A nearly level connector trail running alongside busy Brunswick Road turns pastoral after it crosses Idaho-Maryland Road, making a lovely and easy ascent through meadows and woods to Loma Rica Road. There is an artisan stone bridge early in the second part of this trail that will surprise and delight you, and a fine section of irrigation canal in oak woods near the top.
Place: Grass Valley, CA
Season: Year around
Land: Easement on mixed public and private
Trail signs: Bear Yuba Land Trust signs
Length: 1.5 miles one way
Altitude change: About 250′
Trail surface: Native soil trail and some paved road
Environment: Mixed conifers and deciduous trees with some meadow areas
Rules: Dogs on leash; no motorized vehicles; stay on the trail; respect private property. Hikers and mountain bikers watch for each other and pass safely.
Trailheads: Town Talk Trailhead: From Hwy 49/20 take Exit 183 and go east on Brunswick Road (towards Colfax) 0.4 mile to Town Talk Road. Park on the left of Brunswick Road in the dirt area just past Town Talk Road. The trail begins there. (N39.23201 W121.02785)
Idaho Maryland Trailhead: From Hwy 49/20 take Exit 183 and go east on Brunswick Road (towards Colfax) 1.0 mile to the intersection of Brunswick Road and Idaho Maryland Road. Turn left and park along Idaho Maryland Road near the intersection. The trailhead is at the southeast corner of the intersection. (N39.22388 W121.02621)
Loma Rica Trailhead: From Hwy 49/20 take Exit 183 and go east on Brunswick Road (towards Colfax) 1.4 miles to Loma Rica Drive (may appear as Macboyle Drive on some maps) and turn left into that road toward the Nevada County airport. Go 0.2 mile. Park on either side of the road in a turnout area. The trailhead is on the left as you go uphill. (N39.21784 W121.01984)
Trail tips: Although the whole route is most popular with mountain bike riders, they come along infrequently enough to make this trail also a good pick for a close-to-town walk with lots of scenic features. The stretch along Brunswick Road crosses two irrigation ditches and passes by the attractive Loma Rica Ranch. (The trail does a jog at the ranch driveway. If headed south, go down the drive to pick up the trail. If headed north, go up the drive.) Just after crossing a creek over a custom-made trail bridge, this section ends at Idaho Maryland Road.
From the southeast corner of the intersection of Brunswick Road and Idaho Maryland Road, the trail heads away from Brunswick Road and quickly becomes rural. About 100 yards into this section of the route there is a charming small stone bridge built by volunteers of Bear Yuba Land Trust. Then you head up through meadows and a forested hillside. Watch carefully for Land Trust trail markers as you go along in order to make the correct turns. (Portions of this route are on built trail and other portions go along an old dirt ranch road. If you expect this, it may be easier to follow the route.) About two-thirds of the way to the top, look for a small stone bench cut into the right side of the trail. Near the top you will cross the Nevada Irrigation District’s D-S Canal on a footbridge and will be treated to views of a well-thinned oak forest before arriving at the upper trailhead on Loma Rica Road.