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Accessible Features in State Parks > Accessible Beach/Shore Access > South Yuba River

South Yuba River State Park

South Yuba River State Park is a day use area that includes the longest single-span covered bridge in the country, 4 miles of the steep, rugged canyon of the South Yuba River, and the Independence Trail, a wheelchair accessible trail. The park is accessible at Edwards Crossing, Purdon Crossing, Highway 49 and Bridgeport. The park headquarters is located off Highway 49 at 17660 Pleasant Valley Road in Penn Valley. Call (530) 432-2546 or (530) 273-3884 for more information.

The Family Beach Area Trail: ***As of July 2016, the Family Beach Area Trail is no longer accessible due to a winter storm washout. Contact park staff for more details.***

The Independence Trail is a generally accessible trail that follows the footprint of an historic gold mining ditch for 1.1 miles on its west stretch and 2.25 miles on its east stretch. The trail is jointly owned by CA State Parks and the Bear Yuba Land Trust, a local non-profit organization. The historic ditch has been modified to enable wheelchair users and hikers to pass through forests and over gorges to view waterfalls, scenic vistas, and mountain streams. The trailhead, 2 paved designated accessible parking spaces, and a designated accessible non-flush restroom are located off Highway 49, one mile south of the first bridge north of Nevada City. Additional trail information is available on the Bear Yuba Land Trust's website.

The Buttermilk Bend Trail is an ‘out-and-back’ accessible trail that is 0.70 miles each way that offers stunning views of the South Yuba River Canyon. Springtime wildflower hikes are popular between March and May. The surface is compacted soil. Some segments of the trail may be more challenging for some users. This trail is located high above the canyon with steep side slopes and rugged terrain. There are two armored crossings on the trail that water flows over during rain events that might be challenging for some users. The trail is generally flat at less than 5% slopes with intermittent sections between 5% to 8% and one section for 3 feet at 9%. Accessible parking is located at the trailhead and a non-flush accessible restroom is located in the lower parking lot.

Accessible Trail Data
Trail Name Running Slope Cross Slope Trail Width Trail Surface
Buttermilk Bend Trail 3% Average 3% Average 4 FT Average Soil
9% Maximum 5% Maximum 3 FT Minimum

Beach/Shore Access
A beach wheelchair, housed at Empire Mine State Historic Park, can be made available for use at the family beach area. Call ahead to make arrangements at (530) 432-2546 or (530) 273-3884.

The elegant Bridgeport Covered Bridge dates from the 1860s and is considered the longest surviving single span covered bridge in America. It is located on Pleasant Valley Road, about halfway between Highway 20 and Highway 49, just outside of French Corral. There are two accessible parking spaces in an adjacent lot, with one van accessible.

An accessible ramp down to Rush Creek is located about 1.1 miles west of the trailhead for the Independence Trail. It provides shaded fishing access for licensed anglers with disabilities. See above for parking and directions to this trail.

Get maps and more information on this park.
For more information: access@parks.ca.gov | Phone: (916) 445-8949 | Fax: (916) 449-8966
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