Take the North Bloomfield Road a few miles out of Nevada City, CA until you come to a bridge down in the South Yuba River Canyon. This is Edward’s Crossing. One of Nevada County’s best trails starts here.
Park on the near side of the bridge. There’s a restroom, but no drinking water. Walk out on the bridge for a look. This is the view downstream.
Lots of people come to Edward’s Crossing in the summer to swim under the bridge or nearby. Too crowded for me. I don’t drive 45 minutes out into the country to be with crowds. Take a look upstream.
Looks mild, doesn’t it? Well, it is mild—right now, in mid-July. Last month we lost another young man who slipped off the rocks, got pinned by the current, and never came up. Respect the Yuba, especially in the winter and spring when the river is running high and fast.
The trailhead for today’s run is right at the end of the bridge. There’s a sign pointing toward Purdon Crossing and Round Mountain. Follow the arrows and take that trail, Here is a typical view right at the beginning. Pretty, isn’t it?
About 1 and 1/4 miles into the run, you will find this usually reliable little spring. If you have your dog along for the outing, be sure pooch drinks up—this may be the last doggie water available.
Just before you arrive at mile 2 you will emerge into an area of steep drop-offs where the trail hugs the side of the cliff. You have to concentrate for about a half mile.
The photo above fails to illustrate how precipitous this section can be. In fact, it might be a good time to mention that today’s run is not for beginners. Make sure you are in good condition, and if you are afraid of heights, perhaps you should consider one of my other outings. No? OK, let’s keep running.
This is one of my favorite views along the trail.
From time to time, you can take a look up at the ridge on the other side of the canyon, but you should probably stop for a brief rest first. We wouldn’t want you taking an unfortunate side trip down the cliff. One of the best places for a rest and look-see is at this rock about 2 and 1/2 miles along the trail.
Here I am with my faithful sidekick, Dharma, just downhill from the resting rock.
At mile 3 you will see another little oasis for the mutt. This water is almost gone. In another couple of weeks it will be gone.
In another half mile you will come to the well-marked trailhead to Round Mountain. You can continue along the trail you have been on for another couple of miles until you come to Purdon Crossing. Or you can turn around and go back to the Edward’s Crossing bridge for a round trip run of 7 miles. Or, call me crazy, you can head up toward Round Mountain.
Round Mountain? Are you nuts? OK. If you insist, but I tell you that it is at least two miles uphill, unremittingly UP hill. Whatever you say. Let’s go.
The Blair Witch Woods. There are three things to keep in mind on the Round Mountain Trail. First, as just mentioned, it is uphill all the way. Secondly, it’s haunted. Haunted like that weird movie, Blair Witch Project. I don’t know how to describe it except to say, it creeps me out. On today’s run, something brushed against my arm and there was nothing visible anywhere near. Made the hairs stand up. I saw a turkey feather on the trail. I picked it up to discover that it had a string tied to it. What the heck? It was like a piece of those scary totems hanging from the trees in BWP. Jeepers.
And by the way, I don’t stop to take a bunch of photos in the Blair Witch Woods. The third thing to keep in mind? The distances marked on the signs are all wrong. It takes me, running steadily, 30 minutes to run from the Edward’s Crossing Trail to the top of Round Mountain. And when you get there?
Big whoop. Big letdown is more like it. You work so hard to get up here, and what do you get? A dirt parking area. Not even a view. So, unless you need some serious uphill training, or you are trying to challenge yourself, or you are just plain stubborn, like me, you can probably find a more enjoyable run than the Round Mountain spur. And don’t forget, you still have to go back down through the Blair Witch Woods, and maybe it’s starting to get dark.
But it is downhill, isn’t it? Heh heh. If you run really, really fast, the witch can’t catch you. How fast do I run this trail to get back to the river?
I pass Ursain Bolt like he’s jogging. He just watches me flash past, stunned, with his mouth open. I run this trail in twenty minutes, and I am hauling butt, at 8 minutes per mile, probably faster. That’s 2 and 1/2 miles, minimum.
Get back to the main trail and head for home, 3 and 1/2 miles away, upstream. I am happy to crest the last uphill and see, about 1/4 mil away, the bridge at Edward’s Crossing.
Yippee! Another couple of minutes and I’m back at the truck. That’s the run from Edward’s Crossing to the top of Round Mountain. It’s a lot of fun, but don’t take it lightly–– and get through the Blair Witch Woods without dawdling. You have been warned.
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