Independence Flat Loop Trail

MODERATE 27 reviews
#2 of 4 trails in

Independence Flat Loop Trail is a 4.1 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Jackson, California that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.

4.1 miles
702 feet

kid friendly



horseback riding

nature trips

trail running




wild flowers


no dogs

This is part of the Mokelumne Coast to Crest Trail (MCCT) to Highway 49. A pretty ramble through woodland and rolling foothill rangeland, passing the lonely sites of many vanished gold miners' camps.

6 days ago

Nice little trail with lots of shade... it’s a little hard to stay on trail at the top as you are just walking through a cow pasture. The grass was freshly growing, so it covered the trail... Took us 1 1/2 hours.

1 month ago

after you drive all the way out here and finally get to the trail it says you need a permit. of course the permit had to be obtained from somewhere else... Lame!

6 months ago

This trail is like what the others said.
Although I will say that if you are not already in the area don't go out of your way.

You should go LEFT when the trail splits, this way the elevation climb isn't so bad, however coming down the other side is very steep. Other then that, I don't think the trail is used much, lots of over growth.

Also when entering the trailhead area do not drive over the bridge, your just going to walk back across to get to the trail. Instead try and find parking on the same side you come in.

And! There is apparently fishing, there were a few guys there when I started.

9 months ago

Great trail, but must have a pass.

10 months ago

Winding one lane road about three miles from highway 49 to get to trailhead. Need pass from East Bay MUD. Wonderful hike through woodlands, crossing creeks, meadows. Moderate level. Lots of poison oak on trail. Bring bug spray and water. Best early in the day or on a cooler day.

10 months ago

Beautiful views in the spring. Great for kids as well.

Tip: go left if you want a gentle climb, right for more intense.

Well worth the trip

11 months ago

Loved it. The hike was comfortable and undemanding, which was perfect for my wife as this is our first hike in over 3 years. As mentioned by another review, March is a beautiful time to go as the hills are lush green and flowers are beginning to bloom. The river was running quickly, but serenely and the brooks coming down the sides of the hill provide a tranquil gurgling that almost begs for a sun salutation to be done.

I really appreciated the review that gave directions. Going down the single-lane road I began to question whether I was on the right road or had missed a turnoff, but I remembered that another reviewer had stated that it was nearly 3 miles down to a bridge. Also appreciated, were the heads up to purchase the permit at the trailhead. I paid $10 for the yearly permit at using my phone. Very easy.

My wife and I had a wonderful time hiking, listening to the river, brooks, and birds. I also liked that there wasn't garbage all over the place (e.g., water bottles, snack wrappers, etc.). We will be back with our 6 and 5 year-olds to hike part of the trail and picnic--the whole loop is a bit much for them.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Great hike! It's well marked with easy access from the Middle Bar Bridge. Requires a permit that you can buy at the entrance via your smart phone for $3. March is the perfect time of year while the hills are lush and green. Wildflowers are starting to bloom. A great spring hike!

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Be prepared to back-up if you meet another vehicle on sections of the narrow single lane access road. The trail traverses beautiful country and is worth the drive. You can purchase a permit at the trailhead if you have a smartphone with internet access.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

This was a nice hike, but not great. The trail head is located about 3 miles down a rough, single lane road. After parking, cross the bridge and veer left. There is a check in and several signs indicating that a permit is required. We did not have a permit and did the hike anyway. Trail is well marked and you will pass through several cattle gates. We did not see another person on the trail. The first portion of the trail follows the river and was very green and wet. As we came away from the river, the landscape became more pasture and we could hear and see cars on Hwy. 49. The section of the trail that follows the river is very pretty and feels remote. It's the second half that made me give it a lower rating. Not a difficult trail, and took about 2 hours at a leisurely pace.

Monday, January 30, 2017

It was so green and a great walk

Monday, January 16, 2017

Well marked. Restrooms in parking lot. Nice views. It says you need a permit from EBMUD, but they don't say where to get the permit. So you risk a ticket...part of trail bear hwy 49 is noisy, but that part is short.

Monday, January 09, 2017

great trail with river access and nice views from the top.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Very pretty and quiet trail. Everything was so green with gorgeous views at the top.

4 months ago

7 months ago

9 months ago

10 months ago

recorded easy pleasant trail to hike

10 months ago

10 months ago

recorded Nice, pretty easy hike

Monday, December 12, 2016