Nature July 06, 2019
This Underrated State Park In Northern California Is Home To A Mystifying Geologic Wonder
Northern California is a region of the state that’s full of history and heritage, and getting to know our past is one of the best parts of living here. Become familiar with a little-known piece of our state’s history when you visit this underrated state park in the Sierra Nevada foothills. This stunning park tells the story of our state’s very first residents and it’s home to a mystifying geologic wonder that will leave you in awe. It makes for a fascinating destination for a family outing, so keep reading to learn more about it!
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
It seems like no matter how long you've lived in Northern California, there's always something new to learn about our region of the state. Get to know an especially fascinating part of our history when you stop by Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park near the town of Jackson.
Nestled away in the foothills, the park is absolutely beautiful. Here you'll enjoy views of large open meadows and towering valley oak trees. It's simply a gorgeous place to do some exploring.
However, there's much more to this destination than the scenic beauty. The state historic park is most notable for capturing the story of the Native Americans that frequented this area so long ago.
The first thing you'll notice about the park is the strange geologic wonder that it contains. A large outcropping of limestone with hundreds of mortar holes is a prominent feature of the park. In fact, it's considered the largest collection of bedrock mortars in North America.
This area and its large rock outcropping was especially significant for the Miwok peoples. The native name for this site is 'Chaw'se", which is translated to "grinding rock". The Miwok would grind acorns and other seeds into meal on this rock, slowly creating the circular depressions which you see to this day.
Fascinatingly enough, the mortar holes are decorated with an array of petroglyphs in the shape of circles, animals, lines, and more. The petroglyphs are believed to be up to 2,000-years-old, and are one of the few known existences of mortar holes intentionally decorated with carvings.
The park, originally established in 1962, has added a lot to this incredible site. It contains a museum which hosts a large variety of exhibits and Sierra Nevada Indian artifacts. There's even a reconstructed Miwok village, complete with a ceremonial roundhouse.
The history that can be found at Indian Grinding Rock State Park is something that every Northern Californian should see for themselves. Without it, our region simply wouldn't be the amazing place it is today! For more information about this one-of-a-kind park, you can visit the State Park website
The park is open from sunrise to sunset every day, and the museum is open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. every day. Address: 14881 Pine Grove Volcano Rd, Pine Grove, CA 95665.
What do you think? Did you know about this historic park and the geologic wonder hiding here? For more fascinating historical destinations, check out this list of
8 Fascinating Archaeologic Sites In Northern California That Will Surprise You.