Yuba Drop Trail (closed until further notice)

(Closed until further notice for forest thinning)

Trail Manager: Rice’s Crossing Preserve managed by Bear Yuba Land Trust | Contact info@bylt.org / (530) 272-5994 

Length: 0.9 miles one way. This is an out and back trail that takes trail users to a gorgeous remote spot on the Yuba River.

Altitude Change: Approximately 1,000 feet

Difficulty: This is a very difficult, double black diamond trail. This is BYLT’s most challenging trail and should not be taken lightly. It is only 0.9 miles but it is very steep terrain. Be sure to bring more water than you think and some food to snack on. The payoff at the bottom is worth the effort.

Trail surface: Native soil

Environment: Mixed coniferous forest.

Rules: Foot and bike only. Dogs on leash. No motorized vehicles. Stay on trails. No smoking. No littering.

Caution: Always hike with a buddy on the Yuba Rim Trail. This is wild country alive with mountain lions, bears and rattlesnakes. Lots of poison oak.

Trailhead: Use the Yuba Rim trail parking lot, the Yuba Rim trail, and the Trabucco trail to access the Yuba Drop trail. 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. Park in the turnout on the left, across from the quarry by the large white sign above the meadow. The trailhead begins at the large rock boulders next to the white sign, look for a Yuba Rim trail sign at the bottom of the hill at the edge of the meadow.

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. Park in the turnout on the left, across from the quarry by the large white sign above the meadow. The trailhead begins at the large rock boulders next to the white sign, look for a Yuba Rim Trail sign at the bottom of the hill at the edge of the meadow.

The area we know today as Rice’s Crossing Preserve was always a place of significance for the Nisenan people. Today, walking the trail is a chance to interact with nature. Native plant species like redbud, tanoak, honeysuckle, madrone, ceanothus, Douglas-fir, ponderosa pine and dogwood line the trail’s edge.

Now that the land is a preserve, this pristine and rugged ecosystem, home to rattlesnakes, mountain lion and bear will be protected as open space forever. Once along the ridge, look for views of the rock quarry used to build Bullards Bar in the 1960s, and to the northeast, it is fun to identify natural landmarks with names like “Saddle Back” and “Fir Cap.”

Volunteers devoted more than 200 hours building the trail with help from CALFIRE Washington Ridge crews and a young enthusiastic team from Americorps. The Land Trust worked with federal agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management, Tahoe National Forest and Plumas National Forest. The trail incorporates old logging skid roads.

Environment: The Rice’s Crossing property comprises 2,706 acres spanning both sides of the Middle and North Yuba Rivers and their confluence, and bounded by New Bullard’s Bar Reservoir to the north and Army Corps of Engineers area and the south Yuba River State Park on the south. BYLT’s management of the property will improve and permanently protect the region’s biodiversity, watershed health, and habitat for a range of resident, migratory, threatened and endangered species. The project will re-establish wildlife corridors and restore an important mid-elevation transition zone of the Yuba River and to facilitate future habitat restoration efforts for salmon and native trout.

Trail tips: Always hike with a friend and watch the weather forecast. The start of the Yuba Drop trail is about 3 miles from the parking lot. It is best to start the hike fairly early in the morning or plan to hike during mild weather. Bring plenty of water and some food to eat. If you feel tired, turn around and head back to your vehicle. Don’t risk it. You can come back and hike it again another day. There is poison oak along the shoulders of the trail to be mindful of. This trail is in wild country so please be prepared for wildlife encounters should they occur. If you come across a bear make lots of noise and back away slowly.

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