South Yuba Trail
The Section From Washington to N. Bloomfield Rd.

Comments: The South Yuba Trail is one of my favorite trails. I ride different sections almost every week. This trail passes through primitive areas along a wild section of the beautiful South Yuba River. There are places to stop and swim during the summer in clear warm remote pools. This is also a very difficult ride because of the grade of the trail, which has a lot of steep ups and downs. It can get rather hot in the summer too so bring a water filter or plenty of water and sunglasses for the eye gnats. Most of the trail threads through a thick oak and pine forest so you do get some shade even though it has a southern exposure. Its open year around and because it doesn't see the motor and horse traffic it has a very nice surface. There are a number of routes you can take and I will start with the easiest.
How to get there: There are a few access points for the S. Yuba Trail. Starting in the town of Washington there is the Poormans Creek access, downstream is the Missouri Creek Trail and Missouri Drop, farther downstream is Humbug Trail {which is off limits to mountain bikers, and the South Yuba Campgrounds at the western end of this section of the S. Yuba Trail.
Primitive Camp Out And Back: This trail route is approximately 800 ft accent in 8 miles. This is the easiest of the rides I describe, but it is a intermediate to advanced skills trail. It's a narrow single track with some steep edges at points. To get there drive from Nevada City and take North Bloomfield Rd, crossing the river to the parking lot of the South Yuba Campgrounds {which is up from Edwards Xing Bridge}. You start the ride here. The singletrack trail starts on the east end of the parking lot and parallels the road down towards the campgrounds where you keep to the left dropping down. You pop out on a double track that descends for just a short way, where you will want to take the singletrack left. This trail is well signed and easy to follow. Lots of short ups and downs be for you come to Humbug creek picnic tables at the 4 mile mark. At this point you can descend and cross the Humbug Creek and continue upstream to Washington if you want. This Humbug area is a bike carry zone because of the sand and the trail was washed out so its a short carry across the rocks. A short way past this is Primitive Camp tent camping area. The river kinda flooded it out a few years ago and it hasn't been cleaned up much. I usually stop here or at Humbug and have a swim before heading back when I do this out and back.
Missouri Bar Loop {or Primitive Camp Loop}:Strong intermediate to advanced rider. About 16.5 miles and 2600 ft of climb, a good workout and give yourself 3 hours or more. Just like the Primitive Loop you can start at the South Yuba Campgrounds. You can also leave a car at the Missouri Bar Trailhead if you don't want to do the uphill road ride part. Those folks starting at the parking lot at the S. Yuba Campgrounds need to ride up N. Bloomfield Rd. past the Lake City Rd. intersection {picture}keeping to the right and continuing to N. Bloomfield park town. {A short distance passed Lake City on the downhill on the left is Rim Trail if you are feeling strong then this is a fun addition. Rim Trail climbs over the top of the diggins area then intersects with the Blair Trail, off limits to bikes but it is a fun drop into town... then continues through the campground to N. Bloomfield Rd. Take a right to drop into town. And a left on Relief Rd.}
Once in town take a right on Relief Hill Rd. towards Washington and continue across Humbug Creek {There is a trail on the right pass the creek swings over to the holmes cabin and then back to Relief Rd. It was a nice side trip but the park folks made this illigal last year, not sure why cause I never have seen anyone on the trail. You will see a old boiler on the right on Relief Rd. where the trail comes back in.} It's about a half mile to the Missouri Bar Trail from N. Bloomfield on Relief Rd. It will be the first right and there is a sign. You take this dirt road back .1 mile to the trail head and the small parking area. The single track starts here. {If you rode to here you have done 1500 ft of climbing at this point.}
The Missouri Bar Trail drops down a fast single track 1200 ft. in 1.6 miles to "T" into the S. Yuba Trail. Once you get to the S.Yuba Trail you will want to head right or downstream. The S. Yuba Trail winds along the canyon. and there are a few lefts off the main trail that drop down to beautiful river pools{picture}. Great summer swimming. The trail has a lot of ups and downs with a few switch backs and 1100 ft of climb before you get back to the parking lot. Lots of fun and very beautiful but a difficult ride because of the steep climbs. Its another 4 miles or so the primitive camp and after that there is a short bike hike across the washed out trail along the river before you cross the Humbug Creek.Its another hike up to the picnic tables overlooking the river. After resting take the trail on the left {not the Humbug Trail on the right} and continue on the S. yuba Trail. Its about 4 miles back to the parking lot at this point. There are some lefts dropping to the river but keep to the main trail. Near the end of the ride you will make a right on a double track and climb a short distance where the trails takes a left again on singletrack. Its well marked. There is another right near the road and you parallels above this road back to the parking lot.
