Malakoff Diggins State Park
A stark landscape greets visitors who venture to Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park. It was created between the 1850s and 1880s by hydraulic gold mining. Water was brought to the site and then aimed at hillsides through giant nozzles. After traveling miles along canals and aquaducts water reached a pipe called a Penstock. The Penstock might have been as much as a mile long. By the time the water reached the water cannon nozzle (called a monitor) it was moving 5000-7000 gallons per minute. The water shot out with sufficient force to wash away whole mountains of dirt. The water and dirt was washed across riffles in a sluice box (a wooden channel). The heavy gold settled to the bottom because it is heavier than the other sand and gravel. When the monitors fell silent, the miners would clean the sluice box and recover the gold. Unfortunately all the remaining debris was washed into the streams and rivers. Downstream farms, ranches, even towns were covered in mud and silt. Hydraulic mining was eventually outlawed in 1886.
The park now contains hiking trails, a museum, the deserted mining town of North Bloomfield, 3 camping cabins available to rent, a campground and picnic facilities. Visitors can also gold pan on Humbug Creek.
Malakoff Diggins is located 26 miles from Nevada City via Tyler Foote Crossing Road off Hwy. 49. (530) 265-2740. For cabin rentals and camp site reservations call: Reserve America (800) 444-7275.
ACTIVITIES & EVENTS
Humbug Day Celebration
June Celebration of the history of the area with a parade, basket and candle making, entertainment, food, dancing, wagon rides, living history and games.
Campfire programs: Saturday nights during summer.
Town Tours: Everyday the museum is open at 1:30 p.m. Gold panning Saturdays at 3:00 p.m.
RELATED HISTORY LINKS