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Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper © BRIDGEPORT

Looking back…

Doing a little Spring cleaning (okay, someone is really optimist for Spring around here!) and came across a collection of glittery vials from the summer we panned for gold along the South Yuba River.

Bridgeport covered bridge across the South Yuba River, just outside Penn Valley (CA), is definitely a must see when visiting Gold Country. Gold panning (“pans and hands”) is allowed along this stretch of the river. A wonderful place for a relaxing day trip, the South Yuba River State Park offers visitors hiking trails, visitor’s center, picnic area and restrooms. A short walk from the main parking area you will find an old cemetery and barn exhibit (with old wagons).

While you are there, stop in to the visitor’s center and pick up a gold pan kit and try it yourself! The volunteers and park officials will be happy to provide you with information on the technique. You will be amazed to see that the water under the bridge is literally glittering with gold flakes! Of course, it’s not enough to buy a new RV, but you’ll find your day at the Yuba priceless. 🙂

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper © SOUTH YUBA RIVER

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Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©
Smoky haze over the American River at Coloma (CA)

Looking back…

In 2008, we spent most of the summer  in California Gold Country. At that time there were fires burning throughout most of the region and the lack of rain coupled with a heat wave didn’t help the situation. I remember days where temps reached near 100°F and despite the heat, you still had to wear a mask because the smoky haze made it difficult to breathe.

But we didn’t let Mother Nature stop us from exploring beautiful California or go panning for gold. I took the photo above near the Marshall Gold Discovery SHP, just off Highway 49. Just across the bridge is a pull-off and a place to pan (“pans and hands” only) for gold. It was almost 100°F that day and it felt good to take off our shoes and step into the rocky river to pan.

So if you find yourself in that area, take a break from the curvy highway and try your hand at panning. And if seeking the shiny stuff isn’t your thing, there is a rafting outfitter nearby and you can take a cool trip down the American River.

If you ever find yourself near Penn Valley, California… and you’re just itching to try your hand at panning for gold… make sure you spend a few hours at the South Yuba River State Park.

The highlight of the park is the covered bridge. Amazing photos and information about its history can be found in the visitor’s center.

During the summer, the park hosts gold panning demonstrations. You can purchase inexpensive equipment in the visitor’s center and pan for gold right under the bridge. Don’t be shocked when you look into the water and see gold glitter! Although it’s not the “big stuff”, it is fun to see a pan full of gold water. 😉

If you do pan, you should take water-proof boots as the water is very cold after a few minutes. And if you take a picnic lunch,  keep it in your vehicle until you are ready for it. We found the squirrels were hoping to “pan-out” with our picnic while we were panning! 😉

There is some old equipment and buildings in the park which add to the history of the area. Within walking distance is an old cemetery. There are several hiking trails, one is even wheel-chair accessible.

There are different parking areas, but the main area down by the bridge is paved and has adequate room for tows and smaller RVs.

For more information: http://www.parks.ca.gov/default.asp?page_id=496

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