Rice’s Crossing Preserve

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2,707 acres, 2014


North End in Yuba County: Public Access Allowed

South End in Nevada County: Public Access Allowed

Located along a six-mile span on both sides of the Yuba River in the counties of Yuba and Nevada, Bear Yuba Land Trust’s largest property, Rice’s Crossing Preserve comprises 2,707 acres extended from New Bullard’s Bar Reservoir to the north and South Yuba River State Park and Englebright Reservoir bordering the southern end.

With the protection of Rice’s Crossing Preserve, comes the promise of exciting recreation opportunities. In coming years, BYLT’s Trails Team will build miles of trails with long distance views for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking. New river access means outdoor enthusiasts will gain new possibilities for swimming, kayaking, fishing, bird watching and picnicking. In addition, Rice’s Crossing Preserve protects important wildlife corridors and provides opportunities for river restoration that will benefit a variety of riparian species as well as native fish populations.

Yuba Rim (North End in Yuba County)

Opened officially to the public in 2015, the newest Bear Yuba Land Trust trail offers views of snow-capped peaks, above the confluence of the Middle Yuba River and North Yuba River, and a moderately challenging hike.

What to do there: Enjoy the 2.25 mile hike on Yuba Rim Trail out to the scenic overlook and back. Identify birds and other wildlife. Picnic in the meadow. Take photos of the river canyon. NO HUNTING.

How to get there: From Nevada City, take Highway 49 towards Camptonville, turn left on Marysville Road and cross over the Bullards Bar Dam. Rice’s Crossing Preserve is located 1.3 miles from the dam. There is a sign. Park in the rock quarry on the right and cross the road to the North Meadow where you will find the trailhead.

Hike Yuba Rim Trail
Access Quarry

French Bar (South End in Nevada County)

Opened in April 2016 to the public for the first time in nearly a century. French Bar at Rice’s Crossing will absolutely blow you away with its beauty. The river, the canyon, the wildflowers, and the setting is stunning.

Rules, regulations: NO HUNTING. This section of the preserve is open five days a week, closed Tuesdays and Thursdays. Over time BYLT will build trails and gathering areas to enjoy nature at the river.

Wildlife is abundant. Bears fishing for trout, eagles overhead and otters playing in the river have been observed. For this reason, dogs are not allowed at French Bar.

Biologists tell us that when dogs are introduced to an area, it disrupts wildlife. Dogs are viewed as predators by many animals and their presence can greatly affect the breeding and foraging behavior of wildlife. French Bar has been a wildlife refuge for many years and we intend to preserve that aspect of this special place.

We love dogs and they are welcome on leash on all of BYLT’s other public preserves and trails, in addition to Yuba Rim Trail at the north end of Rice’s Crossing Preserve, in Yuba County.

Please, No Swimming. The water current and flows are swift and dangerous and can change dramatically, presenting life-threatening conditions.

Cost: $5 parking fee.

How to get to there: From Pleasant Valley road, about one-quarter mile past the historic covered bridge on the left, take the first left, which is a hairpin turn with a small State Park sign. Upon reaching a “T” in the road (or three-way intersection) turn left onto the downhill gravel road.  Drive for about three-quarters of a mile and then veer left at the “V” (also downhill).  Continue about two miles before turning right up a steep gravel drive to the entrance gate. After going through the gate, find a parking place.

Cool Facts

Eventually, trails on Rice’s Crossing Preserve will provide connectivity to public lands in South Yuba River State Park, Plumas National Forest, New Bullard’s Bar Recreation Area and Tahoe National Forest. Other adjacent public land includes Army Corps of Engineers recreation land, the Bureau of Land Management and Yuba County Water Agency.

BYLT acquired Rice’s Crossing Preserve in 2014 after working three years with The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and a myriad of state, federal and local agency partners. This keystone property now permanently conserved and kept from development is the largest to date owned by the Land Trust.

History: Long before the Gold Rush and 1960s era construction of New Bullard’s Bar Dam forever altered this landscape, this place was important to Native Americans of the region.

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