Meet the Yuba!

A classic drop and pool wild and scenic river in 3 forks

About the Yuba River

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



·         Name origin: Derived from Spanish word "uva" meaning grape

·         Region: Nevada County

·         Part of the Feather River basin


·         Tributaries

o   Left--Middle Yuba River, South Yuba River, Deer Creek (Nevada County, California)

oRight--North Yuba River

o   Cities: North San Juan, Marysville, Yuba City


·         Source: Confluence of North and Middle Yuba River

o   Location: Near North San Juan, Borderline Yuba and Nevada Counties

o   Elevation: 1,129 ft (344 m)

o   Coordinates: 39°22?07?N 121°08?11?W


·         Mouth: Feather River

o   Location: Yuba City-Marysville, Yuba County

o   Elevation: 49 ft (15 m)

o   Coordinates: 39°07?39?N 121°35?48?W


·         Length: 40 mi (64 km), Southeast or 115 miles (185 km) including the North Fork

·         Basin: 1,339 sq mi (3,468 km2)

·         Discharge at the mouth

o   Average: 2,432 cu ft/s (69 m3/s)

o   Max: 180,000 cu ft/s (5,097 m3/s)

o   Min: 10 cu ft/s (0 m3/s)


Map of the Yuba River basin




The Yuba River is a tributary of the Feather River in the Sacramento Valley of the U.S. state of California. It is one of the Feather's most important branches, providing about a third of its flow. The main stem of the river is about 40 miles (64 km) long, and its headwaters are split into North, Middle and South forks; the confluence of the former two is considered the beginning of the Yuba. The river drains about 1,339 square miles (3,470 km2) of the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountain range as well as a small portion of the Sacramento Valley.


The Yuba was probably named by early Spanish or Mexican scouting expeditions in the region who found wild grapes growing along the banks of the river, and dubbed it using a variant spelling of the Spanish word "uva" (grape).



Most of the Yuba's flow is incorporated from its three main tributaries, the North Yuba, Middle Yuba and South Yuba. All three rivers run westwards from the crest of the Sierra Nevada to form the main stream of the Yuba. The beginning of the main stem is defined as the confluence of the North and Middle Yuba Rivers. The North Fork is longer, but the Middle Fork is considered the main stem.


North fork

The North Yuba River, 61.0 miles (98.2 km) long, rises near the eastern border of the Tahoe National Forest, on a mountainside along California State Route 49. It flows southwest then west through a 3,000-foot-deep (910 m) canyon past the small villages of Downieville, where it receives the Downie River, and Goodyears Bar. It then incorporates the flow of Canyon Creek and Slate Creek, two of its main tributaries, and very soon after widens into New Bullards Bar Reservoir, which is impounded by the 645-foot (197 m) New Bullards Bar Dam. Very soon after leaving the dam it joins with the Middle Yuba to form the Yuba River.


Middle fork

Originating in a bowl-shaped valley in Moscove Meadow, the 55.4-mile-long (89.2 km) Middle Yuba River flows north into Jackson Meadows Reservoir, then turns west, descending steeply into a gorge, defining over almost its entire length the boundary of Nevada County in the north and Yuba County in the south. The river bends to the southwest, then west again, receiving Kanaka Creek from the right and Grizzly Creek from the left. It intersects California State Route 49 about 2 miles (3.2 km) northwest of North San Juan, then a few miles after joins with the North Yuba River.


South fork

The 65.0-mile-long (104.6 km) South Yuba River originates at Donner Pass at the crest of the Sierra Nevada, near the town of Soda Springs. Gathering numerous snowfed tributaries, it runs west through a marshy, lake-filled valley, shadowed by Interstate 80. The river then flows into Lake Spaulding, which is formed by Lake Spaulding Dam. After escaping from the dam the river plunges northwards into a steep-sided valley. Canyon Creek enters from the right, then Poorman Creek also from the right near the town of Washington. The river continues west into the foothills, crossing under State Route 49. Its mouth is on the east shore of Englebright Lake, formed by a dam across the Yuba River.


Main stem

From the joining of the North and Middle forks, the Yuba flows southwards, then southwest, through the Sierra Nevada foothills, forming the Yuba-Nevada County border. The river widens into the main arm of Englebright Lake near French Bar, and is joined by the South Yuba within the reservoir. The Yuba leaves the Englebright Dam near Lake Wildwood, California and is then joined by Deer Creek, the stream flowing from that lake, on the left. The Yuba slows down as it flows from the mountains out into the Sacramento Valley near the Yuba Goldfields, a section of the Yuba River valley consisting of dredged sediments washed down by hydraulic mining in the 19th century. The river then turns southwest, flowing through irrigated farmland. It then skirts the south side of Marysville and reaches its destination at the Feather River between the cities of Marysville, Yuba City and Linda.





Large gold nugget from the Yuba River

placers, weight 182 gms.



























Dams and diversions

Like the majority of California rivers, the Yuba was dammed at many points during the 20th century and large amounts of water are drawn for irrigation and municipal water supply. Daguerre Point Dam was built in 1906 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in order to trap hydraulic mining debris. After concerns about its impact on fish populations, the dam was fitted with fish ladders in 1937.  The concrete arch Englebright Dam was built in 1941 to trap mining debris following the re-legalization of hydraulic mining during the 1930s. Mining never resumed on a Gold Rush scale in the Yuba River watershed; today Englebright serves primarily for hydroelectricity generation.


New Bullards Bar Dam was built on the North Fork of the Yuba River in response to severe flooding in 1955. Completed in 1969, the concrete-arch dam, 645 ft (197 m) high, is one of the tallest in the United States and provides the primary dry-season water storage for the Yuba River basin, serving both irrigation and hydropower interests. Other dams include Lake Spaulding on the South Fork; Jackson Meadows and Our House on the Middle Fork; Scotts Flat and Wildwood on Deer Creek; and Mildred and Virginia Ranch on Dry Creek, a lower tributary of the Yuba.



In hierarchical order, going upstream:

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