Nisenan Petroglyph

Indigenous Walk On Deer Creek

Guided By: Laura Petersen & Shelly Covert Category: Culture and History, Nature and Outdoors Outlandishness: Location: Nevada City Approximate Time: 2.5 Hours Per Person: $40

Experience Description

The human spirit is resilient. So is nature. That is the timeless theme of this unforgettable three-mile walk and talk along the Deer Creek Tribute Trail. Since time immemorial, it’s a place where the local Nisenan thrived in village sites before the greed of the Gold Rush and the two largest mines in the State – Champion and Providence nearly exterminated the tribe and the plants and animals they subsisted on. Today, nature and the original people are healing and making a comeback. Their stories are rich and ripe for retelling.

Experienced hiking guide, environmental writer and conservationist Laura Petersen will meet you in the charming historic town of downtown Nevada City at the Miner’s Foundry, the heart of industry during the Gold Rush. From there, we’ll walk through sleepy neighborhoods and venture deep into the forest to learn about the medicinal and edible plants found along the way.

At the “Aqkula Seo” suspension bridge, we’ll meet Shelly Covert of the Nisenan tribe for language, song and stories. You won’t want to miss the National Geographic-style photo opportunities here. We’ll make rubbings to take home of modern-day replicas of ancient petroglyphs in the shape of bear paws and continuum spirals found on the granite boulders near the bridge. Shelly will lead you along the switchback trail to interpretive sites and a Nisenan Garden where she will share her hope, inspiration and vision for the future of this landscape and a better world. “You can come back after being destroyed,” said Shelly. Laura will lead the group back to town to end the tour at the Firehouse Museum, where ancient Nisenan artifacts are stored. For those who desire to stay after the tour, deeper conversations with Shelly can continue at the museum.

Deer Creek Nisenan Hike
laura and shelly

Experience Guide

Laura is an experienced hiking guide and journalist with a passion for the outdoors, local food & farming, history and the people of this remote corner of Northern California.

Shelly Covert is the spokesperson for the Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan Tribe and sits on the Tribal Council. Shelly is also the Executive Director for the non-profit California Heritage: Indigenous Research Project, or C.H.I.R.P.

Where To Meet

325 Spring St,, Nevada City, California, 95959, United States


From Sacramento/Auburn:
Take I-80 E toward RENO
Take the Hwy 49 exit toward GRASS VALLEY
Turn LEFT onto Hwy 49
Continue to follow Hwy 49 N
Turn LEFT onto BROAD ST.
Turn LEFT onto S PINE ST.

From Reno/Tahoe:
Take I-80 West toward SACRAMENTO
Take the Hwy 20 West exit – EXIT 161 – toward NEVADA CITY / GRASS VALLEY.
Turn RIGHT onto CA-49 N
Turn LEFT onto W BROAD ST.

Safety, Restrictions, and Cancellations

Bring: Plenty of water, snacks, sun protection (hat, sunblock and/ or lightweight long sleeve shirt), bug spray (optional). Please bring anything else you might need to have a safe, fun, comfortable experience.

*Tip - Pre-hydrating before hiking is a good idea and gives your body a “head-start” on fluids you’ll lose.

Wear: Dress appropriately for the weather in comfortable stretchy or loose-fitting clothing that allows for ease of movement. Sturdy walking shoes with decent tread are essential.

Difficulty: This is a moderate 3 + mile hike with some climbing on uneven terrain and earthen paths.

Guides may cancel the hike if the minimum number of signups (2 people) is not reached within 24 hours of the scheduled event. Extreme weather or other unforeseen emergencies also may cancel this event.

This experience welcomes people of all ages, however, children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

All sales are final. No refunds or exchanges. Experiences purchased may be transferable with at least 48 hours’ notice. In the event your guide cancels, be sure to email us and, upon approval, a full refund will be issued within one week. See our Terms of Service for more information.


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