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The Empire Mine State Historic Park has approximately 14 miles of trails within its 845 acres. Trails are posted to accommodate hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians. Dogs on a leash are welcome on all trails. The trails are open year-round from sunrise to sunset.

Note: For protection of park visitors,segments of the Osborn Hill trails, including the Prescott Mine Trail, the Prescott Hill Cross Cut, the Daisy Hill Mine Trail, the Conlon Mine Trail and segments of the WYOD and Hard Rock Trails are temporarily closed due to elevated levels of arsenic and other metals in some areas. Closed trails total less than 1 mile of the 14 mines of trails.
Improvements are being made to several segments of the trails and additional trails are being developed. A new trail leads from the parking lot across from the main lot to Memorial Park in Grass Valley.

East Empire Street Trail

There are two main parking areas and trailheads. The Penn Gate parking lot, trailhead and horse staging area are located on East Empire Street, one mile east of the junction of Hwy 49 and Hwy 20. This trailhead provides primary access to the Hardrock and Osborne Hill Trails. The Union Hill trailhead and parking lot is located at the end of Gold Hill Drive, which intersects Silver Way off Hwy 174 near the Empire Cross Road.

Work Your Own Diggings Mine

Drinking Fountains, restrooms, and self-guided brochures of the historical features are available at the Empire Mine Visitor Center, located at 10791 East Empire Street.

Hardrock Trails:
Trailhead and Parking: Penn Gate
Distance of Hike: 3+ miles
Degree of Difficulty: 2-4

Hardrock Trail - Photo by Jeff Herman

Historical Significance and some Special Features: This forested trail passes many historic mining sites and old foundations with mining equipment from the late 1800's and early 1900's. Much of the trail is on the old railroad bed and truck route that connected some of the mines in the area.

Osborne Hill Trails
Trailhead and Parking: Penn Gate
Distance of Hike: The entrance to the Osborne Trail is 1 mile from Penn Gate on the Hardrock Trail. The Osborne Trail itself is 2+ miles (then 1 more mile back to Penn Gate).
Degree of difficulty: 4
Historical Significance and some Special Features: This beautiful forest setting is dotted with old mine sites and foundations.

Union Hill Trails
Trailhead and Parking: The Union Hill parking area is at the end of Gold Hill Drive.
Distance of Hike: 4 miles
Degree of difficulty: up to a 4
Historical Significance and some Special Features: These forested trails are primarily fire roads and are good for bicycle enthusiasts. One of the trails follows the old pipeline that brought water to the mines.

Trail maps are available at the Visitor Center.