Above the fog and below the snow, recreation abounds in and around Grass Valley. Fishing the Yuba River, mountain biking, cycling, hiking, camping, and easy access to the Sierra’s best ski slopes are all within easy reach. Grass Valley’s climate is perfect for a near year-round outdoor experience. Most recreation activities are open year ’round, based on weather. At times, the snows do fall, but most of the time the climate is perfect for those who dislike packing away their outdoor gear, bikes, and hiking shoes.
The land today known as the South Yuba River Canyon is now the centerpiece of a new State Park called the South Yuba River State Park. Stretching along the South Yuba River canyon from Englebright Reservoir below Bridgeport into the Tahoe National Forest, it is a 20-mile patchwork that attracts recreation enthusiasts of all types.
Trails, scenic vistas of fast water boiling over massive granite ledges, historic toll crossings and bridges all tell a story of day-to-day life during the Gold Rush era. The park is a mecca for thousands of visitors each year, including summer swimmers that flock to such places as the Bridgeport Covered Bridge, cemetery beach, Jones Bar, 49 Bridge, Hoyt’s Crossing, Purdon Crossing or the Independence Trail.
Whether your feet prefer pedals or pedestrian movement, hiking and biking activities are alive and well around the Grass Valley area. Starting with several hundred acres of exploration at the Empire Mine State Park, to the fun of the South Yuba River State Park, trails are available for the mild-mannered, as well as aggressive.
The trails at the Empire Mine range from 1.5 to 10 miles in length, with beginner to intermediate ratings. Wooded trails with easy to challenging terrain traverse California’s richest gold mine, on both sides of highway 174. The South Yuba River trail is an 18-mile roundtrip, with a total estimated climb of 1,000 feet.
Grass Valley’s primary RV is at the Nevada County Fairgrounds. Full hookups are available for 44 sites, while another 100 have water and power only. The setting is serene, amidst a beautiful setting of towering pines and affords easy access to fairground events. Despite its proximity to the fairgrounds, the RV park remains peaceful even during the busiest of special events.
Additional camping and RV options around the Grass Valley area include private camp sites, state park sites and forest service/BLM locations, all of which have access to great fishing. Peninsula Camping comes complete with boat launch, rentals, marina, store, restrooms with flush toilets and non-coin hot showers.