Point Defiance Trail

MODERATE 140 reviews

Point Defiance Trail is a 2.6 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near North San Juan, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 2.6 miles Elevation Gain: 498 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

Beautiful Loop Trail with views of both the surrounding mountains and a River/Lake on the back side of the hill.

hiking
15 days ago

Beautiful hike! I recommend going around the river part first. Beautiful views, access the river.

hiking
16 days ago

Great trail. First half mile is quite a climb to get your heart pumping. Easy access to water and beautiful views for pictures. Picnic areas and benches to really enjoy a full day. Bathrooms available at start of trail. 5.00 parking fee and plenty of parking. Other trails available as well. We kept exploring to get in over 4 miles. Lots of renovations but no inconvenience. Will be happy to enjoy when all is repaired since this is only a few miles from my home. Quite a gem in our neighborhood!!

hiking
25 days ago

I hiked this on 12-23-19 and the trail is still in great shape but some of the rocks are slippery so be careful.

hiking
1 month ago

This wasn’t the trail we initially planned but since buttermilk bend is closed we gave it a go. It’s a nice trail, not too strenuous. We had 4 kids with us that did great. It had beautiful river views. Even though the river is very low right now. Nice trail for a short hike!

hiking
blowdown
rocky
2 months ago

I love this trail! It’s got a little bit of everything. Some uphill, downhill and flat as well as beautiful river views over 50% of the hike. Not too strenuous but you can definitely get your heart pumping by just speeding up the pace. One section is a little rocky but entirely doable for any semi-agile person. There was a tree blowdown this trip but not impeding passage. I clocked it with my Fit Bit and the All Trails app at 3.4 miles.

hiking
2 months ago

I do this trail reverse go I can be by the pretty water first and avoid that first initial incline BUT boy, that incline 2/3 in will kick your ass! Lol

hiking
off trail
rocky
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

someone below insists that this is a 4 mile trail ... surprise Bunky, it is exactly as listed according to my multiple laps around it with my GPS agreeing every time. 2.6, repeat after me, 2.6 miles.

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

Thia trail is not 2.6 miles. It is around 4 miles round trip. I would also rate this as moderate, not easy. We are in relatively good shape, but it's a bit of a climb on those switchbacks. Overall, good hiking area and the campground had no one there on a Saturday afternoon. The public restroom was well maintained. Good trail, but it is 4 miles!

hiking
4 months ago

I would put this trail at Easy+ or Moderate. I hiked it both ways and suggest going counter clockwise (start with the switchbacks). Definitely bring your swim gear especially on a hot day. The clear, blue river is very inviting after a good, hot hike! (Bring goggles to see all the fish too)

hiking
bridge out
rocky
5 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

easy to follow trail. thru oaks, so intermittent shade helps on hot days. take swimming stuff, as trail goes right by one end of Englebright Lake at the confluence of north and south Yuba. trailhead is right across the street from large public parking ($5) lot. Lot can get really full on weekends with river visitors (lots of river picnicers).

hiking
7 months ago

I took my two dogs on a Tuesday at 8:00 and we had the entire trail to ourselves. I'd recommend going counterclockwise if you like to get the uphill switchbacks out of the way early. Once you get past the climb, the path widens and you follow a beautiful trail along the river. There's some excellent shoreline campground areas of you wanted to bring a picnic.

hiking
7 months ago

Great trail. More difficult than Buttermilk Bend. Right across the way. One good spot to access river for swimming.

hiking
8 months ago

4 over fifties with two medium size dogs on leash midday on a Sunday. Few on trail. Switchbacks gentle. View of Lake Englebright from top is beautiful. Rest camp spot at the edge of the lake with a bathroom and covered picnic tables very nice. Overall the trail is easy and we are all in good health and love hiking.

hiking
8 months ago

We started the trail from the right side and did the switchbacks first. This part of the trail was great. The wide path heading down towards the picnic area was also fine. After leaving the picnic area at Point Defiance we continued our loop. The trail narrows about 5 minutes outside of the picnic area and winds near the river. This part of the trail seemed somewhat overgrown. After walking .5 miles in this direction we encountered two large snakes within 5 minutes of each other. The first snake was over an inch wide and about 2 feet long. It slithered quickly across the path. The 2nd snake was much larger and was coiled up on the path. We tried making noise and stamping our feet. It wiggled it’s head but didn’t leave the path. We took the hint and turned around and hiked back out the way we came in. This made for a 4.7 mile hike for us. We also had to do the steep section twice.

hiking
8 months ago

Nice trail and views. Ticks are out this time of year ....My family and I picked a few off of us when we finished.

9 months ago

Nice loop trail. Well marked. Only saw people near the Covered Bridge at the end of hike. Great views of lake and river. $5 parking. Worth it for sure.

hiking
rocky
9 months ago

Beautiful trail above the Yuba River with some wildflowers. I measured the loop at a little under 4 miles. I will also say that for us over 55 people, the trail is a bit more to the moderate scale due to the significant incline for 1/4 of the hike. In any event it is worth your time!

hiking
9 months ago

Just hiked this with our family today (30 March) Pretty nice trail. Some narrow and rocky spots. Some erosion from the recent rains.

hiking
Wed Dec 19 2018

Very pretty river views right now! Be careful of poison oak

hiking
Mon Dec 03 2018

Nice trail, good elevation changes for a solid hike. picnic area where the south fork and north fork meet. Its a little campground you can reserve. If you're doing this in early to late summer, pay no mind to the parking lot. Most everyone is swimming in the Yuba right there.

hiking
Sat Sep 15 2018

Great hike. I like to do this as a training hike followed by a swim. This is not a super hard hike and it can be done in either direction. I have a video of swimming in the river at the park at Chris and Bobs adventure channel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uyGtgFQLEM&t=16s

Mon Jul 23 2018

It was good hike, but not easy for a beginner and its more like 3.1 miles not the 2.5 listed. This is not a hike for kids under 10, took my 3yr old and 7 yr old and it was rough for them. A large part of the trail has overgrown vegetation. If i have known of all of the elevation changes and narrow paths, I would not have gone to this trail with them.

Wed May 30 2018

took my 3 year old

Tue Apr 17 2018

Great trail. Took the whole family including my 4yr old. Go to the right if you want to knock out the hills early or left if you want to do the hills at the end.

Tue Apr 17 2018

Gorgeous. We recorded 3.5 miles on this trail.

Load More