Location: Nevada City, CA
Distance (Round Trip): 17 miles
Exposure: Mostly Shade
Bikes Allowed: Yes
Dog Friendly: Yes
Parking: Free – Limited
Doggie Bags: Yes
Seating: Benches on Trail
Trash: Yes – At Trailhead Only
Drinking Water: No
From Highway 49, take exit 185A for Gold Flat Rd. Head east on Gold Flat Rd and turn right onto Gracie Rd. The parking area is about 1 mile after you turn, on the left. There is a sign across the street from the lot.
Trail Map: Map and Summary
Current Weather: Nevada City, CA
Best Time to Travel: Year Round
About this Hike
Just need a spot where you can get outside and move around, without breaking your back? No need for survival gear and climbing equipment here. The Cascade Canal Trail has everything you need for a fun and low energy outdoor adventure. The entire trail is relatively flat and follows the flowing water of the Cascade Canal. Most of the trail is shaded by tall pines and it’s common to find locals walking their dogs. Take a leisurely stroll on a hot day or head out for a 10 mile run, this trail is great for both!
A Trail for Everyone
This is arguably one of the easiest and most pleasurable in the Sacramento area. It’s great for groups, kids, and elderly walkers. There is a memorial bench on the trail and a day use area off the trail, but you can really setup a picnic anywhere. Break out the charcuterie, box wine, and dangle your legs over the flowing water for an amazing lunch!
Dogs Doggs Dawgs
Because the trail is flat and has access to fresh water the entire time, it’s ideal for canine chums. Also, the trail backs right up to a variety of Nevada City residences and it’s common to see locals regularly walking their dogs. Be prepared for lots of sniffing!
Functional and Fantastic
The Cascade Canal was built back in 1915. The trail itself was originally designed for canal maintenance. Lucky for us, that puts the entire hike right alongside flowing water! Even in the hottest summer months, there is usually water in the canal!
Woodpecker Wildlife Preserve
Part of the wilderness along the trail has been allocated as a Woodpecker Wildlife Reserve. If you stop and listen, you can here the pecking of woodpeckers in the distance. If you’re lucky you might hear their crazy cackling too!
Don’t Want to Bum You Out, But…
These are some things to consider when going on this hike. In no way should these things prevent you from going, I just wanted you let you know!
- There is a nearby outdoor gun range down the hill. You are likely to hear faint rifle shots in the distance during most of your hike.
- There are is no railing or walls between the canal and trail. This can be a safety issue for small children or pets.
- Parking is free but limited. There is a smaller lot down the hill if the main lot is full.
Notes from the Dog
Hiking is easy here. There was lots of other dogs to smell. One time, I saw a stick. Then my humans stopped for food. They had celery and hard boiled eggs. I wanted to eat the shells. Shells yummy. I also almost fell into the canal chasing celery bits. It started raining, then ice came from the sky. I took mud bath and made a mess on the back seat. Totes my best move of the hike.