South Yuba River State Park

South Yuba River State Park

17660 Pleasant Valley Rd.
Penn Valley, California 95946
Visit Website
Local Phone: (530) 432-2546

South Yuba River State Park is not a contiguous park, but rather a patchwork of lands spread along a 20-mile section of river from Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park on the east to the Bridgeport covered bridge in the west.

The bridge, built in 1862,  was restored after heavy damage in 1997 floods and is due for another round of restoration starting soon. It's  the longest sing-span covered bridge in the country.

Also one-of-a-kind is the Indepenence Trail, which, like many "ditch trails" in the region, follows the route of a Gold Rush-era mining flume.

Miles of ramps and bridges spanning steep ravines were engineered to make this the first purpose-built, wheelchair accessible wilderness trial in the nation.

Other paths in the park hug bluffs above the river, traverse the rugged canyon and lead to idyllic, late-summer swimming holes.

Wildflower viewing on the bluffs above the river is great in late March and early April,  especially in the Bridgeport sector of the park. Docent-led history, nature and gold-panning tours are offered on several summer weekends. 

• Dogs on leash are allowed everywhere but in the swimming area adjacent to the Bridgeport covered bridge.

The South Yuba River State Park headquarters, visitor center and bridge are at 17660 Pleasant Valley Road,  Bridgeport. From Highway 20 about 7.5 miles west of Grass Valley (or 24 miles east of Marysville), turn north on Pleasant Valley and follow it 7.8 winding miles to the park. Remote portions of the park are accessible from Edwards Crossing, Purdon Crossing, and Highway 49.

• The visitor center parking lot is open from 10 a.m. to sunset; a $5 parking fee is charged.
• Visitor center hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays.
• This park was among 70 slated to close in July 2012 due to state budget shortfalls. A grassroots effort to save it succeeded, with  operations to be financed by parking fees. 
• In late 2011, the bridge was closed to pedestrians due to "structural deficiencies." Its interior remains blocked off with unsightly chain-link fencing. In 2014, funding was granted to make needed repairs, which will take at least two years., dog friendly, yuba river, bridgeport covered bridge, buttermilk bend trail, independence trail, south yuba river trail, swimming holes, splash spots, wildflowers, history, gold rush, pleasant valley, nevada county, wheelchair, wilderness

South Yuba River State Park <br/> Photo Credit: @ryno_in_california
South Yuba River State Park
Photo Credit: @ryno_in_california
The Sierra foothills cover hundreds of square miles, so your best bet for a wildflower-and-waterfalls weekend is to narrow down an itinerary. Our suggestion: take Highway 20 east out of Marysville (Sutter County) and spend a day or a weekend exploring several sites between there and Grass Valley/Nevada City, a distance of about 40 miles. more »
Captain of the canoe! <br/>Photo Credit: @siroliversworld
Captain of the canoe!
Photo Credit: @siroliversworld
Your dog may not be able to paddle her own canoe, but you’ll have a blast paddling for her with an assist from an outfitter who knows how to help water-loving canines and their people have fun. Among our favorite DogTrekker activities is paddling a languidly flowing, 8.5-mile stretch of the Russian River around the dog-friendly, wine-centric town of Healdsburg in Sonoma Countymore »
Winding your way up Interstate 80 on the way from Sacramento to Lake Tahoe, you'll pass through or near Placer and Nevada County communities ranging from modern suburbs to historic Gold Rush-era settlements that look plucked from a Western movie set. Save time for them, by all means, but don’t pass up open-space gems such as 30,000-acre Auburn State Recreation Areamore »
Bridgeport covered bridge
When it comes to Northern California hikes that combine scenery, history and wildflowers, not much can trump South Yuba River State Park  near the town of Penn Valley in Nevada Countymore »
Flume switchbacks in the Independence Trail in Nevada County We’re thrilled to report that one of California’s most dog-friendly state parks has been saved by the bell—or rather, the community bark. South Yuba River State Park, one of few state parks to allows dogs on all its trails, will stay open thanks to grassroots efforts by school children and a citizens' group that convinced Nevada County officials to institute parking fees to help fund operations. more »
Pie shop sign at apple hillThe seven counties that make up California’s Gold Country cover a lifetime’s worth of territory to explore with your dog.  more »

Give the dog a flumeDogs love clambering over the reconstructed wooden flumes that make the South Yuba River Independence Trail in Nevada County so unique. And it's OK for their people to go slow, as this is truly a trail for all, from wheelchair users to hard-body hikers who use it as a jumping-off point for more strenuous pursuits. Go west from the trailhead for about a mile to encounter the highlight, a 520-foot-long switchback ramp leading to a scenic swimming hole where Rover can splash while you dip your feet. The east branch of the trail features ravine-bridging flumes and dizzying views. 

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