tour, also in Columbia. Vans transport you 4.5 miles outside the park, to a privately operated mine, which has been producing gold since 1878. You'll learn that when tourists aren't poking around, miners use dynamite and jackhammers to expose the shiny ore.
Stage Coach, copyright Columbia State Historic park