This trail used to be our little secret. I blame social media for its rise in popularity. But do it anyway. Then after you have enjoyed the spring time version of this trail, come back. Come back during the week. Come early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Come back in every season.
The sound of the river pounding forward toward the sea against sun bleached granite boulders is worth the trip. With each bend in the trail that follows the hillside a new view of the river is a gift to the eyes. If you are lucky enough to see a kayak float through the canyon, you get some perspective of just how massive this river is. Photo by Mary West.
Toward the end of the trail, you find several volunteer trails down to the water. A few have small sand bars ideal to spend time on a hot summer day. At the 1.25-mile point, a sign clearly marks the end of this mostly level and easy trail. This is where you enjoy the view for the just as amazing return trip.
There is one gentle upslope. A few narrow sections require you to watch your step.
To get there: take Highway 49 north to Grass Valley. Take the Highway 20 exit toward Penn Valley/Marysville. Turn right at Pleasant Valley Road. Go over the modern bridge and park in the north parking lot. The fee is $5.
Mary West is a retired radio personality and news reporter with a longtime love of the outdoors, sharing her favorite day hikes in Placer, Nevada, El Dorado and Yuba counties. West won Best Outdoor Newspaper Column for this column, Day Hiker, from the Outdoor Writers Association of California 2017 Craft Awards. Learn more about local trails by following Mary on Facebook and Instagram.
CLICK HERE to see original article and photos by Mary West