Visit The South Yuba River

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The Yuba Welcomes Everyone

The Yuba Welcomes Everyone

The South Yuba River is the gem of Nevada County, California. This California Wild & Scenic River drops a dramatic 4,000 feet in elevation over a distance of 40 miles, creating hundreds of stunning waterfalls intermixed with placid emerald pools. The South Yuba Citizens League has worked since 1983 to preserve and protect this important river.

The South Yuba River is part of the larger Yuba River Watershed, which is home to the Middle Yuba and North Yuba, and drains more than 1,500 square miles of Sierra Nevada foothills, much of which is located within Tahoe National Forest. This beautiful landscape offers hundreds of miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.

As you plan your trip to the river, check out these important tips and resources for a safe and fun river experience with your family and friends.

Caring is Cool

The South Yuba River is one of the most visited attractions in Nevada county, thanks to its signature emerald green swimming holes and picturesque granite boulders. Each summer, the Yuba’s popularity attracts hundreds of thousands of river goers. Of course, more visitors means more coolers, more dogs, more trash, and a greater risk of catastrophic fire.

When you visit the Yuba…

  • Recreate safely
  • Use “Leave No Trace” practices
  • Remember that the Yuba welcomes everyone

Where should I go on the Yuba?

California State Parks hosts two of the most beautiful locations on the Yuba River at the South Yuba River State Park: Highway 49 Crossing and Bridgeport Crossing. Both have stunning views and options for swimming. 

You can be a good steward to the river and the river community during your visit by parking responsibly, packing out what you pack in, picking up after your pet, not starting fires, and leaving glass of any kind at home.

Bridgeport Crossing

Parking is limited and costs $10. Facilities include a visitor center, ADA accessible restrooms, pay phone, a beverage vending machine, and trash and recycling receptacles.

Land Owners: California State Parks

Highway 49 Crossing

Parking is limited. Facilities include ADA accessible portable toilets and trash cans.

Land Owners: California State Parks

What Should I Know Before I Go?

The South Yuba River is a tranquil place and it is also remote. This means you need to prepare for both limited cell service and limited facilities and have a plan for emergencies.

Check River Conditions

There are times when the river is just too dangerous to recreate in. Early in the “river season”, the Yuba can be high, fast, and cold. Make sure you check to see if the river is safe for swimming before you go. A good source for this information is the website Dreamflows.

Additionally, GoNevadaCounty posts real-time TRAVEL ALERTS on their website.

No Cell Service

There is no cell service in the Yuba River Canyon. Prepare ahead of time by picking a meeting place before you leave, communicating with everyone in your group ahead of time, and downloading maps to the area.

Limited Parking

Parking is limited at all river access points at the South Yuba River. If the parking lot is full at the location when you arrive, that location has reached visitor capacity. Take the opportunity to explore a new location

Emergency Information

There is no cell service in the Yuba River Canyon. Make a plan for emergencies before you go. The nearest hospital is Sierra Nevada Memorial: 155 Glasson Way, Grass Valley, CA 95945, which can be over an hour away depending on your location.

Call boxes are located at Bridgeport and Purdon crossings. Emergency response times can be up to 30 minutes if an accident occurs at the river. For more information visit Nevada County Office of Emergency Services before your trip.

If the weather is predicted to be hot during your visit to the South Yuba River, take precautions to protect yourself from heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Know the signs and how to respond. The CDC’s guidelines on heat-related illness can be found here.

Pet Safety

Hot air temperatures make surfaces to-and-from the river hot, hot, hot! A minute of exposure can lead to blistered paws. Consider skipping the dip with your pooch when temperatures are high.

What is proper etiquette for the Yuba River?

The South Yuba River sees over 800,000 visitors a year. This means we all need to do our part to keep the river clean.  When at the river, we ask that you:

What else is there to do around the Yuba Watershed?

The South Yuba River watershed features dozens of trails, creeks, meadows, and rivers to explore. This area also has a deep history and is home to Indigenous peoples.


Dozens of trails are available to explore via hiking, biking, and horseback riding.


Whether you are a first time camper or a seasoned backpacker, the Yuba River watershed offers options for a wide variety of camping styles. Remember while camping that NO FIRES are allowed in the South Yuba River canyon; it only takes a spark to put our entire community at risk. Note: camping is only allowed in designated areas.

Culture & History

The Indigenous people who call this area home were greatly impacted by the California Gold Rush. So too was the land and the river. Learn more about the history of the Yuba watershed below as well as what SYRCL is doing to restore it.

Local Happenings

This river community is buzzing with events and activities that happen throughout the year. Visit these community calendars to learn more.

Other Recreation Areas of Interest

The South Yuba River has become increasingly popular in recent years. The river crossings reach visitor capacity when the parking lots are full. If you find yourself without a place to park, try exploring somewhere new. 

The Yuba River watershed has a lot to offer. Below are just a few recommendations.

Scott’s Flat

Scott’s Flat Recreation Area has a day use fee starting at $14. Facilities include a marina store, ADA accessible restrooms, boat launch and rental, picnic area, campground and playground. Land Owner: Nevada Irrigation District

Oregon Creek Day Use Area

Parking is limited at the Oregon Creek Day Use area. Some street parking is available. Facilities include restrooms. Land Owner: US Forest Service

Deer Creek

Parking is limited near the trailheads of the Deer Creek Tribute Trail system. Facilities are limited to the areas that cross through town and include restrooms and trash cans. Land Owners: City of Nevada City, Bureau of Land Management, and Nevada Irrigation District

Bear River

Parking is limited at Bear River Campground. Facilities include camping and barbecues. Land Owner: Placer County Parks

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