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Downieville Rides

Sunrise TrailThe Downieville Downhill has a new 1.3 mile trail, the Sunshine Trail which links up with the World Famous Butcher Ranch trail, a 150 year old mining dirt road and then hits the Divide's, which are also old packing trails. There are loops at the top to make your ride longer if you have a cross-country bike (Pauley Creek, Big Boulder and Lavazzola). The downhill is over 14 miles long and offers a two alternate routes in the middle... Third Divide, smooth singletrack strictly downhill or Second Divide, cross-country singletrack. The Downieville Downhill requires strong Intermediate skills to ride it. The Cross-Country alternate routes are also strong Intermediate. The trails are well defined and lush.

Downieville Downhill Ride (DVO Shuttle)
The Downieville Downhill begins with a 1.3 mile singletrack trail, the Sunrise Trail, which links up to Bucher Ranch, a 150 year old trail with the most techinical spots on the downhill, then down to 3rd Divide for smooth fast singletrack and ending on upper and lower 1st Divide which brings you back to town. The ride is Intermediate to Technical depending on how hard you ride. You can make it easier or harder depending on your level of comfort. The trail begins at el. 7100' and ends at el. 2800' over the course of 14 miles, so it is considered a pedalers downhill.

There are three loops at the top of the Downhill for Cross-Country riders: Pauley Creek, Big Boulder or Lavazzola Creek.The 2nd Divide Trail is the Cross-Country ride as an alternative to the Downhillers 3rd Divide. Many riders link up a loop at the top with the 2nd Divide trail for a 3-5 hour ride.

Trail options for the Downieville Downhill:

  • Butcher Ranch Creek
    Butcher Ranch Trail*”This is the trail that first made Downieville famous. Taken from Packers Saddle it starts in a meadow high in the Sierras east of town. It drops like a stone through creeks and canyons over brutally demanding terrain. The first mile and a half  descends about 1200 feet. In all the trail dives an astounding 4500 feet in 14+ miles with all the drop offs, rock gardens, and fast forest tracks to gladden the heart of any technical mountain biker. If you’re in it for the thrills, you came to the right place!”
    *Taken from Downieville Mountain Bike Adventure
  • Pauley Creek
    *”  Pauley Creek Trail is the second great downhill ride in the Downieville collection. It shares all the technical joys of Butcher and Big Boulder trails in a setting of great beauty. Its more visual than other area trails because it starts in open country. Traveling to this trail allows you to get a larger picture of this part of the Sierras from ridge tops to meadowlands. Another advantage of using this trail is that it is more private. You’ll see fewer riders on this run.  Do you like the idea of momentum roller-coaster riding on fern covered mountainsides? Does the thought of steep, rocky, stair-step descents teetering above icy mountain creeks mean anything to you? If so, you’ll find all that and more on Pauley Creek.
    *Taken from Downieville Mountain Bike Adventure
  • Big Boulder Trail
    * “The International Mountain Bike Association rates Boulder Creek as an “Epic” American. O.K. There’s not a great deal you can add to that. If dropping a stomach churning 1700 feet in 2+ miles on a narrow, rocky trail seems like a good way to relax on your next vacation then yes, you really should consider this ride!” “Most of the Big Boulder Trail consists of rocky, unstable soil conditions. Much of it is extremely narrow, strewn with gnarly tree roots, off camber, and on a steep mountainside. Could it get much better than that?” Long climbs, beautiful vistas, and screamin’ downhill action make this a ride to remember.
    **Taken from Downieville Mountain Bike Adventure

Additional Area trails and Shuttles:


Chimney Rock (DVO Shuttle)
el. 6400' - 6800'
Technical XC/DH singletrack

DID YOU KNOW? 1996 Bike Magazine rated this Empire Creek as the "best downhill in California!" Looking for another downhill in Downieville? Well, here it is and this is a technical one to test your skills! Shuttle takes you up Saddleback Road (8 mi.) up a steep road to Poker Flat and to the base of Bunker Hill where we drop you off. From the trailhead it has a 1 mile moderate climb to reach Chimney Rock, a huge volcanic rock 12 feet in diameter at the base, rising up for 25 feet. At this point you are on a vista with 360-degree views where the trail continues eastward, descenmding under a lightly forested canopy then starts to climb around Needle Point and Rattlesnake Peak until it reaches the end of Empire Creek Canyon where you descend to Downieville.

