California State Mining and Mineral Museum Park Property

Update (February 4, 2021): With the Regional Stay at Home Order lifted, State Parks is reopening campground sites for existing reservation holders. The department will be using a phased approach to reopen other campground sites for new reservations, starting January 28. The public is advised that not all campground sites are open to the public due to the pandemic, wildfire impacts and other issues. Additionally, group campsites remain closed. Day use outdoor areas of park units currently open to the public remain open.

As State Parks increases access to the State Park System, it is critical that Californians continue to recreate responsibly in the outdoors as the pandemic is far from over.

Please take the time to read the information contained on this webpage to find out what is open and closed, and the COVID-19 guidelines for this park unit.

What is open now?
  • Museum with limited capacity. Face coverings required in all indoor areas.

What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?
At this park:
  • Special events and gatherings.
  • Guided tours.

Statewide:
  • Some park units and campground sites continue to be temporarily closed due to the pandemic, impacts from wildfires or other issues. Please visit the webpage of your local outdoor destination to find out if it is open.
  • 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?
State Parks has implemented the following guidelines to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors:

  • Stay Local: Stay close to home during this pandemic period. If you or anyone in your household is feeling sick, please remain at home and plan your trip for another time. 
  • Plan Ahead
    • The ongoing pandemic response continues to be dynamic and fluid. Prior to leaving home, check the webpage of your outdoor destination you plan to visit to find out if it is open, if parking is available, and what visitor guidelines are in effect.
    • Learn what safety precautions you should take when exploring the outdoors at parks.ca.gov/SafetyTips.
    • SNO-PARKS: Make sure your vehicle is snow ready. A permit is required for each vehicle parked at a SNO-PARK site. Parking is on a first come, first-serve basis at all SNO-PARK sites. The public is advised that parking lots are filling up early in the day. Illegal parking is prohibited. More information can be found at ohv.parks.ca.gov/SNOPARKS.
  • Stay Safer at Six Feet: No matter the recreational activity, maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Your guests should only include those within your immediate household. This means no guests or friends, and no gatherings or parties. If there are too many people to maintain the required physical distance, please visit us on a different day. 
    • Boating: Do not raft up to other boaters or pull up onto a beach next to other recreators.
    • Off-highway Vehicle Recreation: Do not ride next to others or pull up next to someone else as it could put you in close proximity to others. Stage 10 feet or more from each other during unloading and loading.
  • Keep Clean: Be prepared as not all services may be available. Some restrooms will be temporarily closed to keep up with cleaning schedules. Bring soap/hand sanitizer. Please pack out all trash. Park units are experiencing heavy use and you can help alleviate the impact on park facilities.
  • Stay Covered: The state requires you to wear a face covering when you cannot maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Individuals must have a face covering with them at all times.

Although law enforcement entities have the authority to issue citations, the expectation is that the public is responsible for adhering to the advice of public health officials, visitor guidelines and closures.

California State Parks continues to work with local and state officials 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. However, the situation remains fluid and park operations can change at any time. For information on statewide current closures and available services, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.

Phone Number

(209) 742-7625

Park Hours

Open Thursday-Sunday &
Closed to the public Monday-Wednesday

Winter Hours
Oct 1- Apr 30
10:00am - 4:00pm

Summer Hours
May 1-Sept 30
10:00am - 5:00pm

Admission is $4.00 for adults, children 12 and under are free.

Dogs Allowed?

No

Driving Directions to California State Mining and Mineral Museum

Located at the Mariposa County Fairgrounds, 1.8 miles south of Mariposa on historic Highway 49. Turn left into fairgrounds.

Online reservations are not available for this park.

Upcoming Park Events

No events scheduled at this moment.

DAY-USE ACTIVITIES & FACILITIES
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Guided Tours
Interpretive Exhibits
Museums
OTHER FACILITIES & VISITOR INFORMATION
Parking
Drinking Water Available

Photo: Model of Stamp Mill at California Mining and Mineral Museum

“There’s gold in the hills of California!”  These words echoed around the world in 1848 and started a mass migration to the wilderness of interior California.  Gold seekers trekked from every part of the world and every walk of life to sift the streams for gold.  Mining companies brought machines to the mountains and turned camps into boomtowns as they blasted and dug deep into the earth to follow the gold bearing veins. 

There is still gold in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, at the California State Mining and Mineral Museum, in historic Mariposa.  This is where explorers John C. Fremont and Kit Carson found the rich Mariposa Vein and opened the first mill to crush ore and extract gold in California.  You are invited to discover for yourself California’s mineral wealth, colorful history and geologic diversity as you view the official mineral collection of the state of California.  The collection, which began in 1880, contains over 13,000 objects including mining artifacts, rare specimens of crystalline gold in its many forms, as well as beautiful gem and mineral specimens from California and around the world.  The collection was moved to Mariposa in 1983 after residing in San Francisco, for over 100 years.  The museum became a state park in 1999.

We are proud to display the Fricot “Nugget”, a rare and beautiful specimen of crystallized gold discovered in the American River in 1864.  This spectacular 13.8-pound. specimen is the largest remaining intact mass of crystalline gold from 19th century California, when these finds were more common but usually were simply melted down.  You can also take a trip back in time as you walk through our mine tunnel and see how gold was mined in the mid-1800s, when California was a wilderness, being transformed by rapid development. Our assay office and working scale model of a stamp mill will help you discover how gold was found and extracted from the rocks.

The museum is dedicated to helping families and students learn about the importance of mining and minerals to our history, our environment, and our future.  We offer free activities for children and youth groups, including our Junior Ranger Program.  We also provide school tours relating to geology, rocks and minerals, the gold rush, and mining history to hundreds of students each year. We encourage teachers and youth groups to call about our free, hands on, fun and educational programs, which also support California state curriculum standards.  Custom tours can also be arranged for special groups.

The museum even sponsors an annual gem and mineral show each spring featuring exhibits, speakers, food, educational children’s activities, and dealers of beautiful mineral specimens and lapidary work from around the world.  Call the museum for dates and times.  We also feature special mineral related activities and crafts during the annual Mariposa County Fair, over Labor Day weekend.  Our museum shop offers a wide variety of jewelry, mineral art, and mineral specimens as well as many books about rocks, minerals, prospecting, mining, and California history. 

A visit to the California State Mining and Mineral Museum offers you the chance to explore the variety of California’s mineral wealth, view breathtaking gems and minerals from around the world, and to experience a bit of California’s exciting mining history.  We have a number of rotating displays so there is something new to see each time you visit.  This museum is a must see stop on any trip through the Mother Lode gold country or to nearby Yosemite National Park.

Educators can call the museum for information on curriculum based educational programs for Grades 1 - 12 and college level.

Location - Directions

Located at the Mariposa County Fairgrounds, 1.8 miles south of Mariposa on historic Highway 49. Turn left into fairgrounds.

Seasons/Climate Recommended Clothing

Winter in Mariposa at 2000ft elevation is above the valley fog, below the snow line with plenty of sunny days. Weather in the summer can be quite warm during the day with cool evenings. Layered clothing is advised.

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