The Washington Poormans Creek Access: Well this section us the most dramatic section and the most difficult too. This is a advanced ride area because of the steep grades and cliff edges {picture}. Some people do this ride as a out and back to Missouri Bar. I guessing this is about 14 miles and 2400 ft of climb... or more. Other folks use the Missouri Bar Trail to connect to Relief Rd. and loop back. That's probably close to 3800 ft of climb and 16 miles. And if you left a car at the trail parking lot at the S. Yuba campground and rode from Poormans Creek its about 2400 ft of climb and a 16 mile ride. And it will take longer than you think... And if you don't have a car here and ride back up N. Bloomfield to Relief Rd. and back that way then it a brutal 30 mile ride with 4000 ft of climb. All the routes are fun just think about allowing enough time because they do take a little more time than most trails. I've met folks that have been forced to camp overnite cause they ran short of time and daylite.
Missouri Bar Trail: This trail connects the S. Yuba Trail with Relief Rd. It's about 1.6 miles with a 1200 ft. climb. We nickname this trail Misery Bar Trail because of the steady upward grade and eye gnats. A great downhill!
Another Missouri Drop: Well I have been doing a version of this ride long before the S.Yuba Trail was put in. I like to call this the Missouri Drop, and it's for advanced riders only... and not for folks that get lost easily. I'll give a brief description and you can figure it out from that and the map. I like to start at the Washington Overlook on HWY 20. Jump on the Pioneer Trail towards Nevada City.{if you are lost already do another ride!}Drop down to where it crosses the road at White Cloud. Continue down the Pioneer Trail for 1/2 mile or so till you come to a gated road on the left. This is where the Pioneer Trail crosses the corner of the gate that is pointed up HWY 20. { If you pass this gate in about a mile or so you will see Missouri Bar Rd. on the right. This is a legal access but they don't think so and it is hard to get past the houses and dogs going this way.}
Anyway you will want to drop down this gated dirt logging road. There are uncountable water bars to jump and the road is rather steep. You keep to the left at the intersection and you might see a small pond on the left before you do the forever drop. Eventually after 1300 ft of descent you reach where the logging road bottoms out at a clearing. Continuing on this primitive logging road, there is a steep 500 ft climb here. Pass the first right and continue to climb and take the second right. This continues to climb as it swings around the hill. Near the crest you get views of the Yuba River and you will see a very steep road dropping in on the left. This is Missouri Bar Rd. Just a short distance past where Missouri Bar rd. cuts in you will see tremendous views downstream and you need to look for a doubletrack dropping down to the right. This is Missouri Drop {or Missiouri Bar Rd.}and it is a great off camber double track that drops 600 ft or so, steeply switchbacking to the Missouri Bar Crossing. Of course you have to walk across the river here to access the South Yuba Trail {Its 2 ft deep or so at this old historic river crossing}. From here you can head to Washington Town on the S. Yuba Trail. Then its a 1600 ft climb out of the canyon on Washington Rd. to the overlook where we started...
Or, if you left a shuttle car at the Edwards Xing Bridge or Purdon or just want to ride back to Nevada City then when you cross the river head west or downstream. If you do the loop I described and ride to Edwards Crossing then its probably 30 miles and 3000 ft of climb. You can't cross the river after heavy winter rains or spring snow melt, so check the river before hand in the winter and spring..
Other Routes: If you really want to beat yourself up with a epic ride try Eagle Bird Drop, or Alfa Rd. and drop down to Washington, then ride the S. Yuba Trail to Purdon Xing. Some folks have started dropping down from the rebuilt Artic Mine Trail and Doolittle Trail coming off Bowman Rd. I don't have that map up yet... Enjoy your ride. The Fish

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