Travel Back in Time
Take your class on an unforgettable gold rush field trip! FIELDGUIDES' Malakoff Diggins program lets students experience California Gold Rush history first-hand. Our program takes place in the beautiful Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park located in the Sierra Nevada foothills. These rolling yellow pine belt forests are the home to California's largest and most profitable hydraulic mining site, the Malakoff mine. Students get to explore the mine and marvel at the socially transformative and environmentally destructive powers of the Gold Rush. While learning about the Gold Rush's lasting impacts on California students try their hands at gold panning along Humbug Creek, search for quartz crystals in the old hydraulic mine, and tour the cemetery and ghost town of North Bloomfield, all guided by our wonderfully creative, knowledgeable, and fun staff.
Perhaps nothing about California's Gold Rush is more exciting to a 4th Grader than the chance of actually finding gold. Like the 49ers before them, they are easily susceptible to the highly contagious gold fever. At FIELDGUIDES we use that natural enthusiasm as a means to not only teach students how to pan for gold, but also to explain what the life of a miner was really like. While gold panning is no easy task, actually finding gold in the bottom of your pan reminds us why miners couldn't help but shout EUREKA!
"It is a fine thing to see people in dead earnest about anything. Even so dull of business as gold-getting may be interesting. Nature scatters grains of gold in gravel beds, and so the crowds in cities spring to life and are scattered over the farthest wildernesses ...one must admire the energy of those who seek it in the face of cold, hunger, and self-denying toil. But in the search many become insane and strike about blindly in fierce excitement, moved by the mere lust of wealth than appreciation of its right use." John Muir
North Bloomfield Ghost Town Tour
Our programs are capped off by a tour of the ghost town of North Bloomfield. The old town has a general store, pharmacy, saloon, stable, businessman's home, and a gold rush museum open for the students to explore. The town tour offers a contrasting view to the miners' side of the California Gold Rush, and students get a better picture of who really made money during that era.
All of FIELDGUIDES' programs have a strong emphasis on outdoor living, student autonomy, and building community. Our programs have a unique "family-style" camping format that helps students grow socially and emotionally. By sleeping outside and helping with daily chores students gain a deeper connection to themselves, others, and the natural world. Find out more about our camping format.