Empire Mine State Historic Park

UPDATE (May 29, 2020) - As California State Parks begins working with locals on a phased and regionally-driven approach to increase access to state park units where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved, it is important for visitors to continue to practice physical distancing and avoid congregating with people outside their immediate household. Everyone has the responsibility to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Here are some guidelines for people visiting Empire Mine State Historic Park:

What is open now?
The following is open at the park:
  • Empire Mine SHP is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Winter hours of operation are from 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM, from November 1st thru February 28th. The park is closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, & New Years Day.
  • The trails are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. to active recreation with restrictions in place to encourage social distancing.
    Historic core (mineyard, estate, etc) accessible for outdoor self-guided only. Fees required.
  • Very limited parking is now available to the public. Parking is free for the time being.
  • All trail systems are available and active recreation will be permitted.
  • Outdoor restrooms will be available.
  • Historic core (mineyard, estate, etc) accessible for outdoor self-guided only. Fees required.

What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?

Statewide:
  • Campgrounds.
  • High public-use indoor facilities, including museums and visitor centers.
  • Special events and tours continue to be canceled until further notice.

Are there any new visitor guidelines?
  • Stay Local: Stay close to home. Walk or bike into the park. Parking is very limited. Do not take road trips to parks and beaches or to neighboring states.
  • Stay Active: Keep walking, jogging, hiking and biking. Watch for one-way trails.
  • Stay Safer at 6 Feet: Maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more. Gatherings, picnics and parties are not allowed. Visitors will be asked to leave if there are too many people at the park, beach or on trails to allow for the required physical distance.
  • Stay Clean: Be prepared. Bring soap/sanitizer and pack out all trash.
  • Stay Covered: The state now requires you to wear a face covering in most indoor settings and public outdoor spaces when you cannot maintain physical distancing of six feet or more from people outside of your immediate household. For details, please visit CDPH’s guidance here. Visitors should also abide by their local county health orders.

Thank you for your patience and continued support of California State Parks as we work to limit your risk for exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors. For more information, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.

Phone Number

(530) 273-8522

Park Hours

Park is open daily from 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM.

Winter hours of operation are from 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM, from November 1st thru February 28th.

The park is closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, & New Years Day.

Dogs Allowed?

Yes
Dogs allowed on roads and trails, within the Empire Mine State Historic Park Visitor Center, as well as the grounds within the historic zone of the park. Except for service animals, dogs not allowed inside historic buildings or in mine shafts.

Driving Directions to Empire Mine SHP

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.

Online reservations are not available for this park.

Upcoming Park Events

No events scheduled at this moment.

TRAIL USE
Hiking Trails
Horseback Riding
DAY-USE ACTIVITIES & FACILITIES
Historical/Cultural Site
Picnic Areas
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Guided Tours
Interpretive Exhibits
Museums
Family Programs
OTHER FACILITIES & VISITOR INFORMATION
Parking
Restrooms
Drinking Water Available

Empire Mine State Historic Park is the site of one of the oldest, deepest, and richest gold mines in California. The park is in Grass Valley at 10791 East Empire Street. In operation for more than 100 years, the mine extracted 5.8 million ounces of gold before it closed in 1956. The park contains many of the mine’s buildings, the owner’s home and restored gardens, as well as the entrance to 367 miles of abandoned and flooded mine shafts. The park encompasses 856 acres of forested backcountry and fourteen 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 the actual mine.

Location-Directions

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.

Seasons/Climate/Recommended Clothing

Summer and spring are warm; fall and winter can be cool. Layered clothing is advised.

Filming Videos and Still Photography in State Parks

Image of couple at Torrey Pines SBCalifornia State Parks thanks you for choosing our beautiful parks for your photographic activities and sharing the wonders of our park units with the world. However, in order to maintain the beauty of our parks and its natural and cultural resources, we request that all commercial, still and motion picture photographers obtain a film permit from the California Film Commission.

California State Parks requires an approved film permit for:
  • All commercial still photography and videography
  • Professional photographers offering services
  • Student photo/film
  • Professional development projects

Drones are not permitted unless a special permit is granted. Use film and photography permits link below for further contact information.
To learn more, please visit our blog here.

For specific film permit information at Empire Mine State Historic Park, Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park or South Yuba River State Park, please review Sierra Gold Sector Film Permit information.

Social Feed