South Yuba River


Spring has arrived, if only for a brief visit between storms, but with these unseasonably warm temperatures it’s a perfect time to get outside and go for a hike.  For a great list of outdoor adventures check out the highlights on our website.  While it’s a little early for the wildflowers down at Bridgeport on the Buttermilk Bend Trail, it’s still a great spring hike, before it gets too hot. The easy 2 1/2 mile trail runs alongside the South Yuba River and is great for all ages.  If you’re staying at the Outside Inn and want a hike that’s accessible from downtown Nevada City, the Deer Creek Tribute Trail and the Hirschman Trail are both great options.  The ladybugs are out in full force at the Deer Creek Tribute Trail, so make sure to stop and look for them, because once you find them you’ll realize they’re everywhere.  And a final suggestion for folks who are looking for a great all ages adventure try the Independence Trail.  If you’re looking for more trail information try the Bear Yuba Land Trust trails portal or stop by the Outside Inn’s office for a number of free trail guides.  What’s your favorite go to hiking spot in Nevada City/Grass Valley?  Want to win a BYLT trail cards?  Post a comment on this blog post on a hiking suggestion and I’ll draw the winner on Wednesday, February 17th.  And the winner of last week’s Valentine’s Day giveaway is Sarah.

2016-02-10_0002© 2016 InnSide Nevada City, Photos © by Erin Thiem, Val Camp and Heather Goodspeed-Walters

21 replies
  1. Vanessa Saavedra
    Vanessa Saavedra says:

    I can’t wait to check out all of the trails described here that are new to me, but as pedestrian as it may sound, I really enjoy the trails at Empire Mine SHP in Grass Valley. It’s mellow and shaded, I saw wild lilies, and my canine hiking buddy enjoyed the little springtime creek.

  2. Ingrid Knox
    Ingrid Knox says:

    The weather is perfect for a nice walk outside. The mud should also be dried up making the trails more passable.

  3. Areta
    Areta says:

    I loved the Independence Trail hike. It’s a great hike, a good one for beginners too. Lots of shade, beautiful scenery and it’s wheelchair accessible also. Easy driving instructions to get there and good parking.

  4. Darci
    Darci says:

    I just went on Independence Trail for the first time and it was amazing!!! Buttermilk Bend in the Spring is not to be missed! The flowers are AHmazing!

  5. Diane Richards
    Diane Richards says:

    The Buttermilk Trail will always have a special place in my heart. Since I was really young, I wanted to see a mass bloom of wildflowers (besides mustard). I have seen articles throughout the years about where to see great wildflowers, but they rarely mention the time of year to see them. Growing up, I never had the opportunity to hike, with my parents saying it is too dangerous. A few years ago, I saw an article on and a photo of the beautiful covered bridge about the South Yuba River State Park and the docent led wildflower hikes. I log onto the South Yuba River State Park webpage to find out the dates and learn a little bit about what I was getting myself into. Looking at the schedule, there were only a couple of weekends left of the docent led tours. The upcoming weekend was Easter. I called the park to verify to see if the wildflower hike was still going to happen on Sunday because it was Easter. They told me yes. I go onto mapquest and print my direction and to get the estimated driving time so I can leave the house in time so I don’t miss the hike. The drive is about a 90 minuteish drive.

