Monroe Ridge – Marshall Monument Trail Loop

Auburn, California

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Climb through oak woodlands to viewpoints above the snaking South Fork American River. Then tour a historic gold rush town, including the site where the precious metal was discovered in 1848. Yes, you can still pan for gold along the South Fork American River. But that’s not the only kind of wealth that can be gleaned from these hills. The canyon walls hovering over Sutter’s Mill offer spectacular views up and down the river valley, and the state park that commemorates the discovery of gold is a treasure chest of historic sites and information. The story is familiar to most Californians, but I’ll recap just in case: In 1848 James Marshall, who ran a Coloma lumber mill in partnership with John Sutter, was checking the mill’s tailrace and discovered gold flakes in the detritus that had backed up there. One of the largest gold rushes in history followed, with thousands of fortune seekers racing to the Sierra from all over the world. The rush itself was short-lived, but in its aftermath California, acquired from Mexico in the same year Marshall made his discovery, became America’s “Golden State.”
Best Easy Day Hikes: Sacramento

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Best Easy Day Hikes: Sacramento

by Tracy Salcedo-Chourre (Falcon Guides)

Climb through oak woodlands to viewpoints above the snaking South Fork American River. Then tour a historic gold rush town, including the site where the precious metal was discovered in 1848. Yes, you can still pan for gold along the South Fork American River. But that’s not the only kind of wealth that can be gleaned from these hills. The canyon walls hovering over Sutter’s Mill offer spectacular views up and down the river valley, and the state park that commemorates the discovery of gold is a treasure chest of historic sites and information. The story is familiar to most Californians, but I’ll recap just in case: In 1848 James Marshall, who ran a Coloma lumber mill in partnership with John Sutter, was checking the mill’s tailrace and discovered gold flakes in the detritus that had backed up there. One of the largest gold rushes in history followed, with thousands of fortune seekers racing to the Sierra from all over the world. The rush itself was short-lived, but in its aftermath California, acquired from Mexico in the same year Marshall made his discovery, became America’s “Golden State.”

©  Tracy Salcedo-Chourre/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Auburn
Distance: 3.8
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Difficult
Duration: 2 hours
Season: Year-round, though winter storms and cold may render the trail inhospitable.
Local Contacts: Gold Discovery Site State park
Local Maps: USGS Coloma
Driving Directions: Directions to Monroe Ridge – Marshall Monument Trail Loop

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May 2018