Park is open daily from 10AM - 4PM. (Winter Hours- 11/1-2/28)
Summer hours of operation are from 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM. (3/1-10/31)
The park is closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, & New Years Day.
What is open now?
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.
Join a tour of our GEM of a Park!
G - Garden Tours: Wed & Sat @ 10:30AM
E - Estate Tours: Wed, Fri, Sat & Sun @ 11:30AM, Sat & Sun @ 1:30PM
M - Mineyard Tours: Wed, Fri, Sat & Sun @ 12:30PM, Sat & Sun @ 2:30PM
Come on a 45 minute guided tour to get a highlght into our historic park. Tours start at the green benches inside the Park, and are first come first served, no reservations. Weather can be hot and sunny, so please wear weather appropriate clothing. If the temperature is over 90 degrees, afternoon Mineyard tours may be replaced with Estate tours.
Garden Tours: Going through September, this tour guides you through the historic gardens, and the array of blooms, foliage, and pollinators which can be seen at the Empire Estate all year long. Each month, we'll highlight a special piece of the gardens on the tour along with the seasonal blooms, so we encourage you to come more than once to enjoy a walk in the gardens; May: Asian Heritage plants and the Oyung Family, June: Rose Garden, July: Perennials, August: Historic Plants, September: Fall Colors
Estate Tours: This tour allows you to get a special peek inside the life and home of the owner of the mine. Step into the historic cottage and learn about the beautiful estate within a once working hardrock mine.
Mineyard Tours: This tour takes you through the equipment and hard work needed for the profitable Empire mine to run. Afterwards is a great time to stop by the blacksmith shop and see our craftsmen at work. Hot weather may cancel; if temperatures are over 90 degrees, this tour will become a second Estate Tour, and the blacksmith shop may close early.
Walk starts at the green benches; call the Visitor Center for further seasonal details.
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.
California State Parks acknowledges the Nisenan People were here in this State Park since time immemorial. The Nisenan People are still here today, though they are nearly invisible.
The Sierra District of California State Parks includes their story in our interpretation and education here at the Empire Mine State Historic Park. We understand we are on Nisenan Land and that the original Tribal Families have yet to recover from the near genocide of their people during the California Gold Rush.
California State Parks supports the Nevada City Rancheria Tribe in efforts to stabilize their people as well as the campaign to restore Tribal sovereignty through Federal Recognition.
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.