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Buttermilk Bend Trail
Herb Lindberg

This trail starts across the river from the Visitors Center just on the opposite side of the modern Pleasant Valley Road bridge and winds up river about 1.2 miles.  You return down the same trail when you come to the end of this parcel of public property.  Parking is available along the road and in a lot at the trailhead.  The trail follows the route of the old 1877 Caleb Cooley water ditch, so is mildly sloped and has been made wide enough for wheelchair accessibility.  An upper trail from the parking lot with no severe climbs has been added recently by constructing two new bridges across river tributaries.  The upper and old trails come back together about 0.2 mile from the parking lot.  Buttermilk Bend trail offers spectacular views of the river and is a showcase of color during Spring wildflower season.

Wildflowers on the
South Yuba River

Run time 13:08 min
(Improved version, 2017)

The trail winds gently among Spring wildflowers.
(Photo also provided to California State Parks for their brochure on the park.)

The river itself is beautiful all year long,
and spectacular during Spring runoff.

Another view
(Chosen by California State Parks for the cover of their brochure
on the park and by me for the cover of the docent wildflower book.)

Pictures in 3D are needed to fully appreciate the beauty of the trail and river gorge. Three photo pairs were taken that allow you to see this beauty in 3D. When the picture pairs are on your computer screen, look at the center line between the pairs and let your eyes relax so they look beyond the screen. As your eyes relax the pictures in each pair begin to overlap. When they completely overlap the center of your two-eye vision becomes a picture in 3D. Ignore what you see on either side of the 3D picture with your peripheral vision.  Focus your attention on the center image until a 3D picture pops into view. Click here for the picture pairs. When your Adobe PDF Reader opens, set the magnification to 75% (easier to view 3D) or 100% (better result after you are experienced). Print the PDF page at 75% or 100% for even better results.

Here, the raging river is backdrop for poppies, lupine and lace pod.
(Photo also provided to California State Parks for their brochure on the park.)
Photo taken April 1, 2005

A field of lupine and poppies rises from the river.

Poppies also put on a show.  More than 100 wildflower species are seen on the trail.

Each Spring, from mid March to the first weekend in May, docents lead
wildflower walks on Saturday and Sunday. Meet at the trailhead at 11 a.m. 
Wear comfortable shoes and bring water for this easy hour and a half walk. 

Call the Visitors Center at 432-2546 to arrange for private or school groups.

Spring is also time for kayaking.  Here, two kayakers rest between rapids.
See Whitewater Kayaking - BRT Insights for more on this sport.

As the weather warms up you will see bathers across the river at Kneebone Beach.

You may even notice this giant-frog-shaped rock when
looking down from the bridge over French Corral Creek.

In the springtime on the other side of the bridge you can see four waterfalls if you look up the ravine closely.
Below is the lowest, which empties into pond at the bridge, and the next one farther upstream.

Here is a closer view of the upper fall in the previous picture.

Here are the third and fourth, farther upstream. You can see only the foam from the fourth waterfall.