Share:

Point Defiance Loop Trail

South Yuba River State Park

Northern Sacramento Valley, California

Start Exploring
Point Defiance Loop Trail

Share:

Advertisement
  • The trail begins with a climb, meandering through oak and grass-covered terrain.- Point Defiance Loop Trail
  • Fall colors along the trail.- Point Defiance Loop Trail
  • - Point Defiance Loop Trail
  • Trailside toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia).- Point Defiance Loop Trail
  • Looking north over the Yuba River.- Point Defiance Loop Trail
  • Sugar pine and black oak cover the steep canyon walls of the Yuba River.- Point Defiance Loop Trail
  • More fall colors. - Point Defiance Loop Trail
  • Picnic and boat-in camping area at Point Defiance.- Point Defiance Loop Trail
  • Picnic and boat-in camping area at Point Defiance.- Point Defiance Loop Trail
  • The confluence of the South Yuba and Yuba Rivers. Englebright Lake is downstream.- Point Defiance Loop Trail
  • The second leg of the loop returns along the South Yuba River.- Point Defiance Loop Trail
  • South Yuba River.- Point Defiance Loop Trail
  • Bridgeport covered bridge - thought to be the longest single-span covered bridge still intact.- Point Defiance Loop Trail
  • - Point Defiance Loop Trail
  • Point Defiance trailhead.- Point Defiance Loop Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Fall colors. Fall solitude.
Cons: 
Can get crowded on summer weekends.
Advertisement
Region:
Northern Sacramento Valley, CA
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
420.00 ft (128.02 m)
Parking Pass: 
State Park Fee
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
2.80 mi (4.51 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
540.00 ft (164.59 m)
Current Local Weather:
Advertisement
Hike Description

Hike Description

Team

The Point Defiance Loop Trail is a pleasant 3-mile hiking trail that explores the confluence area of the South Yuba and Yuba Rivers. Located within the westernmost portion of South Yuba River State Park, the trail travels through at least three different ecological zones including oak savannah, a mix of woodland and lower montane pine forest, and a riparian zone. During the summer months, when the region can get quite hot, there are ample opportunities for swimming in the river along the trail. The fall is graced by beautiful foliage colors and significantly fewer people, making it an ideal time for a visit. 

The Point Defiance Trail begins across the river from the South Yuba River State Park Visitor Center. The counterclockwise loop begins at the trailhead marked by a sign for Point Defiance (also marked "Englebright" in reference to the lake into which the two rivers). The hike begins with a 350-foot climb on switchbacks through open oak and grasslands. The trail flattens out for a half mile and then begins a gradual descent along a dirt access road into the Yuba River canyon. On the descent to the river, the spectacular Yuba River Canyon comes into view to the north. Here the river appears flat, calm, and essentially lake-like. Downstream from the confluence of the South Yuba and Yuba rivers is a dam forming Lake Englebright, a popular watersports, fishing, and boat-in camping area during the summer. The two rivers flow into the head of the lake. The trail passes by picnic tables for a couple of the boat-in campgrounds. Point Defiance proper is the point of land at the confluence of the two rivers.

Heading south from Point Defiance, continue on the loop trail following the northern bank of the South Yuba River. There are multiple access points along this section of the trail that put you on the South Yuba River's edge. After passing around the last bend, you'll see the historic Bridgeport Covered Bridge which is famous for being the longest intact single-span covered bridge. Follow the trail past the covered bridge back to the trailhead and parking area.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

Download
Advertisement
Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(1 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(19 within a 30 mile radius)

Advertisement
Related Content

Related Content

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It
27 Members
Who's Done It
8 Members
Submission by
Team
319 Adventures Explored
311 Adventures Published

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info