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The South Yuba River is famous for its pristine swimming holes surrounded by smooth granite rocks. In the summer months, more advanced swimmers travel up the trails from Bridgeport, 49 Crossing, Purdon Crossing, and Edwards Crossing for sunning and swimming. Family Beach and Kneebone Beach at Bridgeport are ideal for families with children and picnicking. Remember, the river current is extremely dangerous and cold much of the year when the river is high! Even in summer the current remains strong in certain locations. Always evaluate the river conditions before entering the water. Never jump into water if you do not know what is underneath, and never dive. Life vests are highly recommended. Never swim alone.

Stream flows on the River.


Hikers may choose from short, level trails to longer more rugged trials, and everything in between. The Independence Trail, near Highway 49 Crossing, is the nation´s first wheelchair accessible wilderness trail. Leashed dogs are allowed everywhere except at Family Beach at Bridgeport.

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Historic Ranch area brochure available at Visitor Center

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Buttermilk Bend Trees & Shrubs brochure at North Parking Lot

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Geology Along the Buttermilk Bend Trail

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Mountain Biking

Bicycles are allowed on the 5 mile stretch of the South Yuba River trail between Edwards Crossing and Purdon Crossing which traverses State Park property, Bureau of Land Management property and private easements. Parts of this trail are wide and flat, while other parts are technical and challenging.

Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park allows bikes on certain trails.



Gold Panning

Gold was discovered on the South Yuba River in June of 1848 at Rose's Bar, and some gold panners are still getting lucky today. All are welcome to try their luck at gold panning along the river with pans and hands only.

Demonstrations are held every Sat and Sun in the summer and at special events. Supplies may be purchased at the Visitor Center.

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There are many pictures of semi-precious stones that can be found in the Park gold panning troughs.

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Bird Watching

The South Yuba River is home to a large number of bird species, and a stopover point for many more migrating birds. You may see the small but mighty American Dipper swimming underwater in the rapids, a Bald Eagle soaring overhead, a Hermit Thrush calling within a shrub, a Belted Kingfisher diving for a meal, and many more.

Guided bird walks are offered in the Fall and Spring.

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Downstream of Highway 49 Crossing is open to fishing year round. Fishing season upstream of 49 Crossing runs late April through mid-November. (Check local fishing regulations for exact dates). The Sacramento pikeminnow is prevalent year round, while colder water temperatures may yield a small mouth bass or brown trout. Fishing licenses are required for ages 16 and up.



• The following regulations have been put in place with your safety in mind:

• All alcohol and glass are prohibited everywhere in the park. Violations will result in a citation.

• Dogs are allowed on leash only. No camping or fires are allowed.

• For gold panning, the only tool allowed is a gold pan. Remember, take only photos; leave only footprints.

• Be smart about water safety - Know the water temperature, current, and depth BEFORE you enter the water. Do not exceed your swimming abilities! Life vests are highly recommended, especially for children. Jumping from rocks is discouraged, and diving is prohibited.

• Per State Law, Drones are only allowed with a special event permit with an FAA license and flight plan.

Photo Credits: John Field (banner), Steve Pauly