South Yuba River State Park
(5/18/2022) Due to dry conditions, increased day-use visitation levels, and increasing fire dangers, charcoal fires are prohibited in the day-use areas of the park until December 1, 2022 or further notice.
What is open now?
- South Yuba River State Park is open from sunrise to sunset with COVID-19 guidelines in place.
- Parking fees are $10/vehicle Memorial Day through Labor Day, and $5/vehicle during the off season. Credit card payment through automatic payment machines is encouraged to avoid cash handling.
- All trail systems except Independence Trail West are available and active recreation will be permitted.
- Outdoor restrooms will be available.
- Visitor Center typically open on weekends during business hours for fee collection, information, restrooms, and gift shop. Limited visitor access to exhibits inside building. Masks are required in public buildings and spaces where physical distancing is not easily maintained.
Protect yourself, family, friends and your community by following these prevention measures:
- Know Before You Go – Prior to leaving home, check the status of the park unit you want to visit to find out what restrictions and guidelines are in place. Have a back-up plan in case your destination is crowded. Stay home if you are sick
- Plan Ahead – Some restrooms will be temporarily closed to keep up with cleaning schedules. Bring soap/hand sanitizer.
- Play It Safe – Find out what precautions you should take when exploring the outdoors, especially if this is your first time visiting the State Park System. Learn more at parks.ca.gov/SafetyTips.
- Be COVID-19 Safe – State Parks continues to meet guidance from local and state public officials as COVID-19 is still present and still deadly. Effective March 1, 2022, state guidance recommends that all individuals, regardless of vaccine status, continue masking in indoor settings, such as museums and visitor centers. Universal masking remains required in specified high-risk settings. Please plan ahead as local county guidelines may differ from state guidance and visitors are urged to follow county guidelines when required. Read the latest COVID-19 guidance at COVID19.ca.gov.
- Leave No Trace – Leave areas better than how you found them by staying on designated trails and packing out all trash. Do not disturb wildlife or plants.
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.
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
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 west side of the historic Independence Trail, off Highway 49 in western Nevada County, is partially closed after the new connection to the Jones Bar Trail. This new connection was oppened on June 1, 2022 under DSO#683-22-024. Independence Trail west of the intersection with the newly re-aligned Jones Bar Trail to Rush Creek remains CLOSED.
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.
Latest Updates on Bridgeport Covered Bridge Restoration ProjectClosed since 2011 due to safety concerns, this landmark finally reopened to the public on November 4th, 2021. We are thrilled to welcome people to walk across this bridge and take a step back in time. This bridge re-connects hiking trails and the historic area, allowing visitors to relive the mining-era days of travel along the turnpike.
Conservation is a community effort, and the preservation of this historic structure would not have been possible without decades of community support. Supported by 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, SOB gained the attention, support and eventual $6.9 million in funding to make this goal a reality. Rehabilitation spanned mid-2019 through the fall of 2021 by Spectra Company. This extensive and careful rehabilitation effort is an inspirational example how a community can come together to save a historical treasure for future generations.
Click here for the chronicled progress of the project.
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.