Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park

Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California

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Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park

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  • The Diggins, which refers to the open hydraulic mine pit at Malakoff Diggins State Park.- Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park
  • High-pressure water canons called monitors blasted hillsides to wash gold from the rock. Not surprisingly, this caused severe environmental damage.- Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park
  • The erosion caused by the monitors exposed sediment resembling a miniature Bryce Canyon.- Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park
  • The Diggins.- Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park
  • The boardwalk trail along the Diggins Loop Trail. - Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park
  • Fall colors at the Diggins.- Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park
  • The Diggins.- Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park
  • Whiteleaf manzanita trunk (Arctostaphylos manzanita).- Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park
  • Cattail (typha).- Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park
  • The chapel at the historic mining town of North Bloomfield, Malakoff Diggins State Park.- Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park
  • The historic mining town of North Bloomfield, Malakoff Diggins State Park.- Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park
  • The picnic and fire pit area, Malakoff Diggins State Park.- Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park
  • A residence in historic North Bloomfied, Malakoff Diggins State Park.- Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park
  • A glimpse inside the old barber shop. The mining town operates as a museum in the summer.- Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park
  • Three rustic miner cabins can be reserved for overnight stays.- Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Stunning, manmade earth formations. Rich regional history.
Cons: 
Some park amenities close in fall and winter.
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Region:
Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, CA
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Team

Tucked away in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada in the heart of California's Gold Country, Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park is home to remnants of what was once the world's largest hydraulic mining pit. The gold mine operation was so substantial that the town of North Bloomfield sprung up to support the mine’s workers. Today the mining pit and historic town are open to visitors, affording a glimpse into California’s gold mining history.

The Diggins pit was mined through a process that involved pressurizing water through canons that literally blasted away hillsides. The process unearthed plenty of gold, but it also left a site ecological destruction. Eroded mountainsides washed down the Yuba River and deposited large volumes of silt downstream that resulted in extensive environmental and property damage. Due to the destruction, multiple lawsuits were filed and the state required the North Bloomfield Gravel Mining Company, which operated the mine, to stop dumping eroded tailings into the river. The 1884 injunction is notable for being the first environmental law passed in the nation. In less than 20 years of operation the hydraulic mining operation was shut down.

The exposed sedimentary walls of the mining pit form a colorful precipice that is said to resemble a miniature Bryce Canyon. The pit can be explored via a network of trails that run through the park. The Diggins Loop Trail circles the pit floor and the Rim Trail offers elevated views. The surrounding forests of pine, oak, and manzanita create a stunning contrast to the eroded walls. The historic mining town has a museum open in the summer, although self-guided exploration of the town can be done anytime of year. A 30-site campground and three rustic mining cabins are open for use in the spring and summer. Additional amenities include picnic areas, barbeque grills, and a community fire pit. Dogs on leash are permitted throughout the park.

 

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Nearby Camping + Lodging

(7 within a 30 mile radius)

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(31 within a 30 mile radius)

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