This 20-mile portion of the South Yuba River canyon stretches from Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park to Bridgeport covered bridge. The area includes the longest single-span covered bridge in the world (currently closed for restoration), the steep rugged canyon of the South Yuba River, and the Independence Trail - the first identified wheelchair-accessible wilderness trail in the country.
South Yuba River State Park offers many scenic vistas. Visitors can view fast water pouring over massive granite ledges in the spring and warm, slow moving emerald swimming holes during the late summer.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.