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Several swimming holes are at short hiking distances upriver from the Pleasant Valley Road bridge.  These are most popular with teenagers and young adults, because there are large rocks to climb, deep pools to swim in, sunning beaches, and a sense of isolation from the center of activity near the covered bridge. 


The closest upriver beach is Kneebone Beach, best reached by hiking up river left (the left side as you face down river, opposite Buttermilk Bend Trail). Kneebone Beaches are the sandy areas in the distance, viewed from the initial part of Buttermilk Bend Trail on the left.


Division of Boating and Waterways Warns of Cold Water Hazards during Spring Snowmelt
Deep Snowpack Expected to Create Dangerously High and Cold Swift Waters

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Kneebone Beaches


A zoomed view from the initial part of the Buttermilk Bend Trail. This is the end of March and grass is green.

More Kneebone Beaches


Kneebone Beaches viewed from farther up Buttermilk Bend Trail in early summer.


Beach Activity

Beach Activity

Crop into beach activity in above photo.  Large rock on left is used for sunning in later picture.

More Beach Activity

More Beach Activity

Still closer view of beach on left in above picture.



Family Relaxing

Family Relaxing

Family on rightmost beach.

Swimming Among The Rocks

Swimming Among Rocks

Swimming among the rocks upriver from the above beaches.

Larger Rocks

Larger Rocks

The larger rocks make great spots to take in some sun.

River Can Be Dangerous

River Can Be Dangerous

However, please keep in mind that this is a river and it can be very dangerous.  Pick your spots carefully and  avoid anyplace with even a modest current.  Current combined with cold water temperatures can lead to disaster. Swift currents and cold temperatures are most severe in the spring, as in the picture above.

Spring Turbulence

Spring Turbulence

This couple and their dogs enjoy spring turbulence from a safe distance (if they don't lose their footing!)

Rapids And Grinding Rock

Rapids and Grinding Rock

Zoom into the rapids and the Maidu grinding rock, in the foreground below.


You can see several pits in a row ground into the rock by Nisenan people making acorn meal. The pits are at the edge of the rock so the grinders could enjoy the beauty of the river as they did their work.

Nisenan Mortars

Maidu Mortars

Crop to the Maidu grinding rock.  You can see two mortars (pits) near the top of the foreground rock.


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Deep Pools

Deep Pools

Swimmers enjoy deep pools on upriver side of old Hwy 49 bridge, on an October day.

Family Beach

Family Beach is just down river from the covered bridge.  It is a popular summer spot for swimming and lunch on the sandy shore, but remember, as for the rest of the park, no alcoholic beverages are allowed.

Family Beach And Wood's Bridge

Woods Bridge Beach

Family Beach and Wood's Bridge viewed from Point Defiance Trail (the Visitor Center is off right)

Mid To Late Summer

Mid to Late Summer

The river current is slow and the water reasonably warm in mid to late summer.

Photo Credits: Herb Lindberg