Adventure entry by André Sanchez | Community Engagement & Conservation Policy Manager
Hike Name: Kyburz Flat Interpretive Site
Name of area/general location: Kyburz Flat Interpretive Site, Sierraville Ranger District Tahoe National Forest; Sierra County, CA
Land Acknowledgement: This trail is located on the ancestral homelands and traditional territories of the Washoe, Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla. To learn more about the original residents and stewards of the lands, visit: native-land.ca.
Trail rating: Easy to moderate, depending on whether you add mileage beyond the marsh loop.
Trail mileage: 0.3 mile loop with additional time to view interpretive trail signage; wildlife watching; birdwatching.
Permissible trail uses (dogs, horses, mountain bikes, others): Best experienced on foot, particularly given the number of interpretive signs available to read. Given that the area is known for wildlife viewing, it is highly advised that dogs remain on leash to reduce any potential wildlife-pet conflicts. Remember, please respect wildlife as we are visitors in their homes (habitats), and they may react in their own defense if not respected.
Description of the area, sights, wildlife, and any key markers on the trail: Located 16 miles north of Truckee, California, Kyburz Flat provides an opportunity to follow a boardwalk that largely traverses a Sierra Nevada meadow that offers several informative interpretive signs. In addition to the nature-based parts of the experience, visitors have an opportunity to learn about a significant amount of Indigenous and settler-colonial history.
With respect to the Indigenous history, one of the more interesting signs provides information about is the Kyburz petroglyph, a rock that was at one point one large stone but that is now cracked into three pieces. The petroglyph is currently estimated to be 2,000 years old and believed to be an item related to traditional ceremonial activities. In terms of settler-colonial history, one feature visitors can learn about along the interpretive walk is More’s Station. What once was a 320-acre ranch that served as a stop-over station for stage passengers going from California to Nevada and was comprised of a hotel, well, barn, root cellar, and other related amenities for travelers, is now only visible through the illustrations on the interpretive signs.
Beyond the human history that visitors can learn about, this area is also popular for its wildlife viewing opportunities, particularly for the multitude of birds that stop by the 250-acre marsh that the area offers. Adding to that, the area includes sagebrush and pine forests that are generally common in the Sierra Nevada, making for a somewhat rare and interesting combination of vegetation.
The best time to visit the area is during the spring and summer, once the snow has melted and the wildflowers are in bloom. Plus, there is only seasonal access to the area as the forest road leading there is gated-off during the winter and not plowed.
Directions to the trailhead: From Truckee, CA, you will take Highway 89. You will need to continue Northbound through all the traffic circles to continue onto Highway 89. From Highway 89, you will turn right onto Henness Pass Road (Google Maps calls it Dog Valley Road). While small, there will be a sign for the interpretive area that may make it easier to identify the turn. Similarly, from Sierraville, drive 10 miles south on Highway 89.
Areas to camp nearby: Upper Little Truckee Campground
USFS Website for Information on Kyburz Flat Interpretive Site| Sierraville Ranger District Phone number: 530-430-8912
AllTrails Link for 0.3 mile loop
Caution: Weather and road conditions can change in an instant. Always check with the managing agency before embarking on a trip. Always hike with a friend and carry a cell phone for emergencies. Bring plenty of drinking water, food, and clothing for changing weather conditions. Let someone know where you are going and when you intend to be back. Remember, California’s wild places are beautiful but they can also be dangerous to the unprepared and unwary. CalWild assumes no liability if you intend to visit any of the wild places featured in our materials.