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Enjoyment of the
Home base for park enjoyment is the Visitors Center at Bridgeport:
about 17 miles west of Grass Valley and Nevada City, and 9 miles north on Pleasant Valley Road from Penn Valley. Click here for a map and directions to Bridgeport. Click here for a map of the Bridgeport area and a table of things to do throughout the year and their dates and times.
In addition to the area around the Bridgeport Covered Bridge (Wood's Bridge), the park stretches in scattered parcels more than 20 miles up the South Yuba River Canyon. Four bridges and trails access the South Yuba River watershed for hiking, swimming and kayaking. Advanced swimmers use several swimming holes upriver from the covered bridge, while Family Beach just below the bridge is ideal for families with small children. Exciting rapids for kayaking are found at 49er Crossing, where route 49 crosses the river.
The 1862 wooden bridge at Bridgeport is the longest single-span, arch-truss, covered bridge in North America. The Buttermilk Bend Trail upriver from the bridge is noted for its wildflowers, which are identified by placards on the trail. Park docents print and set out the placards, and make available a full-color flower booklet and free pamphlets at the Visitors Center. The Point Defiance Trail goes down river from Wood's Bridge and also can be taken as a somewhat more difficult three-mile loop.
The Park sponsors several annual events to present Gold Rush history in a fun-filled way, including Living History Day (Spring Festival) and The Ghosts of Bridgeport (Fall Festival). These events were expanded in 2008 to become Living History Day and Art Show, and Bridgeport Fall Festival. In season, docents guide wildflower and bird walks, and give gold panning instruction. Docents also enhance and help maintain facilities at the park, such as the Visitors Center and the historic Barn, which now houses eleven Gold Rush era wagons and a hay press, on display since the grand opening of the barn in September, 2007.
This web site also posts entertaining high definition video slide shows of park activities for instant play or free downloading. An on-line newsletter, Bridgeport News, is published periodically by the South Yuba River Park Association. The association also hosts special auto tours of the Virginia Turnpike and Bridgeport complex by car clubs. The tours include the Kneebone cemetery as well as the barn, wagons, and covered bridge.
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