Bear Yuba Land Trust and Folk Trails Hiking Club Launch 52 Hike Challenge

Submitted by Laura Petersen

BYLT-52hikechallengelogoInspired by the 52 Hike Challenge, Bear Yuba Land Trust (BYLT) and Folk Trails Hiking Club (FTHC) are teaming up in 2017 to encourage Nevada County residents to venture outdoors, hit the trail and explore miles of hiking opportunities found in their own backyard.

Started by Karla Amador and Phillip Stinis in 2014, the 52 Hike Challenge has become a global movement inspiring individuals to step outside their comfort zone in order to hike 52 times in one year, or an average of once a week.

“The 52 Hike Challenge is a great opportunity for the community to come together around something we love and enjoy – the outdoors – while also working towards this incredible goal. I’m excited to team up with BYLT to learn more about conservation of the region’s natural, historical and agricultural legacy,” said Jesse Locks, organizer of the Folk Trails Hiking Club.

Starting January 2017, hikers can sign up for hikes offered by both organizations and/or select hikes on their own. Hikes can range from beginner to advance, one mile to 15+ miles, flat to several thousands of feet in elevation gain. Hikes can also be repeated more than once.

“For many years, BYLT has been an advocate for local trails and the many health, economic and community-building benefits that nature experiences like hiking can provide. We look forward to partnering with Folk Trails Hiking Club in 2017 and sharing our love of the outdoors with a broader audience. We want to see all walks of life using community trails,” said BYLT’s Outreach Coordinator Laura Petersen.

Upcoming BYLT Hikes

• Hirschman Trail Hike – 11 a.m. to noon Sunday, Jan. 15 – BYLT will lead a free three-mile morning stroll exploring Hirschman Trail during the Wild & Scenic Film Festival. Located a mile from the heart of downtown Nevada City, this lovely trail tells the story of environmentally damaging Gold Rush hydraulic mining and how nature heals itself over time. The trail’s centerpiece, Hirschman’s Pond is a great place to look for wildlife such as waterfowl, turtles and otter. Meet at the trailhead located off of Cement Hill Road.

• Explore Black Swan – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28 – Celebrated local hiking author and archeologist Hank Meals will lead a moderately challenging 4.5 mile hike for BYLT exploring stories of history and culture at Black Swan Preserve. Visit for details.

• Trek Series – Throughout 2017, BYLT will host a series of free treks on local trails and guided hikes on conserved lands by local experts (for a fee), each with a seasonal theme. In winter months, look for snowshoe and cross country treks in the Sierra Nevada, newt and wildflower hikes in spring, bird outings in summer and fall colors in Autumn. BYLT’s annual community Celebration of Trails will take place on Saturday, June 3.

Upcoming FTHC Hikes

BYLT Signs• Steep Hollow Snowshoe Hike – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6 – FTHC will lead a 5-mile snowshoe hike at Steep Hollow, a nearby cross-country ski trail system marked by the Nordic Skiers of Nevada County, located on Highway 20 at the Alpha-Omega rest stop, 17 miles east of Nevada City. From the lookout, look down on the Alpha and Omega Diggins where water from the Yuba River was diverted to the mines through the Omega Ditch and through wooden flumes suspended from the granite cliffs above the river.

• Bear Valley Snowshoe Hike – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan 21 – FTHC will lead a free 1.5 mile snowshoe hike on the Pioneer Trail in Bear Valley, just off of Highway 20, before the Bowman Road. The Pioneer Trail follows one of several emigrant trails that were used to travel to California following the discovery of gold. Hikers should bring their own gear and park at the Valley’s east end at dirt parking area on Zeibright Road. This is a great opportunity to try out snowshoeing. Snowshoes can be rented from Mountain Recreation.

Schedule your next adventure!

Lists of hikes offered can be found at: or

Participants are encouraged to check back monthly for updates or join the mailing list for upcoming reminders on hikes.