Historic Site in Grass Valley

Empire Mine State Historic Park

Atop 367 miles of mine shafts tunneling almost a vertical mile beneath the surface, Gold Country’s best-preserved gold quartz–mining operation is worth a solid half-day’s exploration. From 1850 to 1956 the miners he…
Historic Site in Placerville

Hangtown's Gold Bug Park & Mine

About 1 mile north of town via Bedford Ave, this historical park stands on the site of four mining claims that yielded gold from 1849 to 1888. You can descend into the Gold Bug Mine with a self-guided audio tour, do…
Cave in Volcano

Black Chasm Cavern

Less than 1 mile east of Volcano, this National Natural Landmark has the whiff of a tourist trap, but one look at the arrays of helictite crystals – rare, sparkling white snowflakes – makes the crowd more sufferable…
Historic Site in Volcano

Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park

Two miles southwest of Volcano is a sacred area for the local Miwok. There’s a village site and a limestone outcrop covered with petroglyphs – 363 originals and a few modern additions – and over 1000 mortar holes ca…
Historic Site in Coloma-Lotus Valley

Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park

This historical park stands on the site of James Marshall's riot-inducing discovery, with a replica of Sutter's Mill, restored buildings and gold-panning opportunities for kids. There's a hilltop monument to Marshal…
Museum in Sierra City & The Lakes Basin

Kentucky Mine

Sierra City’s local museum, the Kentucky Mine, is a worthy stop that introduces the famed ‘Golden Chain Highway’ (California's Hwy 49). Its gold mine and stamp mill are just northeast of town.
Winery in Murphys


In downtown Murphys, start wine tasting at Tanner, whose family was the first to plant grapes and pay an alcohol tax in Calaveras County during the 1860s.
Winery in Murphys

Twisted Oak

Don't miss the ‘%#&@!’ (rhymes with ‘duck’) Rhône red blend at tongue-in-cheek Twisted Oak's tasting room in downtown Murphys.
State Park in Sonora & Jamestown

Railtown 1897 State Historic Park

Five blocks east of Jamestown’s Main St, this 26-acre, state-operated collection of trains and railroad equipment is the photogenic sister to Sacramento's rail museum. It's served as backdrop for countless films and…
Historic Site in Columbia State Historic Park

Columbia State Historic Park

The so-called ‘Gem of the Southern Mines’ is like a miniature Gold-Rush Disneyland, but with more authenticity and heart. Four blocks of town have been preserved, where volunteers perambulate in 19th-century dress a…