Malakoff Diggins is California’s largest hydraulic gold mine. There are no shafts (except for massive drain tunnels) because the gold was dug up by using high pressure water to wash away the hillsides in search of the placer gold.

I had the Diggins on my to do list for several years but not as a priority. We finally made a pass through on a trip from Nevada City to Alleghany. We ignored all the signs and brochures that advised us to not take North Bloomfield Road north out of Nevada City as we wanted some 4×4 action. While N.Bloomfield does wind down 1000′ plus to the South Yuba at Edwards Crossing and back up again it was certainly not heavy duty off roading. More like hi clearance 2wd crossover stuff.

Once we climbed our way back up to 3400′ we came upon the western ‘back’ entrance to the diggins. We stopped at the park entrance sign and followed a trail down into the site. We came upon an abandoned Monitor, one of the massive spray nozzles on our way down. It was morning and as the sun made its way down into the massive crater we could hear rocks falling all around us. It was a very unique experience. To think that the man made crater was still eroding 1 rock at a time every minute or two after 150 years was a trip.

We climbed back up the trail to our cars and followed N. Bloomfield Rd past an old cabin and into North Bloomfield proper, the little town that supported the mining.

  • JB Bergmann

    Rating: 3 / 5

    The park offers easy trails with interest for all ages. Some of the massive “Monitors” high pressure water nozzles still exist along with piping and other equipment.

  • Robert James

    Rating: 4 / 5

    We liked visiting the diggings. Perfect for a family exploration!

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