Independence Trail, Nevada County, CA

Flume on the Independence Trail

  Hydraulic Mining in the 1850's required large amounts of water for the giant water cannons (Monitors) used in washing away the mountain sides in search of gold. Water Company's were formed to supply the mines and in 1854 the Excelsior Canal Company was incorporated and by the 1860's was quite large through mergers with smaller company's and owned all of the water claims south of the South Fork of the Yuba River.
  The Excelsior Canal Company merged with the Union Ditch Company which owned the "China Ditch" that provided Smartsville with water from Deer Creek. With a need for more water, the Excelsior Canal Company extended the existing "China Ditch" to around 30 miles by building the 17 mile long "Excelsior Ditch" to obtain water from the Yuba River.

  After hydraulic mining was outlawed in the 1880's the "Excelsior Ditch" was used for agricultural irrigation until it was abandoned in 1963. In 1969, John Olmsted rediscovered the the rock-lined ditches, adjacent paths for ditch tenders, and wooden flumes that provided access over ravines.
  John took on the task of  rebuilding the "Excelsior Ditch" into wilderness trail for his friend who dreamed of a trail where he could see and touch wildflowers from his wheelchair.


it1.jpg (23542 bytes)
  Rock-lined walls of the ditch on the east side. it2.jpg (21563 bytes)
it3.jpg (20183 bytes) Randi on a flume on the east side.
  Rather than hassle with moving this boulder, the ditch builders just tunneled under it. it4.jpg (18017 bytes)
it5.jpg (17892 bytes) Flume on the west side.
Flume on the west side. it6.jpg (23509 bytes)
Aaron and Randi on the west side.

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