Gold Canyon is located a few miles south of Alleghany, California on the Sierra and Nevada county line. The middle fork of the Yuba River flows through the canyon. Gold mining began in Gold Canyon in the early 1850's and has continued to present day. Three major gold mines are located here: German Bar Mine, Gold Canõn Mine, and Independent Mine.
Before power was brought to the area, the nearby Plumbago Mine built a power plant on the river next to the present day bridge. A dam was also built about a mile up river which fed a 3 foot diameter redwood penstock that supplied high pressure water to the power plant.
Once power was brought to the area, the power plant was shut down, and soon afterward local miners began dismantling the penstock to use the redwood. A fellow named William Whore used the wood to build three cabins. Two of those remain today, but the third burned in 1949.
There was also extensive drag line dredging done in the river, just west of the old power plant site. Hough piles of giant boulders remain in arc shaped piles on the south side of the river.
Gold Canyon has also been the site of three plane crashes, the first one being a large commercial plane in the late 40’s, the second a small private plane in the early 60’s, and the last was a small helicopter around 1980.
Today there is still active mining in Gold Canyon, both placer and hard rock.