One of the most convenient trails in the Sierra foothills is Empire Mines State Park. I say it's convenient because it is actually inside the city limits of Grass Valley, California. Grass valley is right at the "snow line" so you will find a forest of mixed growth, several oak species and other deciduous trees, manzanitas, incense cedars, and towering over all, our spectacular ponderosa pines, formerly known as yellow pines. I'll explain why they used to be called yellow pines in this video.
There are about 12 miles of trails in the park and it's impossible to get lost. Lace 'em up and let's go! There are thee main access ports into the park, Penn Gate where the horsey set stages for their equestrian jaunts, Gold Hill where it is quiet and out of the way, and the main entrance which sports a visitor center, various exhibits, and well-maintained rest rooms. We'll begin today's 6 mile run at the main entrance.