Perhaps the best kept secret within the California State Park System, Plumas-Eureka State Park is steeped in history and is rich with recreation and natural resources.
Just five miles from Graeagle on Johnsville Road (County Road A-14), the 4,500-acre park is located at the foot of Eureka Peak, (originally called Gold Mountain) which produced some $25 million in gold from hard-rock mining during the late 1800s.
The park features unmatched landscapes, a myriad of hiking trails and a pristine 67-site campground set along Jamison Creek underneath towering pines. Be sure to visit the park's indoor-outdoor museum of early gold mining equipment and relics, a complete blacksmith shop, a partially restored stamp mill, and a restored miner's home. You can also peer inside the entrance to the Eureka Shaft and see the old timbers.
Park docents in period attire re-create a miner's lifestyle during Gold Discovery Days held each year in July. Blacksmith demonstrations, mining lore and home tours help take visitors back to the 1890's. A pancake breakfast is also part of the fun.
In the wintertime, the park is transformed into a winter paradise. Visitors can drive the well-cleared roads to enjoy the various cross-country ski loops, including the 2.5 mile groomed Jamison Canyon Ski Trail that starts or ends at the museum. Or, follow the road until it ends at Eureka Bowl to access more backcountry skiing. The historic Eureka Ski Bowl is near the site of the fist recorded downhill ski races in North America. It no longer operates as a ski area, but stages the Historic Longboard Ski Revival Series races organized by the Plumas Ski Club in January, February and March.
Ranger-led snowshoe nature hikes are also offered during the winter or the weekends. The museum has limited hours during winter.
Park admission is free, and it's open year-round. During the winter the museum has limited hours when staff is available. Museum admission is free, but donations are accepted and appreciated. Park campground fees are $35 per site and are available by reservation at (800) 444-7275 or online. Reservations are recommended from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. For more information, call the park at (530) 836-2380.