*”In 1996 Bike Magazine rated Chimney Rock/Empire Ck. As one of California’s best singletrack trails. It’s a long, gradual, climb into an indigo-blue sky. Pass rocky crags on narrow ridgelines, often with 360 degree views of a spectacular alpine landscape. This tour is about swooping forest trail descents and a host of technical challenges to push your adrenalin button. It will put a smile on your face. Lots to see, lots of singletrack, loads of fun.”
*Taken from Downieville Mountain Bike Adventure

Mt. Elwell to Graeagle (DVO Shuttle)
The Mt. Elwell Trail is one of Downieville’s best-kept secrets. It’s a cross-country tour With a variety of elements. It is part sight-seeing trip, part mountain climb, and part downhill thrill ride.   In twenty three miles it traverses meadows, ridges, and climbs over 2000 feet. It summits Mt. Elwell, one of the tallest peaks in Sierra County. The 360-degree view from the peak is a breathtaking one. Occasionally from this spot you can see Mt. Lassen, over 100 miles distant.   Finally, you descend 3300 feet over eight miles of an assortment of singletrack  conditions from buttery smooth to bone-crunching moon rock.  It’s a demanding ride that will leave you even more amazed at the variety and challenge of the Downieville area trails.
*Taken from Downieville Mountain Bike Adventure

Halls Ranch
epic ride (one way) el. 2600' - 4400'
Technical XC singletrack

5 miles west on Hwy 49 to Indian Rock Picnic Area (across from Ramshorn campground). The trail begins just off the access road to the ummer Home Tract. Go 100 ft. up this road and climb 2000' in 2 miles through numerous switchbacks to the ridgetop viewing North Yuba drainage to the South and Fiddle Creek to the North. Halls Ranch trail descends sharply down to Fiddle Creek in a northerly direction then sharply climbs out of Fiddle Creek to Halls Ranch. Some people prefer to ride it from the North to the South so they can do the last 2 miles to Hwy. 49 downhill. The northern trailhead for Halls Ranch Road is off of the paved Cal Ida road (aka Forest Service Road 25). Shuttled ride from Packer Saddle in the Plumas National Forest

Fiddle Creek Ridge Trail
Epic ride (one-way) el. 2600' - 4000'
Technical XC singletrack

Same beginning as Halls Ranch but make a turn at a fork to do Fiddle Creek. 5 miles west on Hwy 49 to Indian Rock Picnic Area (across from Ramshorn campground). The trail begins just off the access road to the Summer Home Tract. Go 100 ft. up this road and climb 2000' in 2 miles through numerous switchbacks to the ridgetop viewing North Yuba drainage to the South and Fiddle Creek drainage to the North. Immediately climb over another ridge to drop into Little Fiddle Creek before making the final ascent to Halls Ranch. This trail then connects with the Halls Ranch trail. Proceed West on ridgeline to continue on Fiddle Creek ridge trail approximately 6 miles until it descends down to Cal Ida road near Indian Valley Outpost. Beyond Fiddle Creek trail passes through the Indian Burn (result of 10,000 acre burn in 1987) to Hwy 49 Ramshorn.

North Yuba Trail
7.5 miles (one-way) el. 2800' - 3000'
Moderate XC singletrack above the North Yuba
4 miles out of Downieville in Goodyear’s Bar is a rolling 9 mile singletrack with a lot of canopy. Trail crosses many side drainages that flow into the North Yuba River. Excellent fitness ride. Bring your bug spray.



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