Description - For more than 100 years, Empire Mine in Grass Valley was one of the largest, deepest, longest operating and richest gold mines around - producing nearly six million ounces of gold.
Copyright: California State Parks
Mining facilities at Empire Mine SHP
- Empire Mine State Historic Park is the site of one of the oldest, largest, deepest, longest and richest gold mines in California. The park is in Grass Valley at 10791 East Empire Street. In existence for more than 100 years, the mine produced 5.6 million ounces of gold before it closed in 1956. (5.6 million ounces of gold is equivalent to a box seven feet long, seven feet high, and seven feet deep filled with gold.) The park contains many of the mine's buildings, the owner's home and restored gardens, as well as the entrance to 367 miles (the distance, as the crow flies, from Grass Valley to Magic Mountain) of abandoned and flooded mine shafts. The park consists of 805 acres, including forested backcountry and eight miles of trails including easy hikes (for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding) - in the park.
The Secret Room:
To keep track of the mine's 367 underground workings, a place called "The Secret Room" (named for its blacked-out windows) was built. In it, the entire room was filled with a scale model of the mine's below the surface workings. Few people knew the room existed while the mine was in operation. Today, visitors to the park can see it in the Visitor Center. The model represents five square miles of underground workings. When the visitors go down the actual shaft in the park, they have journeyed only "one inch" on the model. Anything past "two inches" on the model is underwater in t
Recreation - There are eight miles of trails in the park, as well as, viewing all of the historic sites. Guided tours and audio-visual presentations are offered throughout the day at various times.
Climate - Gold County generally experiences warm, dry summers and cold, wet winters. Weather can change rapidly during all seasons of the year. Elevation plays a major role in temperature and precipitation. This precipitation falls mainly from October through April. At higher elevations, it comes mostly in the form of snow. Clouds can build up during the summer to produce thunderstorm activity. It is wise to pack for any season with clothing that can be "layered", ready to peel off or add on as the thermometer dictates. Always include some kind of rain gear.
Drive 24-miles north of Auburn on Highway 49 to Empire Street exit in Grass Valley. The park is located in Grass Valley at 10791 East Empire Street.