Mary West: Exploring Deer Creek Tribute Trail |

Mary West: Exploring Deer Creek Tribute Trail


If you are looking to avoid the fire scarred areas to our east consider the Nevada City Deer Creek Tribute Trail. The scenic trail is a 4.8 mile in-and-out trail in Nevada City. A shorter trek of 1.8 miles puts you at the trailhead itself and cuts out an urban hike down Nevada City’s Broad Street.

The start of this trail is messy with poorly crafted switchbacks, a couple of benches with dedication plaques, but eventually it leads to a private road where you will discover how this trail got its name. The first tribute is to the Nisenan people. An example of Native American Rock Art is visible if you know what to look for near the suspension bridge over Deer Creek. The bridge offers a good vantage point to enjoy the creek below. A great deal of effort has gone into a decorative rock wall, smooth trail surface and benches with an artistic touch.

Returning to the main trail, you enter private property and follow a canal most of the way until you find a hairpin turn that directs you back to Deer Creek. Follow the switchbacks and you will find a second tribute to Chinese Pioneers and another bridge, information boards and benches. On the far side of this bridge, you can do a short loop trail in the woods that brings you right back to the end of the bridge, not much more than a half mile.

Take Interstate 80 east from Sacramento to Hwy 49 to Grass Valley. Continue through Grass Valley to Nevada City. Take Broad Street into town. Turn left in front of the Nevada Theatre, through the parking lot. Turn right onto the road and follow the road around to Old Downieville Road to Champion Road. The trailhead is located on Champion Road. Champion looks like a driveway, but just after the cut to the left onto Champion you will see a wide spot on the dirt road that will fit four or five cars. Look closely and you will see a sign marking the trail.

Mary West is author of the book series Day Hiker – Gold Country Trail Guide I, II and III (2nd edition Available on Amazon). The books are a collection of the Day Hiker columns where West shares her longtime love of the outdoors, favorite hikes in Northern California’s Gold Country and beyond. West was the recipient of the 2017 and 2019 CRAFT Award for Best Outdoor Column and the 2020 Craft Award for her second book in the series-Day Hiker Gold Country Trail Guide by the Outdoor Writers of California. You can follow West on Facebook and Instagram

The second bridge along the Deer Creek Tribute Trail in Nevada City.
Photo by Mary West
Deer Creek flows under the first bridge along the Tribute Trail.
Photo by Mary West
The Deer Creek Tribute Trail in Nevada City.
Photo by Mary West
Art along the trail.
Photo by Mary West

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