We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Not my first stop for first time visitors to the gold country”

Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park
California City, California
Level Contributor
105 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 133 helpful votes
“Not my first stop for first time visitors to the gold country”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 7, 2013

Malakoff Diggins was the trigger for the nation’s first major environmental lawsuit that ended hydraulic mining in the Sierra Nevada and pitted strong economic interest against each other. The Diggins are located about 12 miles outside of Nevada City in an isolated area that requires travelers to navigate narrow country roads to reach the park. The site has the old buildings of the town of Humbug (aka New Bloomfield). Some of the buildings have been preserved and others outside the main town area are becoming dilapidated. There is a little museum that has some items I have never seen displayed before in other area museums, a few Chinese laborer items and a mortician’s table. My favorite building was the General Store that has shelves stocked with items. The buildings in town are not open year round so you might want to call ahead to see when they will have docents staffing them (likely warm months of the year). The main part of the park is the “pit” where the hydraulic mining was done. You will have to travel about ½ mile outside of the town to reach parking for the trailheads for the Diggings loop trail that circles the pit. The loop trail starts on the south side of the pit in tailings piles and then descends into the bottom of the pit, crosses to the far side to where you are walking below the exposed bluffs down to the lake and back around. The bottom of the pit is very damp in the spring and you will find little streams running along the entire length of the trail. The trail is marked with posts so you can see which direction you need to head but there were places where it was hard to pick the right path or where there was enough water that you had to go off the trail. I doubt the water issue is a problem in midsummer or fall. I found the bottom of the pit to be quite beautiful in the late afternoon light. The bluffs are striking in color with shades of gold and umber. You get the feeling like you are in a little Grand Canyon. I also found the rocks to be very interesting. The vast majority were quartz that had been worn by the ancient rivers into stones that will fit in your hand but I also found volcanic rocks that were porous and reddish in color not black like you see in Hawaii. There were dark black stones, grey stones with dots, stones that were bluish. I honestly wish I had a geology guide with me to have read about the different types of rock and where they come from . Malakoff is a very interesting place. They have many other trails that you can hike or mountain bike that are not in the pit. I live in the Sacramento area and Malakoff would not be where I would take first time visitors to the Gold Country. If you do decide that this is where you want to be, take a picnic with you. There are no restaurants or markets nearby but they do have some nice areas with picnic tables.

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank SAS8721
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

66 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    35
    23
    7
    1
    0
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Nevada City, California
Level Contributor
39 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Fun place to visit”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 15, 2013

Malakoff Diggins has a cute historic gold rush town, rebuilt mostly by volunteers. There are lots of nice hiking trails; the most famous taking you into the hydraulic mining area.

Helpful?
1 Thank Joan D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grass Valley, California
Level Contributor
113 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Great hiking”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 20, 2012

Love this place, so interesting and wonderful hiking. Foresty runs the old gold mine and their presentations and walking tours are so interesting. You can even book nights in this ghost town.

Visited November 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank bobalou19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
13 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Fascinating, Beautiful, and a bit Disturbing”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 31, 2012

My husband wanted to visit Malakoff Diggins to see the remnants of hydraulic excavation. I wanted to see the site that provoked our nation's first environmental legislation. Although the museum in North Bloomfield was closed, it was still a nice drive, and our hike around the Diggins loop was interesting, beautiful and yes, somewhat disturbing. The starkness of the eroded cliffs repeatedly had us marveling at the destructiveness of the hydraulic process, but this was balanced somewhat by nature's struggle to recover. We especially enjoyed the amazing range of colors in the rocks and clay scattered at the base of the cliffs. Be sure to check out the entrance to Hiller Tunnel.

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank teedle57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Yuba City, California
Level Contributor
51 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Adult Interesting”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 30, 2012

Malakoff Diggins was very enjoyable. More for adult historians. Younger children to teenagers may find quite boring.

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank marjorie g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park also viewed

 

Been to Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing