by Mary Cornell
Whether you are an avid hiker or a daily walker there is no shortage of amazing trails and places to walk in Nevada County!
Being a walker myself, some walks that include my dogs, other days a friend or two, or just a solitary walk to get my thoughts together, walking is a great way to stay healthy, strong, and stress-free.
One of our latest trails in Grass Valley that has opened within the past two years is Wolf Creek Trail. It is convenient, close to town, paved, and is wheelchair, and stroller-friendly. Meandering along the Wolf Creek and amid the North Star Mine, it has not only beauty but history. There are 4 trailheads for this trail. One is off of the mine museum’s parking lot, one-off Freeman lane by the Animal Shelter, one-off Freeman Ln, with a path down our “sinkhole” and the other at the Wolf Creek group housing.
I love to walk my dogs at The Nevada County Fairgrounds or around the Lyons’ lake. The fairgrounds are open again for dog walkers, the walk is level, paved and they provide doggie bags. I love that the fairgrounds encourage us, dog walkers, with even a bowl of water for our furry friends.
The Empire Mine State Park trails are awesome, as there are many trails to take, and are popular not only for walkers and joggers but also for horses. Many ways to enter this area and one time we even got lost and came up on Highway 174 without knowing where we were!
There is a trail that comes off of Litton Rd in Grass Valley that meanders up crosses Sierra College Blvd, up around the high school, and ends up at Eskaton off of Ridge Rd. That is a fun, short, and surprising walk.
There are many trails that run alongside a NID ditch (Nevada Irrigation District).
One of the longest and most beautiful is the one that starts at Gracie and ends up at Red Dog in Nevada City. This trail is 4 miles if you take it and double back to the car. It’s level and calming as you walk near water the whole time.
Hirschman’s Pond is just a short scenic walk, starting off of Cement Hill Dr in Nevada City. I love the rock outcropping and the serenity of the pond. You can continue past the pond and walk another couple of miles on this trail, but it does run near the highway for a while, so you have some road noise.
The Independence Trail was once a stunning and awesome path leading to a waterfall and creek where salamanders are abundant. The trail had been built through and using the wooden flumes that were once there for the gold miners to direct the water floor. Unfortunately, in 2020 the fire that swept through also destroyed the flumes and walking bridges.
The Deer Creek Tribute Trail in Nevada City is a little more challenging but well worth it! The trail memorializes the early contributions of the native Chinese people. It’s complete with the Chinese Tribute bridge that highlights the walk.
Alta Sierra has a trailhead at the corner of Dog Bar and Alta Sierra Dr. It is a short uphill trail that crosses the NID ditch, skirts the golf course, and has an amazing large tree that is unique and makes a great photoshoot. If you’ve walked the trail, I’m sure you know the one!
If you head on down the hill towards Penn Valley, you will find the Buttermilk Bend Trail at the Yuba River near Bridgeport. This is a great springtime hike, as there are beautiful wildflowers all around and labeled for you to see their names. It rambles above and follows the beautiful Yuba River. It is a breathtaking hike.
Further down the road on the way to Beale’s Airforce Base, there is a trail leading to Fairy Falls. This trail is best taken in the spring as you are walking through large open fields among the cows and very little shade. Finally getting to the waterfall, you will find it a great spot to picnic.
These are just a very few of the great hikes and walks in Nevada County that I have enjoyed. There are plenty more that I’ve yet to mention!
So get out there, explore our beautiful Gold Country and breathe the mountain air!