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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Gold bug park in Placerville

Hangtown's Gold Bug Park is California's only public park where you can take a captivating underground tour of a real gold mine, hike along two miles of interpretive trails, and actually pan for gold! Guided group tours offered year round - Monday thru Friday ... visit the Gold Bug Mine, Stamp Mill, Streambed and Panning ... Tour is 30-40 minutes for each site. Advance reservations required (530) 642-5238.

Located in the heart of Placerville, the park is on the eastern side of the famous Mother Lode Vein and was once dotted with over 250 mines within it’s boundaries. There are a number of hiking trails within the park that will introduce you to the flora and fauna of the area. Hike along Big Canyon Creek, or hike along the Vulture Claim trail and see the exploratory diggings called “coyote holes” that were left by the miners as they searched out pockets of gold bearing quartz. Big Canyon Creek, a tributary of the American River runs through the park. This creek was first placer mined by Chileans in 1848.

The Joshua Hendy Stamp Mill is an eight stamp mill and was built on the property in the late 1920’s. The stamp mill still stands on its original site.

Two hard rock mines are still open and available for the public to tour. The Priest Mine is the oldest Hard Rock mine in the park and dates back to the 1850’s. This mine is only available for special guided tours. (see Guided Tours)The Hattie Mine (now called Gold Bug) is dated as being started in 1888. This mine is available for self guided tours as well as special guided tours. The Hattie Museum offers displays of mining equipment and drawings explaining many of the various mining techniques that were used and are being used.

The Hattie Gift Shop offers a variety of books, photographs, gold samples as well as other items to remember this famous site. You can also rent a gold pan and pan for real gold in the gold troughs located adjacent to Big Canyon Creek. Gold Bug Park and Mine is a designated State Point of Historic Interest and is part of the National Register of Historic Sites.

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