September 2, 2014

First of Many...

With a three day weekend being a rare occurrence, I thought it would be great to get outdoors and take a hike.

I have a book I bought years ago when I was a Girl Scout leader called Easy Hiking in Northern California.  I knew I didn't want to take a long drive to get there so I opened up to the chapter titled Gold Country, Tahoe & Plumas.  After reading about the various hikes I settled on one just outside of Nevada City.

The South Yuba Independence Trail is a fairly level hike along an old mining canal once used to carry water from the South Yuba River to a hydraulic mining site in Smartsville, 25 miles downstream.

The trail is divided into a west side and an east side.  Ron and I decided to take the hike in the west direction.  It begins by going through a low tunnel under Highway 49 and then opens up to two trails running next to each other: one for wheelchair access and one for hikers.  At one point there is an overlook where you can see the South Yuba River far below.
It has been very dry in California this past winter so unfortunately the river isn't up to it's usual water level.

About a mile into the hike there is a horseshoe shaped flume (wooden path) built above Rush Creek Falls.  A ramp with several switchbacks was added to the trail and ends just above the main drop of the fall.
Let's hope these boards are sturdy!

switchback ramp to the falls
Unfortunately, the falls are just about dry so we didn't get to see the impressive 50' tall water cascade.  We plan on another visit in the spring.  Hopefully we'll get some rain this winter.
normally I'd be under water if I was sitting here
We hiked to the end of the marked trail and found a dirt road.  After walking the road a little ways, we came upon a car parked on the side.  An unmarked trail went down the hillside.  We followed it a small distance before it got too overgrown to follow.  We weren't sure where the road led so we decided it was best to go back out on the trail we just walked.

Near the trail head we noticed a sign on the path: "Jones Bar Trail .4 miles".  We decided that maybe we'd take it on the way back.  That detour led us on a very steep downhill trudge to an old bridge, a dead end road with a couple of cars parked there and the river.
locals enjoying the water on a hot summer day

We realized at that moment that if we had continued our walk on the earlier found dirt road, we would have ended up here...  Hind sight!
Remember that very steep downhill trudge?  We now had to climb it in order to get out of the canyon.  And what a climb it was!  It may have been only 1/2 mile but it was a doozie.   Slow and steady.   
All things considered we had a great hike and a great day.  We look forward to coming back here and more importantly, we look forward to hiking more trails in our future!


  1. Sounds like a nice trail. If you haven't tried Shealor Lake Trail off of Hwy 88 just past Silver Lake, give it a try. It was my favorite backyard hike! It's got a little of everything, just over 3 miles. If you can get there early in the year (and they get more snow) you can see the waterfall. It's a fun hike over granite where you have to look for the cairn piles.

    1. Ooh, that sounds like a fun hike. I like waterfalls. Hopefully we do get some more snow and rain! We don't get up highway 50 much anymore since my in-laws moved out of Placerville years ago. But I may have to make an exception for this hike :-)


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