Living history in an old-school miner’s town.
Gold Rush in Historic Columbia, CA
Credit: © Daniel Ryan

In the Sierra Nevada foothills, Columbia provides a priceless history lesson. Founded in 1850 by a small group of prospectors, the town stands as one of the most well preserved California miner’s camps. Once a booming city, there are now just a couple of thousand residents, which, in combination with quaint storefronts, contributes to the back-in-time appeal.

Columbia State Historic Park

First founded by gold miners in 1850, Columbia is now the Columbia State Historic Park, with everything from hotels to restaurants to schools (it’s still a real town). Sure, it’s touristy, but panning for gold at the Hidden Treasure mine is a thrill.

Columbia Kate's

Little House on the Prairie fans will adore this teahouse, where along with salads and sandwiches you’ll find homemade chicken pot pie.

1859 Historic National Hotel

Rooms at the 1859 hotel in Jamestown, 10 miles south, off Highway 108, have brass beds and antique dressers.