California State Parks in or about the Gold Country

Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park
14881 Pine Grove/Volcano Rd., Pine Grove, CA 95665
A 136-acre State Park preserving the largest bedrock mortar in North America. Once used by Miwok Indians, this limestone outcropping measures 173 by 82 feet, and is covered with 363 petroglyphs (rock carvings) and 1185 mortar holes, called chaw' ses. Also on the park grounds are Indian buildings carefully recreated from written descriptions, and the Chaw'se Regional Indian Museum. Campsites and hiking trails are also available.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park
Several miles east of Murphys on Hwy 4
Open all year round, Calaveras Big Trees State Park offers visitors miles of hiking trails, picnicking and camping sites, fishing and swimming in the North Fork of the Stanislaus River, nature studies, and a fine Visitor Center stocked with nature exhibits, maps and books. And yes, the most amazing sights in the park, Sequoiadendron giganteum, the Giant Sequoias. These huge Sierra Redwoods reach up to 325 feet in height, and may reach an age of between 2,000 and 4,000 years.

Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park
POBox 265, 310 Back St., Coloma 95613
Visit the place where the Gold Rush started. The park features a fine museum, mining exhibits, hiking trails, camp sites, the South Fork of the American River, and a working reproduction of Sutter's Mill. Many historic buildings from the days of gold still survive about the park, featuring shops and displays.

Bridgeport Covered Bridge State Historic Park
Two miles southwest of French Corral via Pleasant Valley Road
The main feature of the Bridgeport Covered Bridge State Historic Park, is, of course, the Covered Bridge. Built by David Wood in 1862 of timber, iron bolts, and braces, this 225-foot span is the longest covered bridge of its kind in the United States. It crosses the South Fork of the Yuba River, a nice place to cool off on a summer day.

Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park
North Bloomfield
The "ghost town" of North Bloomfield and the nearby Malakoff mine are both within the boundaries of the three thousand acre Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park. Several of the town's original buildings are still standing, while a few others have been reconstructed to their original designs. A museum contains bits and pieces of the town's history, and the Ranger's office can usually answer any visitor's questions. The park also contains picnic and camping grounds, and numerous trails that wander through the mountains, lakes, streams and diggings. Blair Lake, originally a reservoir for the mines, offers a beautiful spot for a picnic and is furnished with tables and barbecues. The Malakoff Mine pit is the most amazing site within the Park's boundaries today. At one time nearly six hundred feet deep, erosion has since poured tons of material onto its floor, leaving the mine only three hundred feet deep today. Time and nature have turned what was once an ugly, barren mining pit into a place of unusual beauty. Sheer cliffs reveal layers of gravels and rock and range in color from sand white to blazing red. Trees cling precariously to the very edges of these towering cliffs, seeming to defy the forces of gravity. And who knows, there's probably still gold there somewhere.

Empire Mine State Historic Park
10791 East Empire St., Grass Valley, CA 95945
The park encompasses some 784 acres, approximately 750 of which are forested backcountry complete with trails and a self-guiding brochure for hikers. The mine buildings, offices, and workshops have been restored with an eye to historic integrity, which in effect transports visitors back in time to the days when the Empire was California's major gold producer (an estimated 5.8 million ounces pulled from some 367 miles of underground passageways). The grounds, gardens, fountains, and pools, are maintained to perfection, including the Bourn Cottage, the showpiece of the park.
Empire Mine State Historic Park

Sutters Fort State Historic Park
26th & K Streets in downtown Sacramento
Restored to its 1847 appearance, Sutters Fort is open every day of the year, except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day. Built by Swiss immigrant John Sutter more than 150 years ago, the Fort was located at a pivotial point in California, and at a pivotal point in history. The Fort features demonstrations and crafts of the 1840's and should definitely not be missed.

Columbia State Historic Park
POBox 151, Columbia, CA
Columbia State Historic Park was created in 1945 when the State of California purchased the site. The remaining buildings were carefully restored to their former appearance, while other buildings not so fortunate to have survived were reconstructed into exact replicas, with the aid of old photos and documents. Today the business district is a living museum, with the buildings open for viewing, complete with artifacts, tools, goods, and regalia from Columbia's days of gold. The park also includes picnic areas, hiking trails, stage coach and horseback rides, gold panning and mine tours.

Railtown 1897 State Historic Park
5th Ave. & Reservoir Rd., Jamestown, CA 95327
Railtown 1897 State Historic Park is located on the original grounds of the Sierra Railway. It is home to three original Sierra steam locomotives and additional cars and equipment, including the only operating steam round house in the west. Train rides on part of the old line are available, as well as a gift shop with historic and train related items.
Check out Steve Rolle's Virtual Roundhouse Tour of the Sierra Railway's Steam Facilities at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park.

Bodie State Historic Park - A great ghost town off Hwy 395
Donner Memorial State Park - The history and tragedy of the Donner Party.
California State Park System - Central Sierra Nevada Parks.
California State Parks/Department of Parks & Recreation- Information and Announcements