census-designated place in Calaveras County, California

Murphys is an old gold-mining town in Calaveras County within the Gold Country region of California. The town has been a tourist destination since the late 1800s due to its proximity to the giant sequoia trees in Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Today the walkable main street offers a number of wine-tasting rooms, restaurants, and tourist-friendly shops while providing an "old-timey" feel that hearkens back to the Gold Rush days.

Understand Edit

Historic Murphys Hotel in downtown Murphys

In 2010, the town was hone to 2,200 people.

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Get around Edit

See Edit

  • 1 Mercer Caverns. Mercer Caverns is a show cave located 1 mile (1.6 km) north of Murphys. It is named after the gold prospector Walter J. Mercer who discovered the caves around 1885 and filed a claim. The caverns have a large number of speleothems, stalactites, and stalagmites. It is formed in a marble unit known as the Calaveras Formation. It also contains a large display of aragonite frostwork. Tours last about 45 minutes, covering a total distance of approximately 0.25 miles (0.40 km) and descending to a depth of 161 feet (49 m) below the surface. There are 208 steps while descending into the cavern and 232 steps while ascending, the equivalent of a 16-story building. The cave remains a constant temperature of 55 °F (13 °C); visitors should wear a light jacket and comfortable walking shoes. There is also a visitor center and store on site. $19 for adults, $11 for children ages 3-12 years (2020 prices).    
  • 2 Murphys Old Timers Museum, 470 Main St. F-Su noon-4PM. This small museum has exhibits on the local Gold Rush history and the native Miwok people who once lived in the area. Free but donations are appreciated.

Do Edit

There are three golf courses, tennis, fishing, hiking, gold panning expeditions, white water rafting, shopping, winter skiing at Bear Valley plus summer water skiing on New Melones Lake.

  • Murphys Irish Day. Held annually on the third Saturday in March, the Murphys Irish Day festival attracts thousands of visitors to celebrate the town's Irish heritage. Main Street fills with booths offering arts and crafts, a parade is held featuring bagpipes, horses, marching bands, and classic cars, and musicians, dancers and jugglers entertain throughout the day. Free.

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Drink Edit

Murphys is becoming a rival to some Napa Valley towns for vineyards and wineries, with more than a dozen tasting rooms located along Main Street, and vineyards located just outside of town.

  • 1 Bodega Del Sur Winery, 457 S Algiers St., +1 209 728-9030. Tasting Room for fine wines. One of the award winning wineries in the area
  • 2 Ironstone Vineyards, 1894 6 Mile Rd, +1 209 728 1251, . Ironstone Vineyards is one of the largest wineries in the country in terms of cases sold; in 2004 it ranked as America's 17th largest. The vineyards offer wine tasting, estate tours, gardens, weddings, concerts, corporate events, a gourmet deli, wine caves, and a jewelry shop.    
  • 3 Tanner Vineyards & Wines, 435 Main Street, +1 209-728-8229, . Tasting Room and Wine Patio where wine & food pairing go hand in hand, often with live music. Active, very popular wine-centric events. Known for their estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon and Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Mourvedre, Barbera and a signature red blend Mélange de Mere. Discover a new white with their Vermentino Viognier blend.

Sleep Edit

  • Dunbar House, 271 Jones St, +1 209 728-2897, toll-free: +1-800-692-6006, fax: +1 209 728-1451, . Luxurious bed and breakfast in a historic 1880s home. $199-275.
  • Gold Country Inn, 720 South Main St, +1 209 736-4611, toll-free: +1-800-851-4944, fax: +1 209 736-4832, . Pets allowed. $50-175.
  • 1 Murphys Historic Hotel, 457 Main St, +1 209 728-3444, fax: +1 209 532-1590, . Opened in 1856, this hotel has hosted guests including President Ulysses S. Grant and Mark Twain. Today the historic hotel offers a saloon, restaurant, and nine hotel rooms with shared bathrooms including the Grant suite, which is available for non-guests to visit. There are also twenty modern rooms in separate buildings that include in-room bathrooms and most amenities that today's travelers expect. Guests in the historic hotel should be on the lookout for the establishment's friendly ghost "Eleanor". Parking is available on-site for guests. $95-189 for a standard room (prices increase on weekends and in the summer).    
  • The Victoria Inn, +1 209 728-8933. An elegant inn that also has a restaurant, bar, and offers weekly rentals.

Go next Edit

Neighboring destinations

  • 1 Angels Camp - Angels Camp is a Gold Rush town where Mark Twain overheard a tale that inspired his short story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County"; today the town hosts a "Jumping Frog Jubilee" every May that draws thousands of visitors. Visitors will also enjoy the historic downtown and find amenities including several hotels and restaurants. Attractions located just outside of town include the Natural Bridges trail, a 2 miles (3.2 km) hike through two short but spectacular limestone caverns that have been carved out by Coyote Creek, as well as the Carson Hill ghost town, a former mine where a 195 pound troy gold nugget was unearthed in 1854.
  • 2 Columbia
  • 3 Arnold - Arnold is a tiny town that offers supplies, restaurants and lodging for visitors to the giant sequoia groves of neighboring Calaveras Big Trees State Park. The town is also the starting point for the Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway, a 61 miles (98 km) stretch of Highways 4 and 89 that leads through incredible mountain scenery as it crosses over 8,736 feet (2,663 m) Ebbetts Pass, one of the Sierra's least-traveled mountain passes. Additionally, Arnold is home to a 7 acres (2.8 ha) logging museum that has indoor and outdoor exhibits of large logging equipment and artifacts.
  • 4 Sonora
  • 5 Calaveras Big Trees State Park - This 6,498-acre park preserves two groves of giant sequoia trees, with the easily-accessible north grove home to approximately 100 trees, while the more remote south grove is home to about 1,000 trees. It has been a tourist destination since 1852 and is considered the longest continuously operated tourist facility in California. A campground is available from March through November.
Routes through Murphys
StocktonAngels Camp  W   E  ArnoldMarkleeville

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