The North Yuba River Trails Downieville, 16 miles of fantastic singletrack
Due to the very high amount of snow that was dumped on the range during the previous Winter and early Spring, most of the trails I had planned to shred were still snowed in, however the North Yuba River Trail was one of the few trails that were accessible. The North Yuba Trail is a highly rated +15 miles sweet singletrack that follows the Yuba River from Downieville to the Indian Valley Campground. So, did this trail excite me as much as the Downieville classic?
One of the finest singletracks open to bikes, the newly built North Yuba Trail is a simple trail to follow as there are no other trails intersecting it. This short loop is 16.6 miles round-trip, and the first 8.8 miles of it clings to a north-facing slope above the North Yuba River. The remaining 7.7 miles rides the sometimes narrow shoulder of paved CA 49. But you needn’t ride the highway if you don’t want to. If it’s all single-track riding you want, you can easily make it so by returning in the reverse direction. Whatever the direction, the trail is a fun roller-coaster path, punctuated with some steep but short ascents and descents while weaving through a forest of dogwood, big-leaf maples, and mixed conifers. Adding even more spice to the sweet trail is its narrowness, scattered patches of loose rocks, and some serious drop-offs into the river. Throw in great views of the river with sections of gushing whitewater and you have one heck of a fun ride.
As always, I got to the trailhead nice and early, and again without a map, luckily this trails is very easy to follow. To make things easy, I am going to split this trail in two, first section is from Downieville to Goodyears Bar, and the second section is from Goodyears Bar to Indian Valley. I’m doing this, because in my books these two sections offer a different riding experience.
On the first section you get a good 5 minutes to get warmed up, then you start on a long climb, nothing extreme, but it is a 3 mile continuous climb.
The great thing about this, is that once you reach the top ( 3 mile point ) it’s a solid and excellent fast flowing singletrack all the way to Goodyears Bar.
This downhill section really is the highlight of the whole trail, it is fun and very smooth and fast singletrack that really launches you down through the forest. When you reach the road that takes you through Goldyears Bar, you really feel sad the fun came to an abrubt end.
You now follow a very quite road to pick up the second section of this trail, that will take you on another 8 miles of singletrack.
Unlike the first section, where it was a solid climb followed by a solid “bomb”, this section was 8 miles of short up’s and short down’s. There are a few really nice sections on this trail, and the scenery is fantastic, a lot nicer than the first section, however, to me the fun level was lower than the first section.
The North Yuba River Trail is a fantastic 16 mile singletrack, but in an ideal world, I wish I could start with the second section and finish on the fantastic downhill of section one.
The North Yuba River Trail is without doubt a fantastic trail, and is a must if in the Downieville area. To me it did not impress me as much as the Downieville Classic, but that’s a bit like comparing apples to oranges. The trail is sweet singletrack, scenic and both technically and physically moderate.
Another good thing about this trail, is you could easily do this as an “Out & Back”, filling your Hydro at the Indian Valley Campground. The downside to this trail can be “Crowds”, I had the trail to myself on a Thursday early morning, but Saturday was mental on the trail.. we are talking probably 100’s of people.
Traffic on Trail: Thursday early morning, and the trail was mine!!.. however weekends the trail is mental! Avoid if possible.
Wild Life : none
Scenery : Great scenery
Getting There : Trailhead in Downieville
Other : If you can, try and avoid weekends, trail gets very busy
My Trail Rating : 8 / 10
The North Yuba River Trail 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 www.yubaexpeditions.com
Mention MOUNTAIN BIKE MAYHEM and receive 10% discount on the Shuttle Service.
These trails came as a complete and pleasant surprise to me, I had never heard of these trails, and was here to visit the Sequoias on my way to Downieville. The Case Mountain Trails are about 3 miles from Three Rivers. These trails were described to me as ” Like the Downieville Trails were before they became popular” .. Well in that case I was at the right place..
Trail Stats & Information
Nearby Town : Three Rivers Length: 12.07 miles Trail Type: Loop Skill Level: [what the books say] no info Skill Level: [My Opinion] Technically moderate. Physically moderate. Duration : My time was 03:57:57 Elev Gain : 2.975 feet Top Elev : 2,788 feet Min. Elev : 979 feet
I could not find any Mtb Trail books describing the Case Mountain Trails, so the below descriptions are based on my personal experience :
>> The Case Mountain Trails are riddled with fantastic singletracks. The area is not huge, but you can easily spend a day connecting these trails. One thing, these trails are NOT marked, and there are no maps available. I was very lucky to find a local ( Kevin from Three Rivers Hideaway) that was willing to get up at 6 am and show me the layout, and explain the possibilities. The trails here are sweeeet, but hard to know which ones to take.
As I mentioned above, this whole area came as a pleasant surprise, I had not done any research at all, and had no plans to ride. While at the Three Rivers Hideaway Campground I noticed two nice looking Steeds, I asked at the office who they belonged to, and the rest is history. Kevin the owner of the steeds suggested we get an early ride in before it got too hot, the next day at 6 am we were on our way. Once on the trails we spent the first 20 min. on a sweet singletrack on one of the very few named Trails, this one was “Old Number One” the climb was gradual and easy, and it took us back onto a Fire Road. I could see 10’s of singletracks veering off in every direction, Kevin spent a great deal of time explaining each trail, cos a couple of days later I would be on my own.
We followed the fire road for about a good 30 min. all uphill, but nothing too serious. While climbing you will notice the very fast flowing singletracks to each side of the road .. These are trails that will be taking you back down.. FAST!!
We finally made it to the point where we had to prepare ourselves for the mayhem ride back down, all and only on sweet singletrack.
The descent was fast and fun, and I did not do too bad with keeping up with Kevin. I do confess that I did quite a spectacular Endo, luckily no serious damage done.
The downhill is really fast, and narrow, and there is zero room for any hesitation. All in all FANTASTIC!
2 days later I went back on my own and did the Trail that came highly recommended by Kevin, same kind of trail I did above, just higher and about 6 miles longer.. Again, it was fast and furious and a good 6 miles of sweet singletrack.
I wish I had more time to explore these trails, I will definitely be back one of these days to try the so many trails I did not manage to ride.
These trails really are sweet, and you are almost guaranteed the trails to yourself. They are however surprisingly well maintained by the local Mtb’ers ( Kudos to them for doing such a great job) Also, what is pretty nice, is that you can reach the High Spots by following the fire road, but 100% of the downhill is miles singletrack.
The downside is, the trails are not marked or mapped, making it very difficult for outsiders to know what the best routes are.. , but maybe this is a good thing!. I was lucky I had a guide that explained the layout to me.
Bottom line is, if you are ever near Three Rivers, you would be mad not to hit the Case Mountain Trails
Traffic on Trail : I had all the trails to myself, I did not see anyone. Wild Life : King Snake and a Rattlesnake ( huge) Scenery : Great scenery Getting There : From Three Rivers continue about 4 miles along the 198 towards Hammond. Just past Three Rivers Hideaway (on the left) take a right at the church up Skyline Dr. Follow Skyline all the way to the Trailhead ( do not veer off of Skyline)
Other : Take sun lotion and extra fluids, in the summer it can get hot ( 104 when I was there )