wooden sign of the entrance of Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park

To be honest with you in 30 years I've never been here until two weeks ago.  I've passed right by the cut off on Hwy 49 at least a couple of hundred times, but never gone.  I was always more interested in getting to the N. Yuba River or the Lakes Basin than stopping here.  Not what you'd expect to hear, I know, but this is what you should know.  


This California State Park is a little different than what I'm accustomed as it has a museum, the historical Gold rush Township of Humbug, Ca right inside, guided tours on weekends, and an mine.  It also has several hiking trails, pond for fishing and swimming, campground, and of course a beautiful forest to explore.

The museum and some of the historic buildings of Humbug, California represent the Gold Rush spirit that existed here in California.  An ideal or a promise of hard work would pay off with economic security and independence.  It's truly a representation of that way of life. 

The short trail to the Diggins' Overlook site starts your imagination wondering with what you'll see.

Standing at the Diggins' Overlook and gazing down onto the hydraulic mining site left me feeling two things.  

The first is obvious wonder and the complete understanding of the incredible amount of determination and work that these men sacrificed into stripping the ground down to the bedrock on an entire hillside to capture that wealth of gold to secure their family's future.  It was also magnificently beautiful with the sunlight striking the various layers of water washed and carved rock.  I can't lie, it is quite inspiring.

But second, I think about what the hillside must of looked like before the hydraulic mining operation?  I've certainly never been called or been accused of being an environmentalist, because I'm not, and I'm unapologetic of my support of the mining and logging community which built California, but even I have to admit that at some point we have to look with open eyes and accept that maybe we've gone too far.  That hydraulic mining and water monitors that strip everything away and the potential for long lasting environmental damage, considering that over a 125 years later the park rangers still recommend that people not go near or into the settling pond for the mine, is price too steep. 

No matter your thoughts on the mining, if you truly look at it for what it is, it's a marvel.  A testament of wonder, beauty, perseverance and gut wrenching sacrifices that these men made to provide for their families.  I can't even imagine the power of trying to control one of these water monitors all day, or the amount of work it took to lay the flumes to bring the water to this site, but it had to have been an incredible thing to behold and certainly worth keeping as an historical site preserved for future generations to see, touch and understand.

We encourage you to spend a day at Malakoff Diggins' State Park, it is worthy of your time and consideration.  To learn more visit the park on the web here: 


The Buttes Resort is the definition of tranquility as it's located below the Sierra Buttes and overlooking the majestic N. Yuba River in the historic gold rush township of Sierra City.  The resort has been providing wonderful accommodations to their guests since the 1950's.  Over the decades it has had some advances and updates, but one thing has always remained constant, "Excellence".

The resort has recently been purchased by Jim Westfall.  Jim fell in love with the place last year and this year he decided to purchase it.  His background is in mining, but he's made a commitment to keep the history of high standards moving forward in this new chapter of his life.  He's starting off on this journey with a couple of new things like staying open year round so guests can enjoy all four seasons and a brand new website that is really impressive full of great information about the area. Check it out here:

At the resort the N. Yuba River is just one of the attractions, but it's a great one.  Fishing, swimming, kayaking, and tubing are just some of the things that the N. Yuba River and the Buttes Resort has to offer its guests.  

N. Yuba River at the Buttes Resort
Other outdoor recreation includes hiking on dozens of nearby trails in the Tahoe National Forest including the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) along with mountain biking and fishing at one of the numerous lakes in the Lakes Basin which is just a 15 minute drive away.

Take a Hike to Loves Falls off the PCT
Sardine Lake in the Lakes Basin
Packer Lake in the Lakes Basin
After a wonderful day of exploring the Tahoe National Forest with all of its outdoor recreational opportunities available you get to come back and enjoy your base camp at the Buttes Resort.  The resort offers 7 cabins with full kitchens and it has three rooms as well to suit everyone's desires.

You can also sit back and relax in the outdoor patio area listening to the soothing sounds of the N. Yuba River and the blue jays in the trees.

