Gold Bug Mine and Stamp Mill in Placerville

On the way to South Lake Tahoe, in the town of Placerville, sits the Gold Bug Mine. This mine is a fantastic stop for the whole family as it has a self-guided, real gold mine tour you can go on, a historic stamp mill and a blacksmiths shop. If you 30 minutes to spare, I am sure you will enjoy your time, here is all the information.

Details

  • $5 to go in the mine
  • Hours: Most day 10 AM – 4 PM
  • Location: 2635 Gold Bug Ln, Placerville, CA 95667

Getting There

From Sacremento, you will take Highway 50 east towards Lake Tahoe. When you reach the town of Placerville, you will get to a light and will turn left at Bedford Ave. Continue on this road for one mile, and then you will turn right on Gold Bug Lane. There is parking near the mine and stamp mill.

The Mine

I recommend heading to the mine first. You get there by going into the building off to the left of the parking area. Proceeding to the second floor where you will see a bunch of mining materials, and there will be a worker who will take your payment for the mine.

After paying, they instruct you to download an app on your phone that you can use to listen to an audio tour while in the mine. This app is such a great idea, and I wonder why more places don’t do it. They also give you a hard hat which I appreciated as I am tall and bumped my head a few times.

The mine tour takes about 30 minutes, and you just walk through the mine and stop at the different numbers then play the app to learn about each one.

As far as I know, this is one of the only self-guided mine tours in California, at least I haven’t done any others. It was great to be able to spend more time at each area if we wanted to and to just go at our own pace.

There is a lot of interesting information to hear on the tour and I enjoyed listening to the entire audio guide.

When you reach the end of the mine, you will turn around and then there are a few additional numbers on the way back out to complete the tour.

When we went on a weekday, and there were only a few other people at the mine which made exploring it even more awesome.

After leaving the mine, you will want to either drive or walk the quarter mile up to the stamp mill.

The Stamp Mill

This historic structure has been here for over a century, and it is still in good shape to this day. It isn’t a working stamp mill anymore, but they show you how a working mill functions at the bottom.

I had seen a few other stamp mills before around California, but it was still interesting to hear more about this one.

The Blacksmith Shop

At the top of the stamp mill is a working blacksmith shop, and the blacksmith was there when we visited making stuff for people. He made my wife a ring out of a bent nail which was a fun little addition to the park.

After exploring a bit more, we left the park and heading on to South Lake Tahoe. If you are looking to add more time to your visit to Placerville, then you can see a few more of my favorite spots in this post.

8 Places to Explore in Placerville: A Gold Mine, Saloon and Much More

On the way to South Lake Tahoe from Sacramento, you will go right through the historic California town of Placerville. Most people don’t stop for more than gas or a drink, but if you have a little time, Placerville is a great place to dive into California history and get some good food. Check out my eight favorite spots in the city below and let me know your favorite in the comments.

Gold Bug Park

Before heading into town, make your first stop Gold Bug Park, about 7 minutes north of downtown. This park has a historic stamp mill, blacksmith shop and a gold mine you can take a self-guided tour of. The gold mine especially is worth the trip to this park, and you can read more about it here.

Bell Tower

After checking out Gold Bug Park, head into town and find a place to park, you can walk to all of the rest of these recommendations. First up is the bell tower right in the center of town. This historic tower is from the mid-1800s, and it was used to wake up the miners in case there was a fire in the city. It is cool to see it still sitting here to this day and you can even see a historic photo of it in the hotel I mention below.

Hangman’s Tree (Historic Saloon)

Down the street from the bell tower is the Hangman’s Saloon which is another building from the 1800’s. This saloon is being renovated back to what it would have looked like, so it is not always open. When it is though, they are no longer serving beer, only ice cream. Be sure to look up as you will see the famous hanging body on the outside of the saloon as well.

Cary House Hotel

Across from the Hangman’s Saloon, there is a historic hotel that is the oldest in the city. While I haven’t stayed there, I did walk in and look at all of the history they have in the lobby. There are old antiques, stained glass windows and historic photos of the town itself. It is a fun, quick stop.

