South Yuba River Independence Trail: A dog-friendly adventure

By: DogTrekker Staff
Independence Trail. Photo by Nevada City Chamber of Commerce.

Exploring the wooden flumes

The South Yuba River Independence Trail in Nevada County is a delightful place to visit with your dog. The trail features reconstructed wooden flumes that dogs love to explore, making it a popular destination for dog owners and their pets. You’ll see a variety of people on this trail, from wheelchair users to experienced hikers, and everyone in between.

A scenic swimming hole

If you start from the trailhead and head west for about a mile, you’ll find a 520-foot-long switchback ramp leading to a scenic swimming hole. It’s a perfect spot for dogs to play in the water while you relax by the river. The trail’s ravine-bridging flumes and scenic views offer a unique setting for a hike with your four-legged friend.

Following dog rules on the trail

It’s essential to follow the trail’s dog rules. Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times to ensure the safety of other visitors and to protect the environment. This policy helps maintain a pleasant experience for everyone on the trail. Be sure to bring bags for cleaning up after your dog and carry water for your pet, especially during warmer weather.

Trail closures and safety precautions

It’s worth noting that the Independence Trail has experienced partial closures due to the 2020 Jones Fire, which damaged some sections, particularly the wooden flumes. The closure affects the west portion of the trail from the intersection with the newly re-aligned Jones Bar Trail to Rush Creek. To get the latest updates on trail conditions, contact the South Yuba River State Park office.

A trail with historical significance

The trail has a rich history, following the path of the old Excelsior Canal, which was built in the mid-1800s to supply water for hydraulic mining. The canal was later repurposed for irrigation before being abandoned in 1963. In 1969, John Olmsted rediscovered the rock-lined ditches and adjacent paths, leading to the trail’s development and its designation as the nation’s first wheelchair-accessible wilderness trail.

With its dog-friendly environment, scenic beauty, and historical significance, the South Yuba River Independence Trail is a fantastic spot to enjoy with your dog, as long as you follow the leash rules and respect the trail’s guidelines.


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