Sierra City is also home to the Kentucky Mine and Museum.  At the mine you can take a tour or go to one of the terrific Music at the Mine Summer Concerts.  It's amazing to see the inner workings of the stamp mill and to think about what life must have been like in the 1850's.  

Kentucky Mine
There is one more amazing place to consider visiting during your stay at the Buttes Resort, the local swimming hole, Sand Pond.  It's fantastic and is just a few minutes away by car in the Lakes Basin.

Since the resort is now open year round, don't forget about all the beautiful fall colors and winter activities that are available like snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and just plain ole good fun in the snow making snow angels.  

If you're looking for that trip to enjoy the Tahoe National Forest and stay in comfort surrounded by beautiful scenery, you can't go wrong choosing the Buttes Resort.  It truly is a Slice of Heaven in Sierra County!

To make a reservation or to learn more about the Buttes Resort
you can call them directly at (530) 862 - 1170.

Be sure to follow them on Facebook for updated information
about the resort, events in the area and more.


The Mountain Messenger is the oldest weekly, continually published newspaper in California and Mark Twain wrote for it, but that's not the reason why we read it and recommend others do, too!  The reason we read it is that Don Russell owner and editor has a unique way of presenting the news that one can only appreciate if they understand and love Sierra County as much as we do.

The newspaper comes out every Thursday and believe me it's worth a trip to town to pick one up.  No matter what the news is there are regular staples in the paper that are always worth reading like the "Sheriff's Blotter" and "Sourdough Jack" comic.  Don has a way of taking the Sierra County Sheriff's blotter and protecting the innocent and the guilty, while making it a hysterically funny read.  

When reading the blotter I am often reminded of these lyrics from Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant Massacree":

"I want to tell you about the town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where this happened here, they three stop signs and two police officers and one police car,  but when we got to the quote, "scene of the crime" end quote, they had five police officers and three police cars, being the biggest crime of the last fifty years, and everybody wanted to get a newspaper story about it.  And they was using up all kinds of cop equipment they had hanging around the police officer's station.  They was taking plater tire tracks,  foot prints, dog smelling prints, and they took twenty-seven 8 x 10's color glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one, explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us........" 

If you've ever heard this song you'll understand, and if you haven't find 20 minutes of spare time and here's the link to the song on Youtube and you might understand why I always have these lyrics running through my head when I read the blotter with things listed like:

Barking Dog in  Loyalton
Cows on Hwy 49
Bears in Trees in Downieville

It is worth the read especially if you're from the city to see the biggest crimes of the week....hehe!

You can subscribe to the Mountain Messenger and have it delivered to your home or office to stay up to date on news, upcoming events and more.

To subscribe or for other questions or comments you can contact the paper directly by telephone at (530) 289 - 3262 and Jill who does most of the work will be happy to assist you.  Sorry, there is no website or Facebook Page as Don might lose his mind if there ever was one....hehe!  But you have to know Don to understand that as well.  


The Downieville Carriage House Inn is an iconic property located in the heart of Downieville alongside the Downie River that provides their guests a relaxing and peaceful stay.  The inn is within walking distance to all the attractions in the area including shops, restaurants, the Downieville Museum, Sierra County Courthouse with its rich history, the Yuba Theatre, Mountain Bike Shuttles, fishing in the Downie and N. Yuba River, hiking trails and more.   

It's access to the Downie River is second to none, with a large yard for you to enjoy with the peaceful sounds of the river flowing by.  

Each of the riverside rooms has its own deck to enjoy which really brings the outdoors in.   The experience of staying at the Carriage House Inn is all about the tranquility you find and the river.  

There is also a wonderful gazebo in the yard for family and friends to come together and enjoy a bbq on the grill or just sit and catch up sharing stories about the days' adventures and the wonderful time that everyone is having on their trip.  

On each of the decks there is plenty of comfortable seating to enjoy the delicious continental breakfast served each morning or to share a bottle of wine with that special someone.  

