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.
IT'S AWESOME! I'VE REALLY MISSED OUT FOR THE LAST 30 YEARS AND I WILL BE BACK AGAIN.
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: http://malakoffdigginsstatepark.org/