#OptOutside: 8th Annual Turkey Trek

Two years ago, our friends at REI did something different on Black Friday—they shut their doors and spent the day outside. This year they’re closing their doors again on Black Friday, making it now the 3rd annual #OptOutside and have invited you to join them!

Join Bear Yuba Land Trust (BYLT) and 52 Hike Challenge for a guided outing on the wheelchair accessible Independence Trail in the South Yuba River canyon on BYLT’s Sequoya Preserve.

Founded by the late John Olmsted, the Independence Trail transformed a historic gold mining ditch into the nation’s first identified handicapped-accessible wilderness trail. It is now one of the most popular trails in the area, contouring along wooded hillsides, passing live streams, and crossing deep gorges on restored wooden flumes that once transported water for hydraulic mining. Participants can choose from two guided routes — West and East — that extend from one main trailhead.

Registration is Required for the guided hike. Register Here

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate, Wheelchair Accessible Trail

Length: 2.5 miles West Trail, one way; 2.2 miles East Trail, one way

Everyone participating must sign & turn in a liability waiver – which can be e-signed here: https://waiver.fr/p-nWfS7

Dress in layers appropriate for the weather (windbreaker, beanie, rain jacket, gloves, etc. if cold) and wear sturdy walking shoes. Bring plenty of water and a lunch or snacks, sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses, if desired. Optional suggestions are binoculars, your favorite field guide, and a camera.

Trailhead: From the north end of Nevada City where Highway 49 turns west toward Downieville, go 6.25 miles on Highway 49 north. A highway sign tells northbound travelers the Independence Trailhead is coming up. There is a parking area along the east side of Highway 49 at the trailhead, and overflow parking just around the next curve down Highway 49. In the main parking area look for BYLT’s table where we will meet and grab maps and information before heading out.

Trailhead coordinates: (N39.29164 W121.09734)

Those who don’t pre-register for this hike, are encouraged to hit the trail anytime for their own self-guided exploration.

The Independence Trail utilizes the old Excelsior Ditch, built around 1859 to bring high-pressure water for hydraulic mining. The ditch tapped the South Yuba River more than two miles upstream from here and ran all the way to what is now the dam at Lake Wildwood, then by the China Ditch to the Smartsville mining district, 15 miles west of Grass Valley, CA.

Held the day after Thanksgiving, BYLT’s Turkey Trek has become a community holiday tradition for folks who want to get outdoors and avoid the commercialism of Black Friday.

Look for BYLT staff at the information table in the parking lot. Maps will be available the day of the trek, or can be downloaded from BYLT’s online Trails Portal: www.bylt.org.

BYLT is a membership-supported non-profit organization dedicated to preserving forests, oak woodlands and ranchlands; building miles of public trails and providing quality educational nature programming for folks of all ages.

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate; spur trails to river are more challenging!

Length: 2.5 miles West Trail, one way; 2.2 miles East Trail, one way

Cost: FREE, Raffle Prizes!