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Willow Creek Campground :: Gold Country

17548 Highway 49         Camptonville, CA 95922        530.288.0646        877.901.7191


Come to Gold Country


     The history of the California Gold Rush is rich in folklore and interesting places, many of which are in hiking and driving distance from Willow Creek Campground.

     It is not uncommon to find people panning for gold alongside the creeks and streams of the area, or to stumble upon an abandoned gold mine, some of which is easy to imagine the flurry of activity that was taking place back in 1849.

     A great source for information before your trip is The California Gold Country: Highway 49 Revisited, by author Elliott H. Koeppel. While the book is temporarily out of print, sections of it can be found online on the author’s website.

     Nearest to the campground are the towns of Camptonville, Nevada City, and Downieville. The people may have changed, but each of the towns has maintained it’s unique Gold Country identity for more than 150 years!


Downieville Museum

Located in a stone building with original iron doors and window shutters that date back to 1852, the Downieville Museum has a collection of local artifacts that depicts the life of this community from its Gold Rush origins to the present day. The collection includes a variety of pictures of Downieville from early days, pioneer portraits, a collection of paper goods and documents, as well as items that reflect 160 years of life in Downieville and the surrounding area.

Malkoff Diggins State Historic Park


HillerTunnelMalkoff.jpgA mining marvel in every respect, Malkoff Diggins Mining and Gravel Company dug deep into Calafornia’s Gold Rush Story.

One the most impressive feats–a drainage tunnel to reach the South Yuba River.  The tunnel was carved from solid bedrock and was 8000 feet long and nine feet in diameter lying 200 feet below surface. Today a 557-foot section is open to foot traffic.

The dig, itself, is a nice hiking ground. It hosts a unique ecological fingerprint and the revealed sedimentary layers are awe inspiring.

Park brochures bursting with interesting tidbits are availble online.




North Bloomfield Museum

located in Malkoff Diggins State Park

Located in Cummins Hall, town of North Bloomfield, in Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park, this museum shares one of the historic buildings in North Bloomfield with the Ranger’s office. Displays include a look at the history of hydraulic mining in the region, and also a video presentation of hydraulic mining in action. Many historic artifacts, documents, photos and relics from the town’s mining heyday are on display.


call for hours:



The Empire Mine is the site of the oldest, largest, and richest gold mine in California. In existence for more than 100 years, the mine produced 5.6 million ounces of gold before it closed in 1956. The park contains many of the mine’s buildings, the owner’s home and restored gardens, as well as the entrance to 367 miles (the distance, as the crow flies, from Grass Valley to Magic Mountain) of abandoned and flooded mine shafts. The park consists of forested backcountry and eight miles of trails - including easy hikes (for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding) - in the park.


Northstar Mine and Pelton Wheelhouse

The Northstar Mine and Pelton Wheelhouse offers a true glimpse into the life and times of goldminers. Featuring a working Stamp Mill, a Cornish Pump, and the largest Pelton Wheel ever constructed, the museum is both historic and educational and is the perfect accompaniment to any visit to the Gold Country. 

Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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