We’d love South Yuba River State Park even if its many trails and swimming holes weren’t dog-friendly, and we bet you will, too. This isn’t a contiguous park, but a patchwork of lands in Nevada County along the scenic Yuba River, which changes personalities according to the season.
In summer, you’ll find idyllic, dog-friendly swimming holes at Kneebone Beach near park headquarters in Bridgeport and at Jones Bar alongside the wheelchair-accessible Independence Trail, constructed along a series of old mining ditches and flumes. More than a dozen trails with river views and varying degrees of difficulty will have both you and Sparky working up a pant, and you’re free to try your hand at gold-panning anywhere along the shore. Only one place in the park, the shoreline just south of the park’s landmark covered bridge, is off limits to canine companions.