It’s been said that Grass Valley was named by settlers whose cattle had wandered from their campsite on Greenhorn Creek to a “grassy valley”. Miners panning for gold along Wolf Creek and a major discovery of gold-bearing quartz in 1850 started a boom. The “grassy valley” was an ideal place to begin building. For a short time the town was called Centerville; later it became Grass Valley. As the number of wage-earning miners grew, Grass Valley became a trading center, and in November 1850 the first town election was held.
Today, Grass Valley is home to numerous historical sites that pay tribute to the California gold rush. Empire Mine State Park is one of the top visited sites by tourists and locals. Events like the annual Cornish Christmas strolls held in downtown Grass Valley are reminiscent of days gone by. However, there’s more substance to Grass Valley than just its history.
The scenic beauty of the surrounding Sierra Foothills offer several outdoor activities including hiking trails, swimming holes, lake recreation and more. Grass Valley is haven to those who appreciate a slower paced lifestyle filled with the good things in life, like close community, family, and friends.