Guest Post: This State Park is Pure Gold


David Slack is the Accounting Manager in the California State Parks Foundation’s San Francisco office. He fell in love with Plumas-Eureka after a visit this spring and is now frequently spotted wearing his Plumas-Eureka State Park Foundation shirt around the office.  This is his take on his new favorite park.

I recently found myself at the Plumas-Eureka State Park for my second and third visit this summer.

Gary (left) and David (right)

For the past several years I have been spending more time in the Greaegle/Portola area of the Tahoe Mountains, and when I saw the Plumas-Eureka State Park was on the state parks closure list, I thought I should check it out before it was too late.

Our first visit to the Plumas-Eureka State Park was around Memorial Day this year, when we had company visiting. We intended to see more of the park, but once we arrived at the museum we were so fascinated with the history of the formation of the surrounding mountains, as well as the exhibits, stories and photos of the Gold Miners who flocked to this area in the mid-1800s to try to strike it rich, we spent several hours just around the museum itself.

The main museum has a variety of displays focused on the local animals, rocks and minerals, as well as the gold mining that made many a man rich for their efforts.

There is a mining machinery display, a mill and a blacksmith shop, as well as photos and stories of life in the 1840s and 1850s in this area near Johnsonville, CA.

Mining machinery at Plumas-Eureka

It’s free to visit the park and the museum for a day, however, if you’d like to stay at one of the 67 campsites, there is a nominal charge for that. You can even go gold panning for a day for $4.

The following week we had different company, and brought them to the museum to share what we’d found, where we began speaking with Pat O’Reilly, an interpreter with the park. He said he was leading a hike the next day, and we made plans to go along.

The next day Pat led us along the Eureka Peak Trail Loop. It was a bit over 1.5 miles, and we saw Mountain Quail, White Headed Woodpeckers and Olive Sided Flycatchers.

He also pointed out Lodgepole Pines, Western White Pines, Scolars willows, and huge sugar pine cones. The Lake itself was so still and quite. What a sight.

Once we were back at the museum, we stared speaking with one of the Docents, and we were happy to learn that the Plumas-Eureka State Park Foundation was attempting to raise enough monies to keep the park open for another year. After such a fun time, I had to join the Association.

Jamison Creek

On our way out of the park, we found another picnic area on Jamison Creek, where the water was crystal clear, and cold as ice. We couldn’t help but kicking off our shoes and dipping our feet in.

What a fun trip.

Have you been to Plumas-Eureka State Park?

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