Trail Manager: Trail Easements held by Bear Yuba Land Trust | Contact firstname.lastname@example.org / (530) 272-5994
Length: 4.5 miles one way
Altitude Change: 90′
Trail Surface: Native Earth
Rules: Foot and bike only. No motorized vehicles. Dogs on leash. Stay on the trail; respect private property. Hikers and cyclists watch for each other and pass safely.
Trailheads: Gracie Road Trailhead: Take either Gracie Road or Banner Lava Cap Road easterly from Nevada City. The parking area is on Gracie Road about 700 feet northwest (downhill) from the intersection with Banner-Lava Cap Road. Look for a “Cascade Canal Access Trail” sign on the east side of this parking area (N39.24106 W120.99855). A pleasant trail leads into the forest from this trailhead and connects with the main trail in 0.3 miles.
Red Dog Road Trailhead: From downtown Nevada City take Boulder Street east (becomes Red Dog Road) for about 2 miles and find Pasquale Road on your left. Note your mileage there and go 0.3 mile farther on Red Dog Road where you will see the canal and a gate on your right with a “Public Parking Prohibited” sign. There is parking on the right shoulder immediately uphill from the gate. The trailhead is at the gate (N 39.25919 W120.97511). Road Parking Only.
Trail Facts: This popular trail offers an almost level walk along a peaceful canal through a forest with many Douglas firs and dogwoods. At 3200′ elevation, it is a bit higher and cooler than many local trails. One of the best viewpoints along the entire canal trail is about 0.2 mile east of the Orene Wetherall trailhead, where there is a red sluice gate across the canal (this is also where the Woodpecker Way access trail meets the canal trail.) Here you can look out through thinned forest and see downtown Nevada City and distant ridges beyond. The white spire of St. Canice church and the bulk of the Nevada County courthouse are the most obvious landmarks visible in the town. If you go a short way up the Woodpecker Way access trail you will find a great bench where you can enjoy this view.
Orene Wetherall Side Trip: At about 0.75 mile east from the Gracie Road trailhead, you will find the clearly marked Orene Wetherall trail branching down to your left (N39.24369 W120.98742). Located on BYLT’s Woodpecker Wildlife Preserve, this is a nice 1.2 mile round trip “out and back” trail that switchbacks down (280′ elevation drop) through lovely forest to its end point, then you climb back up to the main canal trail