2 miles from Bell Tower. Mostly easy trails. MAP
Almost all of the local mines were closed long ago for safety reasons, but the Gold Bug Mine escaped those efforts, and is the centerpiece of the park today; where visitors have a chance to tour the mine and see what all the fuss was about searching out that elusive metal known as Gold.
This 62 acre park, owned by the City of Placerville, includes two museums and a gift store, a workable stamp mill, the mine, some short but fun trails, picnic areas and even a place to pan for gold.
Directions: Go east on Main St. to Bedford Ave (at courthouse) and turn Left for 1 mile to the signed park entrance.
The trails are scattered, one starts near the mine entrance/gift shop and climbs up to the old Priest Mine, it continues up to a mine vent, follows an old mining ditch, then drops back down near the restrooms/picnic area. Another short trail goes form the park entrance area to the stamp mill and museum. This is the easier of the two trails, as it meanders alongside a small creek that shows the impacts of the gold rush days even today, one hundred and sixty five years later.
Above the stamp mill and from the lower parking areas are my favorite trails. They offer great views to the southwest, where you can see all the way to Shingle Springs. They criss-cross the hilltop through fields of manzanita and wildflowers.
History: Originally known as the Vulture Mine, this area was a very rich source of gold during the earliest diggings with many mines nearby. The narrow ravine was once called Log Cabin Creek and thousands of miners worked the nearby veins with “hardrock” versus “hydraulic” methods of extraction.
The park was sold to the City by BLM (Bureau of Land Mgt.) in 1962.