Z Pie

About a block from the hotel sits an awesome restaurant known as Z PIe. I don’t know about you, but I love a good pot pie, and that is what they do here. They have eight different pot pies ranging from steak and chicken to vegetarian, and it is a fun place to try something new.

Candy Shop

Walking up the street in downtown will take you to the candy shop. This store has loads of old school types of candy and even a few buckets of taffy in the back. The best part is that they also sell old trains, which makes it a fun place to explore.

Placerville Historical Museum

About a tenth of a mile from the candy shop is a small two story museum that houses a lot of the area’s history. Even if you are not a history buff, it is interesting to spend a few minutes walking through the museum and seeing the antiques and old photos. There is also another museum in the city called El Dorado County Historical Musuem that I haven’t been to but that I heard is good as well.

Sweet Pies

Another tenth of a mile will bring you to Sweet Pies, which is the most popular restaurant in Placerville. Located in an old Victorian home from the mid-1800’s this is a fun spot for a meal in town. All of the pastries, pies, and bread are made fresh daily, so it is best to order something in that vein. Also, I recommend finishing with a slice of pie as they are great here.

So there you have it, my recommendations for what to do in the city of Placerville. Be sure to let me know what I left off in the comments, and you can find all of my favorite spots in South Lake Tahoe here if that is where you are heading.

8 Places to Explore in Placerville: A Gold Mine, Saloon and Much More

On the way to South Lake Tahoe from Sacramento, you will go right through the historic California town of Placerville. Most people don’t stop for more than gas or a drink, but if you have a little time, Placerville is a great place to dive into California history and get some good food. Check out my eight favorite spots in the city below and let me know your favorite in the comments.

Gold Bug Park

Before heading into town, make your first stop Gold Bug Park, about 7 minutes north of downtown. This park has a historic stamp mill, blacksmith shop and a gold mine you can take a self-guided tour of. The gold mine especially is worth the trip to this park, and you can read more about it here.

Bell Tower

After checking out Gold Bug Park, head into town and find a place to park, you can walk to all of the rest of these recommendations. First up is the bell tower right in the center of town. This historic tower is from the mid-1800s, and it was used to wake up the miners in case there was a fire in the city. It is cool to see it still sitting here to this day and you can even see a historic photo of it in the hotel I mention below.

Hangman’s Tree (Historic Saloon)

Down the street from the bell tower is the Hangman’s Saloon which is another building from the 1800’s. This saloon is being renovated back to what it would have looked like, so it is not always open. When it is though, they are no longer serving beer, only ice cream. Be sure to look up as you will see the famous hanging body on the outside of the saloon as well.

Cary House Hotel

Across from the Hangman’s Saloon, there is a historic hotel that is the oldest in the city. While I haven’t stayed there, I did walk in and look at all of the history they have in the lobby. There are old antiques, stained glass windows and historic photos of the town itself. It is a fun, quick stop.

Z Pie

About a block from the hotel sits an awesome restaurant known as Z PIe. I don’t know about you, but I love a good pot pie, and that is what they do here. They have eight different pot pies ranging from steak and chicken to vegetarian, and it is a fun place to try something new.

Candy Shop

Walking up the street in downtown will take you to the candy shop. This store has loads of old school types of candy and even a few buckets of taffy in the back. The best part is that they also sell old trains, which makes it a fun place to explore.

Placerville Historical Museum

About a tenth of a mile from the candy shop is a small two story museum that houses a lot of the area’s history. Even if you are not a history buff, it is interesting to spend a few minutes walking through the museum and seeing the antiques and old photos. There is also another museum in the city called El Dorado County Historical Musuem that I haven’t been to but that I heard is good as well.

Sweet Pies

Another tenth of a mile will bring you to Sweet Pies, which is the most popular restaurant in Placerville. Located in an old Victorian home from the mid-1800’s this is a fun spot for a meal in town. All of the pastries, pies, and bread are made fresh daily, so it is best to order something in that vein. Also, I recommend finishing with a slice of pie as they are great here.

So there you have it, my recommendations for what to do in the city of Placerville. Be sure to let me know what I left off in the comments, and you can find all of my favorite spots in South Lake Tahoe here if that is where you are heading.