Iowa Hill, Historic Gold Mining Town

In tiny Iowa Hill, one can see how local gold mining areas looked in the 1800s. Gold was discovered here in 1853, and extensive hydraulic mine sites remain. Local events commemorate the history and natural beauty of the area; gold panning, hiking, wildflower outings, and birding. Annual events include the Miners Ball and Gold Rush Days.

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Latitude: 39.1071425 Longitude: -120.8601183 Elevation: 2818 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Evan Jones

About this Establishment

There are many historical trails nearby on which one can find bedrock mortars left by Native Americans, and equipment left by miners. There is camping nearby at Sugar Pine Reservoir and at Mineral Bar. Historical highlights include the Dinner Tree where pioneers rested along the stage route from Colfax to Iowa Hill, a well-documented pioneer cemetery, and the Wells Fargo vault.

The road from Colfax to Iowa Hill offers incredible canyon views, with spectacular waterfalls in season. While the road is paved, it is very primitive and not advisable for trailers or the faint of heart! Be prepared for steep, twisting mountain roads (one-lane at times) with no guard rails, sheer cliffs, a river crossing, and lots of spectacular views.

Driving Directions:

From I-80, take exit #135/COLFAX (CA-174 W)/GRASS VALLEY - go 0.10 mi/0.2 km, turn Right on S CANYON WAY - go 0.40 mi/0.6 km, turn Left on IOWA HILL RD - go 9.2 mi/14.9 km

See for detailed information.

Time Period Represented

All year

Hours Open

8am to 8pm

Visitor Fees


Seasons Open


Price Style for this Establishment


ADA Accessibility Notes

Store is ADA accessible.

Pet Friendly Notes

Pets are welcome.


The Colfax-to-Iowa Hill Road is exceedingly dangerous. Travelers should not attempt to drive this route unless having driven it before. Although somewhat interesting, Iowa Hill is not "tourist friendly". Proceed with great caution, if you must.

David Wiltsee, 8/24/2010

I have never been more in love with such a tiny town in all of my life. The hike itself is truly magical (minus the poison oak I got last trip~lol) but the locals are not to be believed. Everyone there from Priscilla to Moose to the local in and outs....nobody has ever made us feel so welcome! So glad to have found this true GEM!

Tabitha Anne Worley, 5/31/2012

Great little town and store with wonderful history as well. The locals are all nice and polite and welcoming.

eric elmore, 1/26/2016

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