Coloma – Lotus

Lotus is a mecca for outdoor lovers. Here the South Fork of the American River is normally wide and swift, and during the day, it hosts an endless and colorful stream of rafts, canoes, and daredevils in tubes.

But you don’t have to be into water sports to succumb to Lotus’s charm. The town also draws an influx of campers, hikers, and horseback riders, who love swapping details about that day's adventure.

Along the flow of the river lies Henningsen-Lotus Park, a beautifully maintained ground for picnics and softball games, plus its own stretch of lovely beach, and walking trail, a loop of nearly half a mile.

Throngs of painters and photographers are also drawn here to capture spectacular views, and others who are following the trail of California’s historic Gold Rush. This notably includes many sites in the community of Coloma, Lotus's next-door neighbor, where gold was first discovered, and the event is commemorated by Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. The town offers typical river sports, plus gold panning, hiking, and pitching a tent in one of three campgrounds. Try the loop trail on the ridge above Coloma for a wonderful and different perspective of the Coloma Valley.

Though these popular towns maintain their country-like feel, they offer many pleasant places to lodge and dine. You'll find a small grocery store in Coloma, as well as The Argonaut; an ice cream and light fare venue. Lotus boasts a real business district with several restaurants and a bakery, some personal services, and a gas station. And because everyone who visits comes for adventures and laughter, you may feel you're living in a permanent vacation.

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