The South Yuba River State Park, located in Nevada County, is a 20-mile portion of the South Yuba River canyon stretching from Malakoff Diggings State Historic Park to Bridgeport covered bridge. The area includes the longest single-span covered bridge in the world, the steep rugged canyon of the South Yuba River, and the Independence Trail — the first identified wheelchair-accessible wilderness trail in the country.
Bridgeport is the centerpiece of the South Yuba River State Park which is one of only nine covered bridges built in the United States prior to 1900. Built in 1862 at 251 feet, it is still the longest single span covered bridge of its type in the United States. One theory as to why bridges were covered is that they were built of wood, and a covered wooden bridge would last longer. The Bridge is a State and National Historic Landmark.
There are many of things to do in the park:
swimming (Including shallow areas where children under family supervision can swim)
panning for gold
beautiful wildflowers in the spring
exploring the trails leading to historic mining sites
Docent-led history, nature, and gold-panning tours are also offered at selected times throughout the year.
The State of California Park division is offering gold panning lessons and you can log on to their web site at South Yuba River SP for their schedule.
Either Marya Miller or another birder offers a bird hike on the last Sunday of every month at 9:00 AM. Sitting astride the South Yuba River it is the seasonal home to a considerable variety of birds. The wide variety of avian life found throughout the year at Bridgeport is one of its prime attractions. While incomplete, a list would include several varieties of woodpeckers, swallows, owls, wild turkeys, black phoebes, hummingbirds, warblers, wrens, vireos and a wide variety of raptors, including golden and bald eagles.
Adventuresome hikers have a choice of trails ranging in difficulty from the easiest (Independence Trail), to other more strenuous trails throughout the park
South Yuba River State Park headquarters located at Bridgeport, 17660 Pleasant Valley Rd can be accessed from Highway 20 west of Grass Valley or from Higway 49 north of Nevada City. Remote portions of the park are accessible from Edwards Crossing, Purdon Crossing, and Highway 49.