The Buttermilk Bend Trail is an easy, 1.5-mile hike along bluffs above the South Yuba River. It’s especially popular in March, April and May, when wildflowers frame views of the churning river below.
In summer, the river calms down and reveals several popular swimming spots. Dogs are requested to be leashed and are not allowed in the water near the park’s main attraction, a 251-foot-long, historic covered bridge.
• From Grass Valley, go west on Highway 20 to Penn Valley and right (north) on Pleasant Valley Road, 8 miles to Bridgeport.
• Trailhead: Across the bridge from park headquarters, on the north side of the South Yuba River.
• Parking: Designated lot (fee).
• Distance: 1.25 miles each way
• Difficulty: Easy to moderate. Fairly flat except for one 50-yard upslope.
• Seasons: All year.
• Special Features: Abundant wildflowers in spring, nice views of the river canyon. Summer access to many swimming holes.
• Dogs: Allowed on leash except near the bridge. Watch for signage.