Opened officially to the public in 2015, this Bear Yuba Land Trust trail offers views of snow-capped peaks, views of the confluence of the Middle Yuba River and North Yuba River, and a moderately challenging hike.
Place: Yuba County near Dobbins
Season: Year Round
Land: Rice’s Crossing Preserve managed by Bear Yuba Land Trust
Trail signs: Bear Yuba Land Trust trail signs and wayfinding arrows
Length: 2.35 miles one way. This is an out and back beauty.
Altitude change: 750 feet
Difficulty: Easy to moderate. The most challenging segment is a series of seven switchbacks where all the elevation gain occurs in a half mile stretch.
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.
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 Red bud, Tan oak, 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 North east, 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 like Bureau of Land, 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: The first leg brings you back towards the highway and up into the forest. The trail wraps around the meadow for ¼ mile and then heads into the woods on an old logging road. The forested portion goes on for about a half mile and then there is a ravine with a bridge. After the bridge the trail climbs a side slope to get to the top of the ridge. The side slope section is a half mile of trail with wonderful views and a few wildflowers. Once you are on the top of the ridge the trail and an old logging road become one. This wide, easy section goes on for about a mile to a nice outlook. The views along the ridge are fantastic and you can see Saddleback Mountain and Fir Cap to the Northeast.
For now, the trail is open to mountain bicyclists and hikers with plans to accommodate equestrian riders in the coming year. Be patient as the trail is still a bit rough. It will take some time before all the poison oak is removed, the view is cleared, the trail is smoothed and the signage is installed.
This is phase one of a much larger project. There will be more trails developed on the southern end of the property and expansions of this trail as well. BYLT hopes to construct a network of trails that will be a unique asset to this region.