South Yuba River State Park
Record snowfall has changed the river this year. Be advised there are areas of potentially dangerous, swift, cold water. Before heading to the river, check the volume and speed of water flow where you plan to visit. Wear a life jacket – it could save your life. Loaner life jackets are available for visitors to the South Yuba River at Bridgeport, Hoyt's Crossing, and Hwy 49 Bridge.
Independence Trail Partial Closure Due to Jones FireIndependence Trail is partially closed to the public due to safety concerns and resource protection in the aftermath of the 2020 Jones Fire. A District Superintendent Order enacting the closure is currently in effect. The historic Independence Trail, off Highway 49 in western Nevada County, is closed west of the intersection with the newly re-aligned Jones Bar Trail to Rush Creek.
State Park crews are actively surveying the damage and working toward the restoration of this trail system. The work is extensive and may involve extended closure.
Thank you for your cooperation and understanding in staying off the trails for your own safety. If you have any further questions, please call the Sierra District Office at (530) 273-3884.
Bridgeport Covered Bridge Restoration ProjectWe welcome people to walk through the covered bridge and take a step back in time! The bridge connects hiking trails and the historic area, allowing visitors to relive the mining-era days of travel along the turnpike.
This historic landmark reopened to the public on November 4th, 2021 after being closed for 10 years due to safety concerns. Preservation is a community effort, and would not have been possible without decades of community involvement. With the support of State Parks, Sierra Gold Parks Foundation, Nevada County, South Yuba River Citizens’ League, and the Nevada County Regional Chamber of Commerce, private citizens, and elected officials, Save Our Bridge gained the attention and eventual $6.9 million in funding to make this goal a reality. The rehabilitation project spanned mid-2019 through the fall of 2021 by Spectra Company and is an inspiring example how a community can come together to save an historical treasure for future generations.
Click here for the chronicled progress of the project.
California State Parks acknowledges the Nisenan People were here in this State Park since time immemorial. The Nisenan People are still here today, though they are nearly invisible.
The Sierra District of California State Parks includes their story in our interpretation and education here at the South Yuba River State Park. We understand we are on Nisenan Land and that the original Tribal Families have yet to recover from the near genocide of their people during the California Gold Rush.
California State Parks supports the Nevada City Rancheria Tribe in efforts to stabilize their people as well as the campaign to restore Tribal sovereignty through Federal Recognition.
Watch our interview with Nisenan Tribal Spokesperson, Shelly Covert recording here
South Yuba River State Park headquarters located at Bridgeport, 17660 Pleasant Valley Rd can be accessed from Highway 20 west of Grass Valley or from Higway 49 north of Nevada City. Remote portions of the park are accessible from Edwards Crossing, Purdon Crossing, and Highway 49.
This 20-mile portion of the South Yuba River canyon stretches from Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park to Bridgeport covered bridge. The area includes the longest single-span covered bridge in the world, the steep rugged canyon of the South Yuba River, and the Independence Trail - the first identified wheelchair-accessible wilderness trail in the country.
South Yuba River State Park offers many scenic vistas. Visitors can view swift moving water carving the granitic canyon that is peppered with seasonal native blooms in springtime, and experience refreshing swimming holes that dot the 20 mile length of the Yuba River in late summer. Along the length of the park, visitors can see several architectually different bridges spanning from the Gold Rush era to the mid-20th century.
Visitors can enjoy:
- bird watching
- panning for gold
- wildflowers in the spring
- hiking in the historic gold country
- docent-led history, wildflower, birding, geology, and gold-panning tours are also offered at selected times throughout the year
Adventuresome hikers have a choice of trails ranging in difficulty, from the easiest (Independence Trail), to other more strenuous trails throughout the park. Click on the "Hiking" link above right to explore all the hiking trail options.
Winter and Spring weather conditions can cause the trail to become muddy and impassable for wheelchairs. Call the park for trail condition information before you go.
Filming Videos and Still Photography in State Parks
California State Parks requires an approved film permit for:
- All commercial still photography and videography
- Professional photographers offering services
- Student photo/film
- Professional development projects
Drones are not permitted unless a special permit is granted. Use film and photography permits link below for further contact information.
To learn more, please visit our blog here.
For specific film permit information at Empire Mine State Historic Park, Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park or South Yuba River State Park, please review Sierra Gold Sector Film Permit information.