For years now I have been hearing lots of fantastic stories about the Downieville Trails. I almost made it here last year, but the South Lake Tahoe Trails kept me occupied longer than planned, so I never made it. As I’m sure you can understand, I was pretty stoked about riding what a lot of people call “The hottest mtb destination in the USA” .. I have been to a lot of fantastic mtb destinations, and was really curious if Downieville would come close to some of my all time favorites, or would it go down as Just OK …
Trail Stats & Information
Nearby Town : Downieville / Sierra City
Length: 21.94 mi
Trail Type: Point to Point
Skill Level: [what the books say] no info
Skill Level: [My Opinion] Technically moderate – challenging. Physically demanding.
Duration : My time was 04:31:17
Elev Gain: 3,907 ft
Top Elev : 5,177 ft
Min. Elev : 2,886 ft
After cresting the saddle, the route follows a rolling jeep road to the east rim of Gold Valley and the top of “Baby Heads” – a fast, loose, rocky descent that is responsible for numerous flat tires, get-offs and lead changes. At the bottom of this anarchy awaits Gold Valley and the Pauley Creek crossing. This 30′ wide crossing can be as deep as 3′ during the race, often making it difficult to navigate across at high-speed.
Once across, the route turns to singletrack on the Pauley Creek Trail, a 17 mile creekside plunge that blends flowing turns and rolling jumps with jagged rocks and slippery roots. After descending 2,000′ and crossing three foot-bridges, the trail climbs from the Pauley Creek Canyon to the Lavezzola Creek Canyon, and to the trailhead of the world famous Third Divide Trail. Third Divide is known for it’s Star Wars like speeds, magic carpet tread, bermed corners and lofty airs.
After a thrilling 3 miles, Third Divide Trail dumps out onto Lavezzola Road, which descends to the upper First Divide trail, a 150 year-old water flume built to provide water to a nearby hydraulic mining site. This stretch of trail requires a ton of pedaling as it winds its way downstream through the Lavezzola Creek Canyon, across a saddle, and into the Pauley Creek Canyon to the long awaited streets of downtown Downieville for the finish.
I have to admit, this trail really is Kick Ass.. and YES, it probably has the highest adrenalin pumpin’ fun factor of all the trails I’ve been on ( joint 1st spot with Cold Creek to Star Lake to Armstrong Pass down Corral Trail in South Lake Tahoe )
Traffic on Trail: I did this ride twice, and both times I had the trail to myself, however if you get caught on the trail between “shuttles” it might be a completely different story..
Wild Life : I would not have a clue.. Way too much fun to notice wildlife
Scenery : Great scenery
Getting There : From Downieville head towards Sierra Cityon the 49. The trail starts on the Sierra Buttes Road
My Trail Rating : 10 / 10 with a GOLD STAR
The Downieville Classic was proudly sponsored by :
Yuba Expeditions Downieville
Yuba Expeditions is the one stop bike shop in Downieville, For SALES • SERVICE • DEMOS • SHUTTLES • MAPS • SEMI-ORGANIZED ANARCHY and lots more.
Yuba Expeditions is THE place to get all the up to date trail intel, as well as any parts you or your steed will need while in Downieville.
Yuba Expeditions is also the choice shuttle service of Mountain Bike Mayhem, High on Mountain Biking and Mountain Bike Trails USA.
Yuba Expeditions – Downieville Downhill
208 Main Street, Downieville CA 95936
Tel: (530) 289 3010
Mention MOUNTAIN BIKE MAYHEM and receive 10% discount on the Shuttle Service.
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