When spring arrives in the Nevada County foothills there is no better way to welcome its arrival than with a walk among the beautiful wildflowers at South Yuba River State Park. Docents will provide guided wildflower walks beginning on March 9, and will continue every Saturday and Sunday through May 12 at 11:00 a.m. The walks and blooms are at the whim of Mother Nature. Rain may cancel. Call 530 432-2546 for information.
The Buttermilk Bend Trail, which winds above the wild and scenic South Yuba River, is highly regarded for the many species that bloom on its hills and slopes. Each season observers are delighted with an ever changing tableau of spring color. Early season walkers may find Western Buttercups, Zigzag Larkspur, and Shooting Stars. By mid-season, the hills usually turn gold and purple with Tufted Poppies and a variety of lupine. Mid to late season floral treats can include Fairy Lanterns, Chinese Houses, and Birds-eye Gilia. Docents will share facts, legends and the many uses of the flowers and plants along the trail.
Docent led hikes last about 1.5 hours. The Buttermilk Bend trail is an easy 2 mile hike out and back. Meet at the trailhead in the South Yuba River State Park north parking lot. Follow Pleasant Valley Road north past the Visitor Center over the South Yuba River. Parking is $5.00. Sturdy walking shoes, hat and water are recommended. A $3.00 donation is requested and appreciated. (Dogs are not permitted on the guided walks as the trail is narrow and the groups can be large.)
To make your visit complete, bring picnic lunch and allow time to take in the park Visitor Center, check out the covered bridge (while is it under renovation) and barn (both built in 1862), and the restored 1920’s gas station.
The Visitor Center is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday through Sunday until Memorial Day and every day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting Memorial Day weekend. Here you can find a collection of wildflower books educational and souvenir items. (And perhaps that bottle of water you forgot to bring for the hike)
For more information, call the park at (530) 432-2546, or go to www.southyubariverstatepark.org.