    It is Sunday morning. There had been off and on showers the evening before, but it is dry in Sacramento. If the hike is cancelled, I know I was in for a beautiful drive to Nevada County, which I had not done for some time and I will at least see the beautiful covered bridge I had no idea existed. I get onto 49 in Auburn and it is pouring down rain. I am a trooper and have faith, remembering the clearing cloud layer and that I have another hour for the rains to clear up. I have a lot of faith Mother Nature will let up, I keep driving. As I approach Penn Valley, the rains turned into a light sprinkle. I see the beautiful daffodils planted in spots along the roadside. The drive was incredibly beautiful for this valley girl. The green grasses on the landscape along with all the trees budding was an incredible treat to the city girl’s eyes. I am getting really excited that I am not far from the park. The road narrows. There is not much out here, I don’t see any signs saying how far the park is, I hope I am going in the right direction because there was no place to pull over and ask someone for directions now. When I finally get to the park when I spotted the beautiful bridge, I parked in the parking lot across the street from the bridge, since I saw a port-a-potty and needed some relief before I try to find out where the hike starts. To my surprise, after I take care of my business, two women were setting up a table. I asked if they knew anything about the hike. They were the docents. YAY! The rain had stopped, but the clouds still looked a little bit iffy. I did not bring a rain jacket or umbrella since it was dry in Sacramento. All was good and the hike was still on, I am thinking I won’t melt. I want to see the wildflowers! Because of the earlier rain, the docents waited 15 minutes to give folks a little extra time. I make my donation in the iron guard as instructed. The rains kept folks in that morning. I got a private docent led tour and the docent had an umbrella and said the wildflowers like the rain if it sprinkles. I learned a lot about the various wildflowers, bloom and the incredibly beautiful South Yuba River, which I knew nothing about. I also got an extended tour, since I was by myself and my docent did not want to go back home and cook Easter Dinner for a house full of guest, yet. She told me the color labels were moved on a weekly basis, based on where the most bloom for a particular wildflower/native plant is. She told me about the rich history of the park. Some some incredible mass bloom of buttercups and Golden Poppies along getting educated about the tiny, beautiful 20-30 something other wildflowers in bloom that most folks miss. I never seen an iris in bloom in the wild. Still beautiful, even though they were nearly spent. Butterflies were starting to come out as we hike back. I could not have asked for a better first hiking experience. I was hooked on hiking and seeing and exploring more at that point. On our way back, the kind docent took me back towards the visitor’s center, through the covered bridge, told me about the Point Defiance Trail and showed me where the restrooms with modern plumbing was. I took a little hike, on the Point Defiance Trail. Being by myself now and hiking the trail later with a Meet Up group, I turned around only a couple of hundred feet before I got to Point Defiance. The wildflowers were not as plentiful, but there were some fresher irises! YES!

    Ok – I digress. FTW, the trails around Empire Mine are great for an introduction to hiking or for a quick and easy hike to get the blood pumping, without having to drive to far into nature or don’t have too much time. If the time of season is right, I enjoy going to Ananda Village to see their beautiful gardens in bloom then go have a picnic lunch at South Yuba State Park to refuel before heading out on the Buttermilk Bend trail in search of wildflowers.

  6. Katie
    Katie says:

    I just found your blog and am so excited! We are taking a family vacation near Nevada City in May and in looking for wheelchair accessible trails I found your site! Wonderful! Thank you

  7. Kim
    Kim says:

    What trails were in the pictures? The wooden ramps look so pretty and I would love to know which trail will get me there:)?

  8. Syd Brown
    Syd Brown says:

    South Yuba Trail, and Round Mountain Trail! Plus Diggins, Rim, and Humbug Creek trails at Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] take advantage of the warm temperatures and go for a hike or the Inn Town Campground’s winter tent camping special.  Or maybe you’d prefer to […]

  2. […] Nevada County Celebration of Trails Day is coming up next Saturday, June 3rd.  The all day, free event organized by Bear Yuba Land Trust kicks off with a number of ways to get out and enjoy the local trails. […]

  3. […] activities for people to do year round.  If you’re not a kayaker, think about going to for a hike, hire a local fishing guide or check out the wildflowers in the […]

  4. […] Nevada County Celebration of Trails Day is coming this Saturday, June 4th.  The all day, free event organized by Bear Yuba Land Trust kicks off with a number of ways to get out and enjoy the local trails. […]

  5. […] advantage of the unseasonably warm weather to head to the South Yuba River yesterday (thanks to this inspiring blog post from the Outside Inn) and I was reminded that our local scenery is certainly […]

  6. […] Town Campground and Visit Nevada City for more information.  And the winner of last week’s BYLT Trail Cards set is […]

  7. […] Family Fun Day at The Center for the Arts or take advantage of the warm temperatures and go for a hike.  Whatever your weekend includes, there’s a lot going on in Nevada City.  And how exciting […]

Comments are closed.