South Yuba River State Park stretches out for 20 miles along the South Yuba River as it passes through rugged canyons just west and outside of the Tahoe National Forest near Penn Valley. One of its highlights is the Bridgeport covered bridge, which is considered to be the longest single-span covered bridge in the world. Also located here is the Independence Trail the very first wheelchair-accessible wilderness trail in the United States.
Visitors to South Yuba River State Park come here for its many scenic vistas, beautiful spring wildflowers, rapids flowing over ledges of granite rock, trails leading to historic mining sites, and emerald-colored swimming holes, which are open for bathing during late summer.
Every Saturday and Sunday from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, the park also offers gold panning demonstrations free of charge. Other scheduled events include docent-led Bird Walks on weekends in fall, winter and spring as well as pine-needle basket weaving classes.
South Yuba River State Park has its Visitor Center at 17660 Pleasant Valley Road, Penn Valley, California 95946-9728. Free parking is available in the center's lot, open from 10am to sunset. Visitor Center hours are from 11am to 4pm on Thursday through Sunday.
The operating hours of the park itself are from dawn to dusk daily.