FATMAP difficulty grade
The Pauley Creek to Second Divide shuttle utilizes lesser-ridden trails in the Downieville trail network for an entertaining change of pace from the norm. The ride begins by traversing the spine of the Sierras range along the Gold Valley Rim Trail.
This trail alone is worth the price of admission.
While the Downieville Classic drops straight down the mountain from the top of the pass, Gold Valley Rim offers up unbelievably gorgeous ridgetop singletrack.
From this flowy trail, you’ll enjoy stunning views of the Sierra Buttes formation high above and the Lakes Basin area far below you. The upper section of Gold Valley Rim isn’t very technical, but when the trail drops off the ridge, it gets gnarly in a hurry! The singletrack funnels into steep rock gardens, over slabs of exposed bedrock, and even offers up optional slabs and rock rolls adjacent to the main trail tread.
Many of the rocks sport a rough volcanic feeling, with other slabs consisting of grippy granite.
This downhill itself is worth the price of admission, so you’re already way ahead on the amount of time and effort invested! After dropping out of the first descent, you’ll descend an OHV track to reach the Pauley Creek singletrack. Pauley Creek is a steep, fast descent down a creek valley that reconnects with the classic Downieville Downhill in a few miles.
The singletrack features embedded rocks in skull-rattling rock gardens that provide some entertaining gnar, but the surroundings are the most interesting aspect.
This trail is lusher and greener than many others in the area, thanks to running so close to the water.
The narrow, green valley is reminiscent of many similar “creek” trails in Colorado. The route mapped here only rejoins the classic Downieville Downhill briefly before peeling off onto Second Divide. Second Divide is a much tighter singletrack than all the other Divide trails, and consequently, it doesn’t get nearly as much traffic as the nearby trails.
It’s more technical with some substantial rock moves, and has a significant amount of fall exposure to the river below.
While none of the features are absolutely insane, the consequences of messing up a rock roll are very high in places.
Some riders will undoubtedly not be a fan of the exposure, while others will eat it up. After popping out of Second Divide, you’ll rejoin the Classic on First Divide and head back into downtown Downieville.