Posts Tagged ‘hiking’

Seasons at Bridgeport

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009
Yuba River at Bridgeport

Yuba River at Bridgeport

This week we had a nice stroll on the Buttermilk Bend Trail at Bridgeport, part of the South Yuba State Park system. Each season is different at Bridgeport. In a couple of months, the Buttermilk Bend trail will be the most beautiful place to find wildflowers in Nevada County, and the flowers will bloom in waves throughout the Spring. In Summer, there’s nowhere more relaxing to spend a Summer day than at one of the swimming holes along the South Yuba River. For now, Winter at Bridgeport has its own charm. It is quiet with fewer visitors, and all you hear is the sound of the river flowing by and the gentle sound of the wind. The pools in the river are deep emerald green in the Winter light. And if you’re a dog person, you are only allowed to take dogs to Bridgeport October-April, so now is the time. Our dog loves to walk there and take a dip in the water.

So, if you’re looking for a nice place for a Winter hike, hed down to Bridgeport. It’s at a much lower elevation, so you won’t have to worry about snow making the trekking difficult! See more photographs of Bridgeport at

Empire Mine Hiking Trails – Union Hill

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

A few days ago we did a small piece on the hiking trails from the Penn Gate entrance to the Empire Mine State Historic Park (SHP) in Grass Valley, Nevada County, California.  But there are other hiking areas in the park too, one of those being the Union Hill trail area.

This area is across the Colfax Highway from the main area of the park including the visitor center, and the best access to the trails is reached by parking right at the top of Gold Hill Drive where there is a small gravel parking area next to a fire gate (keep the gate clear at all times).  There’s a small wooden box next to the gate that may or may not contain trail maps.

A couple of things make this trail area really stand out:

  • Elevation.  The trailhead is at around 2700ft and the trails top out at around 2900ft.  Not only does this make for a more strenuous and rewarding hiking experience, it adds variety to the trails and also means that when we get snow in the foothills, this can be one of the places to experience it in Grass Valley, even if the downtown is not receiving snow.
  • Loops.  There are a number of trails in the area, and these may be combined in different ways to create a number of overall trails.  Also you cn pick your distance as it were, without having to return on the same trail you walked on the outward leg.
  • Solitude.  It never fails to amaze me how few people walk these trails.  If you want to get away from it all but don’t want to drive too far then this can be the place.  Sometimes you can walk the whole area and never see another person.
Deer are often seen in this area, and there’s a lot of rustling etc as twilight comes to this area of the park.  Animal tracks are often seen in the snow and mud, especially in the area around the powerlines that cut through the area.

Walking in Empire Mine SHP from Penn Gate

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

Now that the heat of summer is abating in California, it’s definitely time to get out on foot and enjoy some of the sights in Nevada County.  Grass Valley is lucky to have some excellent walking trails in the Empire Mine State Historic park, just to the east of the city.

There are 3 main entrances to the park:

  • Visitor center, with ample parking and access to the main exhibits in the park, including the mining museum and Bourne cottage
  • The Union Hill trail area, with parking at the end of Gold Hill Drive
  • Penn Gate, on East Empire St, which has parking for cars and a separate area for horse trailers

From Penn Gate the well maintained gravel Hardrock trail (more…)