Independence Trail

South Yuba River State Park

Northern Sacramento Valley, California

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Independence Trail


  • Flume 28 along the Independence Trail.- Independence Trail
  • Flume 28 along the Independence Trail.- Independence Trail
  • The ADA-accessible Independence Trail follows the path of the Excelsior Canal, built during the Gold Rush.- Independence Trail
  • Viewpoint of the South Yuba River form the Independence Trail.- Independence Trail
  • Bark of a madrone tree (Arbutus menziesii) along the Independence Trail. - Independence Trail
  • Much of the trail uses old converted wooden flumes as the path.- Independence Trail
  • Flume 28 extends around Rush Creek canyon, elevating this section of trail.- Independence Trail
  • Flume 28 along the Independence Trail.- Independence Trail
  • A flume-trail leading down to Rush Creek.- Independence Trail
  • Cascading pools along Rush Creek.- Independence Trail
  • Rush Creek Canyon.- Independence Trail
  • - Independence Trail
Overview + Weather
Wooden Gold Rush-era flumes converted to trails.
Hot during summer months.
Northern Sacramento Valley, CA
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
100.00 ft (30.48 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Fall
Total Distance: 
2.20 mi (3.54 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
1,430.00 ft (435.86 m)
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description


The area around South Yuba River State Park is full of gold rush history, and the park's Independence Trail near Highway 49 Crossing is no exception. The nation’s first ever ADA-accessible wilderness trail follows the historic Excelsior Ditch and Canal system built during the Gold Rush, leading through the foothill woodlands high above the South Yuba River.

The Independence Trail has both a west and east section that is split by the trailhead, and they are referred to as Independence Trail West and Independence Trail East. This trip report concerns the west portion, arguably the more interesting of the two.

Independence Trail West leads through some impressive wooden flumes that have been converted to support walking and wheelchair access. The route has plenty of viewpoints high above the South Yuba River. About a mile in from the trailhead is Flume 28, an elevated flume that wraps around Rush Creek Canyon. The lengthy Flume 28 is undoubtedly the highlight of the trail, providing access to Rush Creek and views of a cascading waterfall.

Wheelchair access ends shortly after Flume 28, and hiking trails continue on. Independence Trail East is also wheelchair accessible for a little over a mile. A longer but slightly strenuous 4.3-mile loop option leads down to the South Yuba River and Jones Bar Road.

Parking for the Independence Trail is located is alongside Highway 49 a half-mile south of Highway 49 Crossing. Dogs are permitted on trail with a leash.

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Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(1 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(19 within a 30 mile radius)

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