South Yuba River State Park

This park unit is open at limited capacity. Please take the time to read the information contained on this webpage to find out what is open and closed, and what COVID-19 guidelines are in place. - (May 28, 2021)

What is open now?

  • South Yuba River State Park is open from sunrise to sunset with COVID-19 guidelines in place.
  • Very limited parking is now available to the public. Parking is $10. Credit card payment through automatic payment machines is encouraged to avoid cash handling.
  • All trail systems are available and active recreation will be permitted.
  • Outdoor restrooms will be available.
  • Visitor Center 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.

What is currently closed?

  • The South Parking Lot at Bridgeport will remain closed during the historic bridge restoration project.

Phone Number

(530) 432-2546

Park Hours

Sunrise-Sunset

Dogs Allowed?

Yes
Dogs allowed on all trails and shoreline areas of South Yuba River State Park, except the area known as Family Beach. Dogs not allowed here from the covered bridge at Bridgeport, 200 feet downstream on both sides of the river.

Driving Directions to South Yuba River SP

South Yuba River State Park is located off Highway 49, north of Nevada City. The park is accessible from Edwards Crossing, Purdon Crossing, Highway 49 and Bridgeport.
Address:
17660 Pleasant Valley Road, Penn Valley, CA 95946

Online reservations are not available for this park.

Upcoming Park Events

No events scheduled at this moment.

BOATING
Boating
TRAIL USE
Hiking Trails
DAY-USE ACTIVITIES & FACILITIES
Historical/Cultural Site
Picnic Areas
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Fishing
Guided Tours
Interpretive Exhibits
Beach Area
Swimming
Vista Point
Family Programs
OTHER FACILITIES & VISITOR INFORMATION
Parking
Restrooms
Drinking Water Available
Wheelchair Accessible

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April 16, 2020: Independence Trail Closed Due to Landslides and Tree Failures

Independence Trail is closed to the public due to safety concerns caused by recent landslides and tree failures. A District Superintendent Order enacting the closure is currently in effect.
The east side of the historic Independence Trail, off Highway 49 in western Nevada County, is also closed. The Independence Trail was constructed on historic flumes designed to carry water to hydraulic mining operations. The flumes act as bridges in many locations and Flume 22, the first flume located approximately a quarter mile from the eastern trail entrance off of Highway 49, is damaged due to soil erosion associated with continuous landslides. Several lower sections of the bottom piers, supporting the structure, are broken or undercut due to soil instability. The bridge is not safe for pedestrian traffic. 

State Park crews are actively surveying the damage and have a plan to replace and repair the damaged portion. The work is extensive and may involve closing that section of the trail for the next several months.

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.

Purdon crossing bridge closed to all vehicular access through June during bridge repair.

Bridgeport Covered Bridge Toll image

Latest Updates on Bridgeport Covered Bridge Restoration Project

After being closed in the fall of 2011 for structural deficiencies, the reconstruction project on the historic Bridgeport Covered Bridge is moving forward. Starting June 12, 2019, the south parking lot will be closed to day-use parking. For the latest on the rehabilitation project and park operations, please click here.



Location-Directions:
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.


The park:
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 (currently closed for restoration), 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: 

  • swimming
  • 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.


Caution:
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

Image of couple at Torrey Pines SBCalifornia State Parks thanks you for choosing our beautiful parks for your photographic activities and sharing the wonders of our park units with the world. However, in order to maintain the beauty of our parks and its natural and cultural resources, we request that all commercial, still and motion picture photographers obtain a film permit from the California Film Commission.

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.

South Yuba River SP(Photograph by Mike Fuller)
South Yuba River State Park
Once the South Yuba River watershed was the focal point of the California Gold Rush. Today, it is recognized by the California State legislature as a Wild and Scenic River with scenery of “Outstanding Remarkable Value.” This park which follows the river the twenty miles provides a very scenic geologic cross-section of a part of the State that played such prominent roles both geologically and economically in California’s history.


The full Geo Gems report
  |  Geological Gems of State Parks