Empire Mine State Historic Park

This park unit is open at limited capacity. Please take the time to read the information contained on this webpage to find out what is open and closed, and what COVID-19 guidelines are in place. - (February 28, 2022)

What is open now?

  • Empire Mine State Historic Park is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Winter hours of operation are from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., from November 1 thru February 28. The park is closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
  • The trails are open from sunrise to sunset with COVID-19 guidelines in place.
    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.
  • Visitor Center during business hours for fee collection, information, restrooms, and gift shop. Limited visitor access to exhibits inside building. Masks are required in public buildings and spaces where physical distancing is not easily maintained.


Phone Number

(530) 273-8522

Park Hours

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.

Dogs Allowed?

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.

Hiking Trails
Horseback Riding
Historical/Cultural Site
Picnic Areas
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Guided Tours
Interpretive Exhibits
Family Programs
Drinking Water Available

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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 Guided Tour!

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.

Land Acknowledgement

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.

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.

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.