The ranking includes trails from throughout the region, from the Flume Trail in Lake Tahoe to the South Fork American River Trail in El Dorado County.
“Tops on the list for 2013 is the Independence Trail, north of Nevada City,” the Bee article reads.
“You might just pass the trailhead by as you wend your way along Highway 49. But do yourself a favor and stop for a 3- to 4-mile, out-and-back jaunt amid the fragrant cedar and ponderosa pines and the shadows cast by the twisted madrone and live oak.
“Late naturalist John Olmsted and friends built the trail themselves, taking an old flume trail and leveling and compacting the dirt so that those using wheelchairs or those too frail for jagged paths can experience nature. It is the very definition of win-win for outdoor lovers of all abilities.
“The 3-mile, out-and-back west route is the preferred route. That branch takes you along a twisting irrigation canal with stone walls covered with lichen, followed by flumes standing on trestles that afford gorgeous views of the river and, closer still, Rush Creek.
“‘I first did this trail 20 years ago and at the time it was, like, wow, impressive,’ said Bonnie Lewkowicz, director of Access Northern California, a Bay Area nonprofit advocacy group for trails friendly to the disabled. ‘Is there still that switchback ramp that goes down to the waterfall?’”
“Well, yes and no.
“The original wooden ramp that Olmsted and cohorts built years ago still leads down to the stream bed. But rains over the winter washed out the last section of the ramp, meaning wheelchair users now can only get close to the water. There are plans to repair and rebuild.
“Difficulty: Easy (out-and-backs); moderate (Jones Bar loop)
The rest of the article is HERE.
A new interactive trails web map for our County, including Independence trail, is HERE. Click on the hiking boot icon.
More information from the Bear Yuba Land Trust website is HERE.