Tours to take you back to Empire’s heydays

Self-Guided Tours: Explore the Park at your own leisure, and stay as long as you like at the places that interest you most. Pick up a brochure and map at the Visitors Center, and enjoy your day your way!


Guided Tours: (Included in your admission, except for the Cottage Living History Experience.) Let our Tour Guide docents share their knowledge, and take you back in time, so you can discover Empire’s lasting legacy.

Cottage Grounds: A 45-minute tour through Empire Mine’s colorful history, including the owners and the experts in the mine’s development.  See Empire Cottage, the Clubhouse, and the ruins of mine manager George Starr’s family home.

Mineyard: A 45-minute tour filled with fascinating facts about how the gold was mined and processed. You’ll learn eye-opening statistics as well as how the equipment, mules and miners made Empire Mine so prosperous.

Gardens and Grounds: A 1-hour tour that’s a delight for gardening enthusiasts. Empire Cottage’s famous gardens feature many varieties of roses and other plants. Most of the roses are from original plantings around 1897 – well over a century ago!


Living History: Meet the characters who shaped our history, portrayed by convincing docents. Personal insights, little-known facts, and lavish period costumes make the experience memorable.

Go ahead and ask them questions. The answers are historic and often, entertaining. Living History is presented on selected summertime weekends only, and is included in admission, with the exception of the Cottage Living History Experience for which there is a $2 additional charge.

Clubhouse Living History: Tennis anyone? See the old tennis court site, the squash court, bowling alley, billiards table and the stately ballroom. Here is where the Bourns’ guests came to relax and have fun.

Mineyard Living History: Discover the grit behind the prosperity! Learn the nuts-and-bolts side of successful mining in the Mineyard Office, the Machine Shop and in the popular Blacksmith Shop. The Mineyard Office, the Machine Shop and the popular Blacksmith “Smithy” show you the nuts-and-bolts side of successful mining. Tour offered on the first Saturday of each month during our Living History season.

Cottage Living History Experience: The prestigious Bourn Family is in residence, and you are a most welcome guest in their “cottage” home. For many Park visitors, this is the highlight of their day. Docents dressed in early 1900s’ costumes portray not only the Bourns, but the Starrs, as well as chatty, charming housekeeper Katie Moriarty. An up-close-and-personal experience you’ll never forget! (There is an additional $2 charge for this tour.)

Private Tours:  Special group tours may be arranged in advance. Traditional Cornish pasty lunches served in the old Clubhouse may also be included. Phone (530) 273-8522, and reserve your date.

School Tours: Teachers and students agree that a visit to Empire Mine State Historic Park makes a day of learning fun. Tours can be either self-guided or guided. However, reservations are required. Phone (530) 273-8522, and one of our Visitors Center staff members will help you choose a date.

Click here to see a general Activities Calendar.