Come and sit a spell: Fall colors in our local state parks
Looking for a fun, healthy activity for your family this fall? Our three local state parks offer some amazing sights this time of year. The brilliant colors of deciduous trees preparing for winter are among the most striking and most appreciated spectacles in nature. No matter if you choose to enjoy a picnic with friends and family or a slow, meandering stroll alone, the brilliant fall colors can renew lagging spirits and remind us to take a pause and marvel at the beauty that surrounds us.
Empire Mine State Historic Park
WHERE: 10791 Empire Street, Grass Valley
HOURS: The park will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Nov. 1 through Feb. 28. Closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day
COST: $5/Adult, $5/Youth (6-16 years old). Free/Children 5 years and under
The thirteen-acres of landscaped grounds at Empire Mine State Historic Park have over forty species of deciduous trees—including maples, oaks, sycamores, cottonwoods, dogwoods and sweet gums. The autumn days are late this year due to warm temperatures, so there are still a few weeks ahead to view this colorful display.
Activities: Art, biking, day-use, hiking, horseback riding, nature study and picnicking.
South Yuba River State Park
WHERE: 17660 Pleasant Valley Road, Penn Valley
HOURS: Open seven days a Week – Sunrise to sunset. South Yuba River State Park Bridgeport Visitor Center hours: Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Winter Hours, $5/per vehicle. The fee applies to the main and north parking lots. Parking along Pleasant Valley Road is not permitted. A self-service depository is located in the northeast corner of the main lot. During high-use hours in the summer, a kiosk is staffed with park personnel, and a depository is available for other hours.
The patchwork park boundaries of the South Yuba River State Park form a “string of pearls” for twenty-miles along the river, from Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park to Bridgeport and includes four historic bridges, miles of hiking trails, and epic vistas at every trail turn. The popular wildflowers in spring and cool refreshing river pools, give way to a more quiet subtle beauty of the colorful oak trees, buckeye, ceanothus, redbud, spicebush, manzanita, and madrone in the autumn.
Activities: Art, biking, hiking, day-use, nature study, picnicking and gold panning.
Malakoff Diggins Historic State Park
WHERE: 23579 North Bloomfield Rd, Nevada City
HOURS: Open seven days a week – Sunrise to sunset. Visitor center and museum hours: Thursday from noon to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Use the self-pay system when the Visitor Center is closed.
COST: $5 per vehicle from Labor Day-to Memorial Day weekend.
In the fall, brilliant red maples—planted by the pioneers over 160 years ago—line the ghost town of North Bloomfield. There is more than 20 miles of scenic foothill trails to enjoy. 3,200 forested acres in the park surround the Diggins (the large hydraulic mining pit). Take a walk amongst the second-growth ponderosa pine forest that also includes incense cedar, black oak, white and Douglas-fir and sugar pine. The birds and squirrels are also busy preparing for winter and their activity is fun to watch.
Activities: Art, biking, day-use, fishing, gold panning, hiking, horseback riding, nature study and picnicking.
For more information go to Sierra Gold Parks Foundation http://www.sierragoldparks foundation.org.
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Highs will drop into the 60s early next week, as a chance of rain enters the forecast, the National Weather Service said.