Empire Mines State Park in Grass Valley California provides a fascinating historical view into one of California’s largest, deepest, and most abundant gold mines. Across more than a century it produced over 5.8 million ounces of gold from its 367 subterranean miles of mine shafts (most of which are filled with water now). Many mine related buildings are open, with docents in period costumes and acting the parts of various mine operations personnel. At the annual Miners Picnic event, we met a fur trapper, saw a reenactment of a mine explosion and emergency response, and enjoyed interactive tours. In addition, the owner’s fancy “cottage” and gardens have been restored and are open for touring. Empire Mines offers unique history, stories, and geology to learn and experience.