The small town of Coloma is in El Dorado County, California. It is 38 miles northeast of Sacramento and has a population of just 529. You might wonder what you can possibly do in such a small place, but you will be pleasantly surprised.
Coloma plays an essential role in history as the place that started the California Gold Rush, and it takes great pride in it. Whether you’re looking for exciting outdoor activities, knowledgeable tours, or fun kids’ activities in Coloma, you don’t have to venture too far.
There is plenty to do in the 3.35 square miles that make up Coloma. Don’t believe us? Keep reading to discover the 10 best things to do in Coloma.
10 Best Things to Do in Coloma, CA
Coloma is a spectacular mixture of the old and new, with great landscapes and amazing activities. Whether you are looking for things to do during the week or the weekends, are in Coloma for an event, or are simply on day trips from nearby cities, you have a variety of activities to choose from. Let’s check it out.
1. Go Whitewater Rafting on South Fork American River
You cannot stay in or visit Coloma without going to the South Fork American River. Just two minutes from central Coloma and less than a mile of driving away, the South Fork American River is famous for whitewater rafting.
You can go with friends or join a class at one of the many water sports clubs and tours. They offer Class 2 and 3 rafting trips divided into half-day and full-day trips depending on how much time you have to enjoy the river.
2. Pan for Gold at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park
You don’t have to travel far to find the entrance to the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park since Coloma is built around it. The park is just one minute and 0.1 miles off the main road. You can follow in the footsteps of James Marshall and take a guided tour through the park before joining in on a gold panning lesson.
After the lesson, you get 30 minutes to pan for gold and garnets. Who knows? You might even start the next Gold Rush!
3. Go Wine Tasting at David Girard Vineyards
Just 5 minutes and 2 miles from town, you can find the David Girard Vineyards. They specialize in small batches of Rhone-inspired wines that highlight everything that the area has to offer. They offer table testing or a guided tour through the vineyard grounds with wine tasting in their tasting room.
The vineyards are a popular venue for private events, and you can also book a customized tour. The vineyard is a spectacular place to spend an afternoon and is just a short trip back to town, so you don’t have to worry about crazy cab fares!
4. Catch a Show at the Olde Coloma Theatre
Just off California’s shortest state highway and 0.4 miles from the Coloma main road is the Olde Coloma Theatre. This theater has been running for over 50 years, supports local talent, and holds weekend shows.
They also run educational shows about the Gold Rush to promote the area and spread knowledge about the California Gold Rush.
5. Go Hiking at Monroe Ridge Trail
Given the scenic landscapes of Coloma, you can’t miss the opportunity to go hiking on one of the many trails in the area. The Monroe Ridge trail is less than a mile from Coloma’s town center. You can join the Monument Trail and make a full loop back to the starting point.
It takes about an hour and a half to hike and is moderately easy. They also have picnic tables along the trail if you would like to stop for a picnic or simply enjoy the views.
6. Go Boating, Fishing, and Hiking at Cameron Park Lake
Cameron Park Lake is 22 minutes or 14.8 miles away from Coloma. The man-made lake and recreation area is the perfect place to take the family. They have activities for adults and kids alike, with a walking trail, catch-and-release fishing, a disc golf course, tennis courts, and a playground.
There are also picnic areas, and you can rent gazebos to escape the sun for a little while. It is a fun-filled destination and will allow the whole family to play around in the Californian sun!
7. Taste Local Beers at BarmHaus Brewing Co.
If you head north on Marshall Road for about 8 minutes, which is about 5 miles, you will find BarmHaus Brewing Co. This small brewery is a fun place to visit if you want to enjoy an ice-cold local beer.
They are open from Thursday to Sunday and have a food truck on the property called The Global Kitchen if you want some tasty food.
8. Go Camping at the American River Resort
If you’re looking for the ultimate Coloma adventure, why not try camping at American River Resort? Just off Coloma Heights Road and 0.4 miles from the center of town, the American River Resort offers 30 acres alongside the South Fork American River for you to enjoy camping the way you want to.
You can book a camp or RV site or rent a cabin if you don’t feel like sleeping under the stars. While there, you can enjoy fishing, rafting, river tubing, and hiking. The kids can even enjoy the nearby play areas around the campsites. It’s a great place to enjoy outdoor activities in Coloma.
9. Grab Some Grub on Coloma Road
Coloma’s main road is 0.2 miles long and has various places to stop for a bite. Whether you want to grab a pizza for the kids or have an evening with great wines and beer, Coloma Road is where you will find it.
Some establishments are great for coffee and a light breakfast, others for fresh produce and fresh bread, while others offer live music in the evenings. The best part is that it’s a small town.
Depending on the day and what you want to eat, the locals will direct you to the best place to go. It’s small-town hospitality at its best!
10. Go Hiking and Site-seeing at Henningsen Lotus Park
Henningsen Lotus Park is the place to go if you’re looking for a place to rest for a little while. Just 1.5 miles from Coloma’s main road, this park is the hidden gem of Coloma.
It is 51 acres of beautiful landscapes that have amazing hiking trails and recreational activities. However, it is also a wonderful place to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature in Coloma.
Despite being referred to as a “ghost town,” Coloma is far from deserted. It offers a diverse range of activities that cater to everyone’s interests and are conveniently located just a short drive away.
Whether you prefer a relaxed day in the park, thrilling outdoor adventures, gold panning, or delectable cuisine, Coloma has something for you. Despite its small size, this charming town makes it effortless to travel between spots, ensuring that you make the most of your time in Coloma.
Hey, if you stick around the area make sure to check out these other towns:
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