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“History and beauty”

Empire Mine State Historic Park
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: The remains of one of the West's most lucrative gold mines have been preserved as a historic park.
Nevada City, California
Level Contributor
44 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“History and beauty”
Reviewed January 13, 2013

This is a gorgeous park, with lots of mining history, wonderful volunteers that keep up the gardens and recreate history, and a great old "cottage". Walking trails inside the fee area; riding, hiking and biking trails outside the fee area.

Visited January 2013
Thank Joan D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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398 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
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English first
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Gold Rush History”
Reviewed November 25, 2012

Wonderful that this historic gold mine is so well preserved and staffed. Kids and adults alike will enjoy seeing what was the most productive mine in California Gold Rush counrty. A thoughtful organization of volunteers re-create the good old days.

Visited November 2012
Thank Arthur G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grass Valley, California
Level Contributor
84 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Empire Mine - Gold Mine picnic and walk”
Reviewed November 24, 2012

The Empire Mine is one of the best attractions in Grass Valley and the Gold Country. One of the most prolific American gold mines operating well into the 20th century, the equipment, structures and grounds have been preserved to provide a facinating window into the last century. For a nominal fee you can tour the grounds and view the mine ( go down into the main shaft up to 100 feet), examine interesting equipment and even a film that depicts mining operation in it's heyday. It's all there from the powerhouse to the smelter. On specific holidays, docents are present in historic costumes to provide color and information about this historic site and era. The area also has well maintained trails for easy wooded walks and picnic grounds for no charge.

Visited September 2012
Thank Rohdan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sacramento, California
Level Contributor
39 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Reaching Back Into California Gold History”
Reviewed November 21, 2012

My boyfriend and I had intended to explore art galleries in the foothill towns of Grass Valley and Nevada City, California, but I noticed an Empire Mine State Park on Google Maps and we decided to explore the mine before touring the galleries. Little did we know how interesting Empire Mine would be! We ended up spending the whole day there. Why? There's-Gold-in-Them-Thar-Hills History, COLOR, walking trails, and mystery.

The Visitor's Center is the best place to start. There are trinkets to be purchased and 3-D model of the mines themselves, and lots of diaramas and pictures of life back in the 1850s through 1956 when the mine was officially closed. For a $7 entry fee, you can get a map of the property, participate in tours of the cottage and gold mine itself, and be awed by the beautiful gardens and grounds. Go during the autumn months and you become mesmerized by the fall colors.

As the Mine's official website says: "The Empire Mine is the site of the oldest, largest, and richest gold mine in California. From 1850 to its closing in 1956, it produced 5.8 million ounces of gold.This 5.8 million ounces of gold would fill a box 7 feet on each side. It is estimated that this represented only 20% of the available gold...80% remains. The Park contains many of the original mine buildings, the owners cottage and the restored gardens and grounds as well as the entrance to 367 miles (the equivalent of a round trip from Grass Valley to San Jose) of abandoned and flooded shafts and tunnels. The park consists of 845 acres of forested back country and 12 miles of trails for hikers, bikers and horseback riders."

We first went of the Cottage Tour where we got to see how the Mine Boss lived with his family, as well as see many other buildings on the site. One cannot describe the majesty of the gardens that surround the cottage. This is a photographer's paradise, and many people use the site for weddings. In fact, we came back the following week with a professional camera to take more pictures of the surroundings.

But until you go into the blackness of the mine and hear the human stories of the miners who worked deep in the bowels of the Earth, hear the sound of the train carts in the mine shaft, and feel the cold those miners endured every working day of their lives, you cannot imagine how strong and brave those miners were. A goosebump experience to be sure!

Visited November 2012
Thank KanikaAfricanArt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grass Valley, California
Level Contributor
98 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Beautiful Park”
Reviewed November 5, 2012

We always bring family here and they are always in awe of how beautful the grounds are. The mansion is stunning and the gardens are so lovely any time of the year. My hubby and I also walk the trails outside the park on a weekly basis, there is no charge to walk the trails and there are a lot of historical places on the walk. Well worth a visit.

Visited November 2012
Thank Aileen H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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