INDIAN GRINDING ROCK STATE HISTORIC PARK
Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park is located in the Sierra Nevada foothills eight miles east of Jackson. The park nestles in a little valley 2,400 feet above sea level with open meadows and large valley oaks that once provided the native Americans of this area with an ample supply of acorns. The park was created in 1968 and preserves a great outcropping of marbleized limestone with some 1,185 mortar holes -- the largest collection of bedrock mortars in North America.
The park is small, but offers many opportunities to observe wildlife. The mixture of oak woodlands and mixed pine forest provides a wide variety of habitats, just as it did in previous centuries when the Miwok lived here in the old way.
Birdlife varies depending on the season, but many species are seen year round, including turkey vultures, scrub and Steller?s jays, California quail, acorn and hairy woodpeckers, northern flickers, hermit thrushes, wild turkeys (non-native), and California thrashers. In summer, the bright colors of the western tanager, northern oriole, calliope and Anna?s hummingbirds can be seen in the woods around the meadow. A bird list is available at the museum.
Animal life in and around the park includes deer, fox, gray and California ground squirrels, black-tailed jackrabbits, bobcats, bats, and occasionally a mountain lion or black bear. The legendary coyote ? the trickster of Miwok legend ? can be heard singing on quiet summer nights.
Located in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California, Indian Grinding Rock was established as a state historic park in 1968. The site preserves an outcrop of marbleized limestone with over 1,000 mortar holes-the largest collection of bedrock mortars anywhere in North America-indicating its historical significance for Native American tribes.
The area is believed to have been occupied by various indigenous groups for thousands of years and served primarily as a location where acorns were ground into meal-a staple food source-for these communities.
In addition to preserving this important archaeological feature, the park also houses Chaw'se Regional Indian Museum which opened on May 31st,1976 showcasing artifacts from local tribes and providing insight into their culture and history.
Furthermore,the reconstructed Miwok village including bark houses (U'macha') within the premises provides visitors with further understanding about traditional living practices among native inhabitants prior to European contact.
Today it continues serving not only as an educational resource but also hosts annual events such as Big Time festival celebrating tribal customs,culture,and traditions thereby keeping alive rich heritage associated with this unique landmark.
The parks has 23 campsites with paved parking (trailers and motor homes up to 27 feet), tables, food lockers, fire rings, piped water, restrooms with showers and flush toilets. Wood gathering is not allowed but firewood may be brought in or purchased at the park. Campsites are available on a first-come, first served basis. The park is open for camping all year but is subject to closure during Special Events or times of heavy snowfall.