The Independence Trail (West trail), in the Nevada City area, was a delightfully well-shaded trail for our family. However, unlike many of the hikes we take in NorCal, this one had lots of mosquitos! There are several turnouts to park at, so find the closest one and carefully make your way to the trail head.
Why we love it: Our medically fragile 2 year-old is too heavy to (and no longer cares to) be worn,
so when we read that (part of) this trail is touted as the first wheelchair accessible trail in the country, we had to see it for ourselves. We took the West trail to the dilapidated handicap picnic area just past the ramp that goes down to the water.
For the Young Ones (0-10): Our walking little guy loved alternating between the “high” and “low” paths on the trail. (See top photo.)
For the Big Kids (10+): While not a difficult hike, this one is interesting for all ages. I really enjoyed the many wooden footbridges. In years with more rain, it looks like there are probably several small waterfalls along the way.
Keep in Mind:
- What I was most looking forward to on the West trail was the ramp down to the water. Unfortunately, it’s blocked right now, so proceed at your own risk. (See photos below.)
- Bring insect repellent! We usually stop for a snack at a halfway point and if we stopped that long on this trail, we would have been the snack ourselves!
- There is a good amount of poison oak along the trail, so make sure everyone stays on the path.
Around the Area: If you have the energy and the stamina, also check out the East trail. I’ve read there are great views and opportunities to enjoy getting into the water.
Difficulty Level: Beginner.