The bridges of the South Yuba River State Park are historic, beautiful and of course cross the Yuba River in various locations, making any of them a great day hike. (photos credit: Mary West)
One of my favorites is Edwards Crossing. The drive down the last mile or so might make you think you are driving down a rabbit hole into a wonderland, and maybe you are, as the trailhead is at the bottom, where the green pedestrian arch-truss bridge marks the start of this adventure. Installed in 1904, the bridge is a 114-foot stretch across the river.
Starting from Edwards Crossing, there is a gradual downhill walk for a 5-mile hike to Purdon Crossing, another bridge on the Yuba. As this is an out-and-back trail, you can stop anywhere along the way as your halfway point.
The boulders here are orange and pink, making it unique compared to the brilliant white granite in other areas on the Yuba. Sediment in the soil and mining have left their marks.
There are scenic trails beginning on both sides of the bridge and reasonable but limited parking at the bridge for hikers.
The South Yuba River Trail downstream from the bridge is on the south side of the river. Nice views will keep you company as far as you want to hike. Purdon Crossing will find you at the 5-mile mark, making for a 10-mile round trip.
Take Interstate 80 east to Highway 49 toward Grass Valley. Take the left turn toward Downieville to stay on Highway 49. Take a right on Coyote Street. Turn right onto North Bloomfield Road/Bloomfield-Graniteville Road. You will enter the park and continue to Edwards Crossing on North Bloomfield at the river.
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Mary West is author of the book series Day Hiker – Gold Country Trail Guide I, II and III (2nd edition available on Amazon). The books are a collection of the Day Hiker columns where West shares her longtime love of the outdoors, favorite hikes in Northern California’s Gold Country and beyond. West was the recipient of the 2017 and 2019 CRAFT Award for Best Outdoor Column and the 2020 Craft Award for her second book in the series – Day Hiker Gold Country Trail Guide – by the Outdoor Writers of California. You can follow West on Facebook and Instagram.