Mountain Biking in Downieville, California - September 2008

Downieville Mountain Biking Trip - Mid September, 2008

Natasha, Brent and I headed east from San Francisco towards Lake Tahoe, turning off on the I-49 to follow the Yuba River into the small mountain town of Downieville. We camped next a giant air-stream motor home owned by a guy gold prospecting nearby river.

On our first day, we'd organized two shuttle drops to the top of Packer Saddle. Yuba Expeditions, a bike outfitter in Downieville drove us to the the top of the Sunrise trail. Dropping down the Sunrise Trail, our morning trail was the straight shot, hitting the Butcher Ranch Trail to Paul Creek, then upping the speed as we fast tracked down the Third Divide Trail to Lavezzola Rd, before diving down the First Divide Trail back to town. After lunch and a caffeine injection, we shuttled back up to the Saddle. This time we took the 4x4 road, and dropped into the slightly less travelled Pauley Creek Trail. This joined up with the Butcher Ranch Trail halfway down, but this time we stayed left, and dropped into the slightly more technical Second Divide Trail. A short cut right at Lavezzola Rd, and we flew back down the First Divide Trail to town, hitting camp after dark.

The second day we drove ourselves up to just below the Packer Lake Saddle, and rode the Deer Lake Trail, some beautifully flowing single track that passes, not surprisingly, around Deer Lake. We then hooked that up with the Tamarack Sardine Lakes trail, a spectacular climb up to a shoulder of the Sierra Buttes and worthy views before plunging down the other side of the ridge, past Upper and Lower Sardine Lakes and back to Packer Lake Rd.

For our final day, Yuba shuttled us back up to the saddle. We dropped down Sunrise Trail, then headed further north past the Empire Mine out to Big Boulder Trail. Dodging baby heads and climbing steep switch backs the Big Boulder Trail then plunges down the shoulder, hitting the Pauley Creek trail just above the foot Bridge. We finished the ride down Third and First Divide Trails, packed up camp quickly, and drove back to San Francisco.

Photos and maps for the trip can be found here.

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