Penobscot Ranch - A Living Legacy to the Heritage of California

Step back in time and take a walk through early California history when you visit Penobscot Ranch, a landmark in the Sierra Nevada foothills since the days of the California Gold Rush. The history of Penobscot parallels the cultural, economic, and architectural development of the American West, from the days of the Native American Indians, though the arrival of the first Mormon settlers and pioneers of the Gold Rush, and then the evolution of California’s agriculture.

Grinding stones created thousands of years ago can be found on the property from when American Indians lived here. When gold was discovered just a few miles away in 1848, Penobscot served as a way station, livery stable, and stage coach stop for weary travelers coming from all over the world to find gold. Visitors can still see the original Penobscot Public House built in 1850 where 49’ers stayed during the Gold Rush, the large pole barn built in the early 1920s, and even the original chicken coop - all with roots dating back throughout California’s rich history.

Although Penobscot Ranch holds such a distinguished place in California’s history, the 330 acre ranch still remains in active use as a working cattle ranch and private residence. To schedule a visit, call the owners at 650-346-6363. In addition to the historical buildings, this beautiful park-like setting with three large ponds is ideal for photography and artwork, both for individuals and groups, as well as educational opportunities to learn more about the regional history and agriculture.

The ranch is located in Cool on Highway 193. From Auburn or Placerville, take Highway 49 to the town of Cool. Turn onto Highway 193/Georgetown Road at the blinking red light in Cool. The ranch is 4 miles down on the right-hand side.


Latitude: 38.8982141 Longitude: -120.9478855 Elevation: 1649 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Linnea Marenco

Time Period Represented

California Gold Rush (1850s) and Early California Agriculture (1920s)

Hours Open

By Appointment Only

Visitor Fees


Seasons Open

Spring and Summer

Pet Friendly Notes

No dogs, please. We have farm animals.


I have great memories of my dad taking me on a field trip with my class in 3rd grade. We went on a field trip to Penobscot Ranch. Before we went on the field trip though we made candles and lunch pales, and the kids had to dress up for the field trip. We collected eggs and milked a goat. Good Memories.

MacKenzie Smith, 4/15/2012

One of my favorite childhood memories is going on a class field trip to Penobscot Ranch. I came home wide eyed with visions of cowboys, horses, goats, pigs, chickens, and life on a farm. The best part was then spending two weeks at the horse camp that used to run during the summer. The trail rides with my pony "Charlotte" were the best a kid could ask for. And coloring sheep’s wool with cool-aid and drop spindling my own yarn. Thank you Penobscot Ranch, you will always hold a very dear spot in my heart.

Carolyn Winfrey, 2/5/2013

I just learned yesterday that Lon Chaney Jr lived at the ranch for a time. The electric meter has the name and date in which the service was changed to his name.

Bruce, 4/1/2013

I went to camp there in my youth, and not a day goes by I that I don't wish I could go back and relive my days on Penobscot ranch!

Veronica Jaynes, 9/30/2016

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