LENGTH: 2.25 miles each way, so 4.5 total round-trip.
DIFFICULTY: A mix of flat stretches and switchbacks, I’d say less than 1000 feet elevation gain overall. When I walked the trail there were a number of people in their 60/70’s chugging along just fine. That being said…the trail’s still unfinished so there were blackberry brambles, limb ducking and some miscellaneous scrambling involved. Probably not ideal for little kids or new shoes.
DIST FROM SACRAMENTO: 1.5 hours, via CA 70 S/I-5 S and 20W.
DIST FROM GRASS VALLEY: 45 mins, via CA 49 N and Marysville Road.
LOCATION: Between the towns of Dobbins and Camptonville. You can’t Google Map this one unfortunately since it’s brand-new (exciting right? it’s an adventure…) so I’ll give you the directions that got me there: Take Hwy 49 N past all the Nevada City exits and take signs for Downieville on your left. Continue winding up 49 N for about 20 miles – past Independence Trail, through North San Juan – until you see Marysville Road. Make a left there and continue until Bullards Bar Dam; cross that monolith and about 2 miles after you’ll see a parking lot on your right with Bear Yuba Land Trust signs. Park in the lot and cross the road to the meadow to find the trail.
Okay…now to the details. This will be a beautiful and well-maintained trail, I have no doubts about that – between Bear Yuba Staff, CCC, Americorps, trail volunteers and who knows who else putting their sweat and backhoes into building this hike – it’s an amazing addition to walks already paralleling the Yuba River watershed. That being said, I would only recommend hiking this one tomorrow if you’re adventure ready. Maybe you’re a trail blazer and are poison oak immune and shouldn’t listen to me…you know your hiking mojo. The view point at the top still needs some clearing (my name pick was peek-a-boo point) and the final stretch requires a little guiding to be sure you’re still on the path. But they were flagging the trail literally as we walked, so updates in the works!
Bear Yuba Land Trust is really an incredible group – if you don’t know their story and the work they’ve done be sure to hike Hirschman’s Pond Trail, Deer Creek Tribute Trail and Alan Thiesen Trail (just to pick a few). We’re lucky to have them in our community. This trail unveiling was in conjunction with their 25th birthday (yes, folks, there WAS CAKE) but in all seriousness, being there for the opening trek was pretty special. A member of the Nisenan Tribe helped put the land in historical context, which in itself was such an important thing.
THUMBS UP: When the Yuba’s really flowing well (which I’m trying so desperately to picture) and the trees are trimmed a bit, there should be an incredible view. The walk’s pretty gentle overall, and shady for good stretches – great for a hot summer day.
THUMBS DOWN: A little off the beaten path, unless you’re hanging out an Bullard’s Bar Dam/campground. I know this year’s especially bad so maybe not the best standard…but poison oak minefield, goodness. Don’t forget the bug spray too!