Hidden in a lovely canyon running along the Nevada and Placer County borders, the Bear River Recreation Area, between Rollins and Combie Reservoirs, is a little known gem for families and river lovers seeking quiet river recreation.
Easy access points near Colfax and Grass Valley offer places to hike, fish, pan for gold, swim, picnic, camp and go tubing on the river.
One great spot with free day use parking and access to 250 acres of parkland is the Bear River Park and Campground, with access from Colfax off Milk Ranch or Plum Tree Roads. This spot has a wide, cobble stone beach area with plenty of room to spread out and enjoy a day relaxing on the river.
Steep forested slopes surround the recreation and camping areas, and the Bear runs through a diverse ecology of lush vegetation from willows and alders at the river’s edge to towering Ponderosa pines and Douglas firs.
A maintained network of trails is easily accessible to hike along the river or into the nearby hills to experience a healthy Foothill river canyon. These forest trails are a favorite for wildflower hikes and bird watching.