Of course it is still about the rooms and the Carriage House's quaint charm brings a wonderful touch to your Gold Rush Town experience.  They have eight rooms at the inn and each one is a little different offering various amenities including television, wifi, continental breakfast, mountain bike storage, guest services and recommendations for activities in the area. The rooms are all bright and airy rooms comfortably designed with lots of natural light to let in the colors of the lush landscape in while the sounds of the river provide that special touch for a restful night's sleep.  

The Carriage House Inn is also the perfect setting to celebrate an anniversary, hold a family reunion, birthday party, or even an intimate wedding ceremony alongside the river, 

Liz and her husband Rich are wonderful Inn Keepers and their wealth of knowledge of the local area is superb and they go out of their way to insure that each of their guests' needs and expectations are not only met, but surpassed.

The Carriage House Inn is open year round for all the Fall and Winter activities and events, too.  They are  also fido-friendly, so be sure to ask them about their pet policy if you desire.  

We hope you enjoyed this look at the Carriage House Inn a wonderful place to stay while you enjoy and take in all that Downieville and the surrounding Tahoe National Forest has to offer.  I know for a fact that when Brandi and I were married in Downieville her parents who came up for the wedding had a terrific time staying at the Carriage House Inn. 

To Learn More about the Carriage House Inn 
please visit them on the web at:

To make a reservation you can call them directly at: (530) 289 - 3573


When I think about Downieville I remember things from 35 years ago to now.  I remember the Bakery and picking up some fresh bread for my mom for dinner later that night when we stayed at the Shangri-la and later at the Lure.  Or going to the Grocery Store with its wooden floors and Pick and Shovel diner inside getting a sandwich and hanging out on the bench outside talking with the locals who told a pesky kid like me where to fish.  

I remember having breakfast with my parents at the Forks on the patio watching the Downie River go by and wondering to myself when are they going to be done with their coffee so we can head out fishing and hiking.  Or my dad's favorite place that he always made sure we went to on upper Main at Hospital Bridge and Pauley Creek where it joined the Downie River as we fished for wild browns. 

I remember the donkey races around town and the excitement of the people and the businesses that wanted to win to hold bragging rights for that year, the prospector days, and miners dredging on the N. Yuba River and talking to them as I fished below their dredge about how what kind of gold they were getting.  I remember the poker room in the back of the St. Charles and looking through the window as a kid and wishing I was old enough to get in on that game.  

Most of those things are gone today, but one thing still holds true, "The Spirit of the Town and the People" that created it is still alive and well just waiting for you to explore it, not just for the past 35 years, but for the past 160 years.  

One of the ways to do that is through at trip to the Downieville Museum and the Downieville Walking Tour.  

The museum is full and I mean full of history and artifacts that tell a story of the original settlers and the way they lived.  How the town grew up out of the forest to reach heights of being a significant city in California.  The archives are full of photographs, written documents, and pieces from history that inspire wonderment and to imagine the courage and sacrifice that it must have taken to live in such a day.  

Take a trip to the Sierra County Courthouse and view the Sierra County Nugget Collection on display as well as other fantastic treasures.  Head next door and visit the Sheriff's Office and see the pictures of the past Sheriffs and read the newspaper clippings on the wall.  Right next to that you'll see the Gallows as they stand as reminder of how just how swift justice was in the early days of Downieville and Sierra County.

Stop around town and read the many plaques on the buildings as they all tell a story.  Like this one about Juanita.

Take a trip to the Downieville Cemetery and read the headstones and grasp a feeling of their spirit that made Downieville such a remarkable place.  

There is so much to see just walking through town, but more important than what you see is what you feel if you really take a quiet moment and sit with your heart open and ready to receive.  I can tell you that every time I come back or even when I lived there, I sat many times on Main Street in the winter when no one was around with my eyes closed and my heart open to truly take in what the essence of this town and the lasting grasp it holds on so many people.

I truly believe there is no city or town left in California that is anything like Downieville nor the wonderful people who call it home.   

Recommendation on lodging if you're planning to take a historic tour of  Downieville we recommend that you stay at the Carriage House Inn in the heart of Downieville.  You can visit them on the web to learn more here: