West of Lake Tahoe in Tahoe National Forest near the northern most region of the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains runs the North, Middle, and South Yuba rivers. The three continue westward and eventually unite creating the Yuba River, which flows into the Feather River and so on until what was once snow melt, shifts back and forth from meandering drift and rushing rapids, becomes seawater. Before that happens, however, these rivers cut through the upper Sierras creating deep rocky canyons, shaping the already dynamic and beautiful landscape, and nourish the lush ecosystem including the backcountry athlete.
Of course the sustenance that the backcountry athlete is provided with is the fulfillment of escape and adventure. Any who venture into this area will not be disappointed. And though these paths are linear, or out and back, trails the views are spectacular and provide fresh vistas form all vantages.
Both the North and South Rivers, as they wind and rush through Tahoe National Forest, are accompanied by trails that traverse along side. A mountain bike trail, which with care can be trekked, traces the North River, while a rugged hiking trail borders the South River. The distance of the northern bike trail totals about 10.7 miles of adventure, however, this does not include the short stint that must be spent on the 402, which connects the two portions of off road bike trail. The southern trail skirts the South Yuba River and the nearby hills for 20 miles beginning on either the south or north side of South Yuba River depending on which direction you travel. Like the northern trail there is a road crossing, but much shorter than the north trail, near Edwards Crossing, which will place you on the opposite side of the river.
From the South Yuba River Trail grand views of the surrounding backcountry are enjoyed and breathed in. Through the thick overhead foliage, sunlight shines and spotlights creating a fantastic cathedral like aura. At times the trail dips into veiled ravines, which then often cross small waterways as they make their voyage downhill toward the river. The trail also enjoys spots along these lower areas as it journeys closely to the river’s rocky bank and boulders of all sizes from a small house to a tiny pebble, which could make for a picturesque fishing spot. Other times the trail climbs to high overlooks that allow soaring vistas of the river and the striking Sierra Nevada Range. All of this with a great mix of woodland and desert flora to observe and enjoy readily all along the trail.
National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map Tahoe National Forest (Yuba & American Rivers California, USA) #804