We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

panning for gold?

los angeles
Level Contributor
10 posts
1 review
Save Topic
panning for gold?

Hi,

My daughter read about Angel's Camp and Gold Country in school this year and we plan to take a weekend drive up in the beginning of August. Can anyone tell me where to go do a touristy/educational "panning for gold" thing for an 8 and 10 year old?

Thanks!

Pauline

No. California
4 posts
1 review
Save Reply
1. Re: panning for gold?

I would suggest Columbia State Park, about 1/2 hour drive from Angels Camp in Columbia (near Sonora). It is a state historic park with preserved buildings from the gold rush era. There is a old gold mine you can tour and they also do gold panning. We live nearby, and when my kids were younger they loved going there - there's alot to see and do (ride a stagecoach - complete with "armed robbers!, go horseback riding, watch a blacksmith in action, etc.) There is also an old-fashioned ice cream parlor and candy shop that the kids will love, and a great old historic theatre, the Fallon House, run by Sierra Repertory Theatre. This summer they are doing the musical "Paint Your Wagon," all about the California Gold Rush. How perfect is that!

Mentioned in this post
Sonora
Sonora
California
San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
Level Contributor
15,973 posts
50 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: panning for gold?

I love Columbia! I think it's an ideal place to make history come to life for kids--not too remote, no roughing it unless everyone wants to, and small, interesting doses of living history that don't wear the kids out.

This is on the way to Yosemite, if you had thoughts about going there (a bit late now to look for accommodations, however). If you're not in a big rush, I'd suggest taking a scenic route; one of them is Hwy 140 from Merced and then up Hwy 49, the "Mother Lode Highway."

The town of Sonora that Hilaron mentioned is one of the major Mother Lode communities. It can get busy and congested on weekends, but it has many fun shops and restaurants. Also see nearby smaller towns, such as Angels Camp (the Mark Twain "frog" town), Murphys (lots of shops and restaurants), and Chinese Camp (almost deserted now, but many old buildings and remainders of the Chinese miners who settled it). Every town has a historic cemetery, and these can be fascinating for kids.

The nearby town of Jamestown has a historic railroad that your family might enjoy.

http://www.csrmf.org/railtown/

Sonora has the most lodgings, but I love staying right in Columbia. There are two historic hotels, the Fallon House and the Columbia Hotel. The Columbia is on Main Street with a balcony overlooking all the action. If your budget is a little tighter (or you'd like a pool), the Columbia Inn is across the road from the state park entrance and just a stroll away. (Cars stay outside the historic part of town, which helps maintain the historic atmosphere). Be sure to go up the hill to the historic school and show your kids the "facilities." The cemetery is next to the school.

One of the little pleasures I enjoy is walking out in the town at night after everything closes, and imagining what it was like 150 years ago when horse thieves, madams, & stagecoach robbers hung out on the streets! Today it is perfectly safe to walk around anytime and is is altogether a great experience for families.

Mentioned in this post
Merced
Merced
California
Sonora
Sonora
California
Murphys
Murphys
California
Jamestown
Jamestown
California
Newbury Park...
Level Contributor
3,359 posts
43 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: panning for gold?

If you have half a day - you might want to consider a trip with California Gold and Joshua Vick. http://www.goldfun.com/ You go to the river and actual dig out from the creek side and sluice in the river as well as learn to pan properly. You keep everything you find. My kids loved doing it.

Also - more fun things to do in the area...

tripadvisor.com/GoListDetail-i12008-Gold_Cou…

los angeles
Level Contributor
10 posts
1 review
Save Reply
4. Re: panning for gold?

Thank you, these are great suggestions! I wish we could stay longer. Next summer we will plan a trip to Yosemite and see more along the way.

Pauline

Groveland
4 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: panning for gold?

In that area, both Jamestown and Columbia have gold panning opportunities for tourists . It's panning in a wooden tub sort of thing with materials provided by the operator. Jamestown's is located on the main street in front of their prospecting store.

Not sure about Angels Camp, but they have a great rock /gem store in both Angels Camp and Murphy's now and I'm sure they could guide you.

Have fun

Steve

Mentioned in this post
Jamestown
Jamestown
California
6. Re: panning for gold?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 04 September 2009, 10:20
Get answers to your questions about Angels Camp