Trip Planner:   USA  /  California  /  Grass Valley  /  Nature  /  Empire Mine State Historic Park
Empire Mine State Historic Park, Grass Valley
(4.8/5 based on 360+ reviews on the web)
Empire Mine State Historic Park is a state-protected mine and park in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Grass Valley, California, USA. The Empire Mine is on the National Register of Historic Places, a federal Historic District, and a California Historical Landmark. Since 1975 California State Parks has administered and maintained the mine as a historic site. The Empire Mine is "one of the oldest, largest, deepest, longest and richest gold mines in California." Between 1850 and its closure in 1956, the Empire Mine produced 5.8 million ounces of gold, extracted from 367mi of underground passages.HistoryIn Oct. 1850, George McKnight discovered gold in a quartz outcrop (ledge) called the Ophir Vein, but sold the claim in 1851 to Woodbury, Parks and Co., who sold it in 1852 to John P. Rush and the Empire Quartz Hill Co. The Empire Mining Co. was incorporated in 1854, after John Rush was bought out. As word spread that hard rock gold had been found in California, miners from the tin and copper mines of Cornwall, England, arrived to share their experience and expertise in hard rock mining. Particularly important was the Cornish contribution of the Cornish engine, operated on steam, which emptied the depths of the mine of its constant water seepage at a rate of 18,000 gallons per day. This enabled increased productivity and expansion underground. Starting in 1895, Lester Allan Pelton's water wheel provided electric power for the mine and stamp mill. The Cornish provided the bulk of the labor force from the late 1870s until the mine’s closure eighty years later.
By using our Grass Valley trip itinerary planner, you can arrange your visit to Empire Mine State Historic Park and other attractions in Grass Valley.
Source
Create a full Grass Valley itinerary
map

Plan your trip to Grass Valley

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Plans in Grass Valley by other users

2 days in Grass Valley BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: October, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 10 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, teens, kids, popular PREFERENCES: August, teens, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 18 days in Canada & United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 11 days in Chattanooga, Sioux Falls & Grass Valley BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, kids, popular PREFERENCES: July, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 17 days in United States BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA April, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 31 days in United States BY A USER FROM UGANDA April, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 36 days in United States BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA September, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: September, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 29 days in California BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 21 days in California BY A USER FROM PORTUGAL August, teens, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, shopping, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: August, teens, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 31 days in Western US BY A USER FROM UNITED ARAB EMIRATES May, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: May, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 29 days in United States BY A USER FROM KUWAIT June, culture, outdoors, museums, hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 47 days in Western US BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA August, kids, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, kids, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium
View more plans
Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • So, I will be honest and tell you since I live here in Grass Valley I've been to the park loads of times and all over it, but I've never taken the tour (I even have clients who are docents, I AM asham...  more »
  • A stunning park that actually encompasses the old mine buildings and related equipment which is the grim part of the self guided tour (guided tours also available of both the mine and the owner's hous...  more »
  • Who knew this was the #1 producing gold mine in the U.S. for many years.....with each new advance in technology, the mine just kept producing. Very educational whether self-guided or with a docent led...  more »
Google
  • This is a wonderful park. There are gardens, old houses, heritage roses, fountains and a while area for mining. You can also go down into a part of the mine which is scary and and cause claustrophobia. Love to go, can take anyone from kids to Grandma's.
  • Lovely grounds around the main house. Nice history. Good hiking trails. Small gift shop has a few nice options for rock hounds, including already cracked geodes.
  • Very well worth the time. The mine shaft and metalsmithing stations are good. The ground is quite beautiful. Quite a few machinery from gold mining days. Just a note that the Bourn family roleplay tour of the house is 1 hour long after a 15? min presentation. It's not suitable for younger children as it is mostly talk, very little walking, and not much of visual interest to them. It's a decent way for adults to experience life in 1905 though.
  • Empire Mine is one of the most beautiful and well kept state parks. The historic buildings have been preserved and you can even go into the mine itself.
  • Amazing place to visit! I've been there twice this year! The history, buildings, fountains, trees, and historic buildings are so much fun to explore! I've been a total of three times now and I'll go back. It's my favorite place to take visiting family/friends.