Illinois Crossing Trail + Primitive Camp

Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California

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Illinois Crossing Trail + Primitive Camp


  • The large parking area at the trailhead also serves as parking for the South Yuba National Trail.- Illinois Crossing Trail + Primitive Camp
  • A sign marking the beginning of the trail to Illinois Crossing.- Illinois Crossing Trail + Primitive Camp
  • The hike first travels through picturesque forest and a gradual downhill slope.- Illinois Crossing Trail + Primitive Camp
  • Following the canyon contours on the Illinois Crossing Trail.- Illinois Crossing Trail + Primitive Camp
  • A small footbridge crosses a creek along the trail.- Illinois Crossing Trail + Primitive Camp
  • A sign marks where the trail to Illinois Crossing leaves the South Yuba National Trail and begins a quick descent to the camping area and river.- Illinois Crossing Trail + Primitive Camp
  • South Illinois Primitive Camping Area.- Illinois Crossing Trail + Primitive Camp
  • The South Yuba River at the site of the old Illinois Crossing toll bridge.- Illinois Crossing Trail + Primitive Camp
Overview + Weather
Great backcountry camping area.
River not deep enough for a swim.
Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, CA
Pets allowed: 
Yes, with restrictions
Highest point: 
2,667.00 ft (812.90 m)
Net Elevation Gain: 
600.00 ft (182.88 m)
Year round: 
Parking Pass: 
Permit required: 
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Winter, Fall, Summer
Total Distance: 
2.60 mi (4.18 km)
Total elevation gain: 
600.00 ft (182.88 m)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
2,667.00 ft (812.90 m)
Typically multi-day: 
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

Illinois Crossing is the site of a former Yuba River crossing toll bridge currently located on BLM land a few miles north of the Edwards Crossing bridge. The bridge, built in the mid-1800s, is long gone, but the river bar at its site now has a wide shady primitive campground. The trail to the campground and former crossing site descends from the parking area about 600 feet in elevation over a distance of 1.3 miles. It cuts through quiet forested hills following the South Yuba National Trail before forking off to descend to the campground.

The campground is really just a flat area beneath thick tree coverage with a couple of picnic tables and a short walk to the water's edge. Camping is free, and though there are no posted limitations to camp length, signs in the trailhead parking area warn that cars left longer than 72 hours will be towed. Also, hikers should be aware of the abundance of poison oak growing along the trail.

Aside from trash and a vault toilet at the trailhead parking area, there are no amenities along the trail. However, there is filtered water available in South Yuba Campground, which is located not far from the trailhead.

The road between Edwards Crossing Bridge and the trailhead is up a steep and rutted dirt road. Generally two-wheel drive passenger cars should be able to make the drive if driving carefully, though it may be best to avoid this road following wet weather.

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Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(7 within a 30 mile radius)

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(31 within a 30 mile radius)

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