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Take a Hike to Hardrock and Osborn Hills Loop Trail

Located In: Grass Valley.

Distance: 3.8-mile loop.

Difficulty Level: Moderate.

Know Before You Go: This area is heavily trafficked, so be prepared to share the trail. 

Fuel Up: Stop at Diego’s ( for a Chilean-inspired South American meal made with locally sourced ingredients in eclectic environs. Favorites include the fish tacos on hand-pressed corn tortillas, Santiago Sampler (cheese empanada, stuffed jalapeño, black bean pupusa with cheese, fresh guac, pico de gallo), and honey sriracha shrimp.

Diego’s Restaurant Tacos


Why We Love It: Getting a dose of nature, a splash of wildflowers, and a snapshot of California’s mining history makes this hike a wonderful way to connect to the great outdoors and California’s past. What’s more, there are options to add mileage and it’s close to the quaint, historic hamlet of Grass Valley.

Trail Notes: Ideal for the whole family. Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and practice Leave No Trace ethics.

Going for Gold

The greatest mass movement in the Western Hemisphere took root right here. Bringing over 300,000 people into California, the discovery of gold stimulated massive growth and spurred the development of ports, roads, and churches.  Indigenous peoples in the area suffered greatly, however, from displacement, famine, and what later became known as the California genocide when authorities encouraged attacks on native peoples. At Empire Mine State Historic Park, there’s an opportunity to step back into the past and imagine life in the Gold Rush at what was once the most profitable gold mine in the state.

Hardrock and Osborn Hills Loop Trail


Do you have a favorite trail in the region you’d like to see featured? Tell us all about it at [email protected]


Main photo by Nickol Payne; Butterfly photo by Elsie Gross; Female Hiker photo by Melissa Henderson; Red blossom photo by Carnell Chappelle Jr.; Diego’s photo courtesy of Diego’s.