Grass Valley

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Grass Valley Hotels
Best Western Gold Country Inn
11972 Sutton Way
Grass Valley, CA 95945


More Grass Valley Hotels

Holbrooke Hotel

Holiday Inn Express



Auburn Hotels 25 mi.
Best Western Golden Key
13450 Lincoln Way
Auburn, CA 95603
Comfort Inn Central
1875 Auburn Ravine Road
Auburn, CA 95603
Holiday Inn Auburn, Ca
120 Grass Valley Hwy.
Auburn, CA 95603
Travelodge Of Auburn
13480 Lincoln Way
Auburn, CA 95603



Grass Valley California Gold Rush Photos & Information

grass valley's Holbrooke hotel

When Time Magazine named Grass Valley one of California's "Hot Small Towns" in 1998, the heat was on to live up to expectations. While the city experiences warm weather that hovers around 100 degrees some summer days, it's ever so cool in the shade at the Empire Mine, the oldest, richest, hardrock gold mine in California.


This 1850's Gold Rush town has been served well by the Empire Mine located in Empire Mine State Historic Park. For over 100 years the gold mine was operated as a profit-making venture. Expansive buildings and grounds, plus 367 miles of abandoned and flooded shafts and tunnels in various states of disrepair are being restored by volunteers who work diligently to clear tunnels, landscape the property's beautiful gardens and share their love of history with tourists who travel thousands of miles to see the fantastic place.


Modern-day businesses have sprung up around gold's lure with gift shops and restaurants serving hungry and thirsty travelers as well as the local community. As California's population grows, Grass Valley is considered one of those desirable places offering quality of life, numerous activities and a much slower pace than nearby Sacramento and San Francisco. Retirees attracted to the small town atmosphere have helped create an incredible volunteer corps involved in programs such as the Living History exhibitions where docents dress in costume and live the parts of their ancestors.


Grass Valley, a city of 12,000 people may seem like a one-horse town but that's simply not true. Each September the Draft Horse Classic and Harvest Fair brings beautiful Clydesdales and wagon teams to Grass Valley for entertainment. From a Celtic Festival, Teddy Bear convention, Fruit Jar Pickers Sing-Along, Cornish Christmas Street Fair, Good Old Days Car Show and much more, Grass Valley may be small but it has a lot going on.


For those unfamiliar with the California Gold Rush, news of gold strikes in this region of California in the 1840's and 50's spread like wildfire around the world. Cities, town and encampments popped up overnight and hot, little Grass Valley grew rapidly thanks to a settler named George McKnight who discovered gold in the quartz rock along Gold Hill in 1850. Empire Mine opened that year. From 1850 to its closing in 1956, Empire Mine produced 5.8 million ounces of gold contributing to Grass Valley's fame as the richest of all gold mining towns.


Empire Mine State Historic Park contains many of the original mine buildings, the owners cottage and the restored gardens and grounds. The park consists of 845 acres of forested back country and 12 miles of trails for hikers, bikers and horseback riders. Trails are enjoyed for hiking, mountain bikes, equestrians and walking the dog. The trails are open year-round from sunrise to sunset.

10787 East Empire St, Grass Valley, Ca 95945.

Set in the Sierra foothills at approximately 2,500 feet elevation in western Nevada County, the area enjoys four seasons. The average rainfall is 55 inches per year. While light snow may fall a few times a year, it rarely lasts very long. Grass Valley is located off state routes 49 and 20, a one-hour drive northeast of Sacramento. To get there you can take eastbound Interstate 80 to Auburn and Highway 49 north. Served by several major airports, you can fly into San Francisco International Airport (SFO - 150 miles distance), Sacramento International Airport (SMF - 62 miles) or Reno Tahoe International Airport (RNO - 92 miles). 

Attractions include:

North Star Power House and Pelton Wheel Mining Exhibit with displays of mining equipment and artifacts from the 1880's such as a Pelton Wheel, and operational Cornish pump. There's a secluded picnic area alongside Wolf Creek.
Mill Street & McCourtney Road, Grass Valley (530) 273-4255

Grass Valley Museum
Built in 1865, the memorabilia of early Grass Valley and Mount St. Mary's Academy served as a convent, orphanage and school.
Corner of South Church and Chapel Streets
Grass Valley
(530) 273-5509

Imaginarium of Nevada County
Hands-on exhibits and activities in science, nature and technology for kids. Imaginarium of Nevada County, 161 Nevada City Hwy, Nevada City, CA  Call: (478) 6415 or 478-6400, ext. 231

Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad & Transportation Museum
A new museum with railroad and transportation exhibits, including historic Engine No. 5.
5 Kidder Court at Bost Ave.
Nevada City
(530) 470-0902

Firehouse No. 1 Museum
Relics of the Donner Party, Maidu Indian display, Chinese and Pioneer exhibits, and items of the Gold Rush era.
214 Main Street
Nevada City
(530) 265-5468

The Holbrooke Hotel - Located in downtown Grass Valley, this historic hotel gives a sense of history. Antiques grace all twenty-eight rooms, each with private bath. The Historical Landmark was built in 1851 in Victorian style and includes the Golden Gate Saloon, one of the longest continually running bars "West of the Mississippi". The saloon has copper clad walls, original mahogany wood and Italian alabaster and marble. Holbrooke Hotel has hosted some of the most famous names in U.S. and California history. Guest books, preserved and displayed in the hotel lobby include the signatures of Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Harrison, James A. Garfield and Grover Cleveland. Other famous guests were writers Mark Twain and Bret Harte, heavyweight champion boxers Jim Corbett and Bon Fitzsimmons, and the infamous Black Bart.