Analysing terrain data
The exposure grade describes the potential consequences of falling or slipping off the path.
Low Exposure: The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.
Medium Exposure: The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.
High Exposure: Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.
Extreme Exposure: Some trail sections are extremely exposed where falling will almost certainly result in serious injury or death.
The Downieville Downhill is a classic shuttle run of epic proportions! Over the course of 15 miles the trail drops over 4,000 feet of net elevation.
Running from the top of a mountain ridge down to the banks of the Yuba River, this epic trail has been a classic ride for decades.
In fact, the trail and the town of Downieville are host to a long running race/festival dubbed the “Downieville Classic.” The shuttle (hit up Yuba Expeditions for shuttles and rental bikes) drops riders at the top of Packer Saddle.
From there, the route follows a few different trails including Sunrise, Butcher Ranch, Third Divide, Upper First Divide, and Lower First Divide.
However, the route is relatively easy to follow with a good map.
Sunrise is a fast, flowy descent with well-built corners.
The character of the ride changes quickly as it drops into the ultra-gnarly Butcher Ranch.
Butcher is hands-down the most technical portion of the route, with massive rock gardens and challenging features.
Once through Butcher, the rest of the ride is gravy.
Largely comprised of buff bench cut singletrack, the trail flows down the side of a narrow valley with a mountain stream coursing through the valley bottom below.
Thanks to long sight lines and buff trail, riders can hit extremely high speeds on this narrow singletrack—but stay aware of other trail users! While a couple of brief climbs punctuate the descent, they’re over almost as soon as they’ve begun, allowing you to get back to the delectable downhill ripping. Downieville, California is home to over 500 miles of bike legal singletrack, so numerous alternate routes abound.
Stick to the classic route for an easy ride to town, or choose an alternate trail and head deeper into the backcountry—the choice is yours!