Hike to Empire Mine and then see the Victorian Christmas in Nevada City

Just in time for the Holidays!

At Empire Mines we can go on tours to check out the cottages, gardens and mines. All tours are included in the entrance fee.

The Empire Mine is the site of the oldest, largest, and richest gold mine in California. From 1850 to its closing in 1956, it produced 5.8 million ounces of gold.This 5.8 million ounces of gold would fill a box 7 feet on each side. It is estimated that this represented only 20% of the available gold...80% remains. The Park contains many of the original mine buildings, the owners cottage and the restored gardens and grounds as well as the entrance to 367 miles (the equivalent of a round trip from Grass Valley to San Jose) of abandoned and flooded shafts and tunnels. The park consists of 845 acres of forested back country and 12 miles of trails for hikers, bikers and horseback riders.

Entrance Fees: Include Tours

$7 for Adults and Children over 16

$3 for Children 6-16 years old

5 Years old and under free

Cottage tour is at 1:00 pm

Mine tour is at 2:00 pm

After we've explored Empire Mines we can head over to Nevada City to see Victorian Style Christmas.


Here's info on Victorian Christmas in Nevada City:

The enticing aromas of roasted chestnuts and hearty holiday foods fill the air, along with cries of street vendors hawking their wares and lamp-lit streets filled to overflowing with authentic Christmas treasures. It’s the 35th one & only Victorian Christmas-full of new shows, sights, sounds and attractions.

Welcome the holiday season in style in historic Nevada City, a quaint, Gold Rush town nestled in the foothills of the snow-capped Sierra where each year the town’s picturesque downtown transforms into a genuine Christmas card come to life. It’s a magical setting of hilly streets outlined with twinkling white lights and authentic gaslamps, wandering minstrels and carolers dressed in Victorian attire, and a myriad of visitors sharing holiday cheer and good tidings.

This annual, family tradition takes place three Wednesday evenings and two Sunday afternoons in December and features holiday activities for all ages: childrens’ pony rides, carriage rides, live entertainment, savory yuletide treats and libations, and of course, Father Christmas!

There is oh so much to see, hear, feast upon and experience at Victorian Christmas. Whether you’ve been naughty or nice…we look forward to welcoming the best of the holiday Season with you and yours!

Check out the link for more info:



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  • Joel, Dawn, and J.

    Thanks Heidi. We had a good time today. I especially

    December 16, 2012

    • Joel, Dawn, and J.

      I especially enjoyed the mine. Sorry we took off without saying goodbye but we needed to get home.

      December 16, 2012

  • Dina

    I like having events in winter. It's the only time I have a break from soccer mom duty. There's no harm is canceling if weather is too bad, but there are plenty of dry days, too.

    December 16, 2012

  • Connie

    I RSVPd w/hubby and 3 kids, but we will have to drop out if the weather is bad or we decide the kids can't handle it. I hate to take up spots, but otherwise we'll never get in. Our kids havent' done a lot of hiking, but we can bring backpacks -- and we are hoping that peers will role-model how to walk without constant snack breaks/complaints. :)?

    November 27, 2012

    • Diana M. D.

      It was good meeting you, Connie. :)

      December 16, 2012

  • Heidi

    It was cold and wet, but still enjoyable. We'll have to do this again when it's not so wet. Thanks to everybody that toughed out the cold weather.

    2 · December 16, 2012

    • Diana M. D.

      A hike ahead of time in warm weather.. I bet this place is even more gorgeous in different light and seasons. I thought it was lovely today. Loved the moose.

      December 16, 2012

  • Diana M. D.

    Great idea!

    December 16, 2012

  • Angela

    Thanks for planning Heidi! Not a bad place to hike & play. . . Just maybe not so late in year? Lol

    December 16, 2012

  • Heidi

    We're all meetind at Empire Mine right when u walk in and pay. We are skipping the hike due to the weather.

    1 · December 16, 2012

    • Diana M. D.

      We're super excited. Looking forward to seeing you all.

      2 · December 16, 2012

  • Dina

    Do we meet at the trailhead or at the museum?

    December 15, 2012

  • Dan

    Anybody wanna talk carpool?

    December 15, 2012

  • Heidi

    The only reason I capped this hike is, because there is only about 40 parking spots at the trailhead. You are welcome to try to find parking or just meet us at Empire Mine. They have lots of parking!

    1 · December 11, 2012

  • Dana F.

    I would like to go to this but there would be 7 of us would it be possible?

    December 10, 2012

  • Andy P.

    It wouldn't let me join the waitlist with kids added, but it will be me plus 2 or 3 kids

    December 3, 2012

  • Heidi

    If it's raining on this day, we can skip the hike and just drive to Empire Mines. We'll still be able to go on the tours and drive to Nevada City for the Victorian Christmas. It should still be lots of fun, but we won't have a hike if it's raining too hard or flooded.

    November 28, 2012

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