Northeast of Sacramento and southeast of Grass Valley, the 850 acre Empire Mine State Park has 12 miles open to hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.
How to get to the Park: The Park is located on Empire Street which is a well marked exit on Route 49. Travelers from southern California or the Bay area should take route 80 and pick up route 49 north in Auburn. Travelers from Nevada and the east should take route 80 and exit on route 20 which becomes 20 / 49 in Nevada City. For visitors coming from Marysville via route 20, route 20 becomes Empire Street as it passes over route 49 (just continue straight on to the Park).
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 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.
Overall, Empire Mine State Park is the 75th most popular hiking trail of all 88 hikes in California.