Downieville is a charming and colorful adventure town along the Yuba River in Northern California. It began as a gold mining mecca in the 1800s, and has now transitioned into a hub for outdoor adventure. It is well known as a mountain biking mecca amped up by the beautiful Tahoe National Forest surrounding it. Downieville has retained its old, laid back charm, and is now Sierra County’s biggest adventure town frequented by bikers, hikers, paddlers and outdoor adventure-seekers.
The renowned Downieville Downhill is Downieville’s most popular trail. It is difficult rated, flowing singletrack with fast, rocky, technical features, and impressive drops. Dropping 5,000 vertical feet in 15 miles, it hosts the longest and most demanding mountain bike race in the country – the Downieville Classic. It’s all about the speed, tight turns, creek crossings, and rock gardens. it requires a 2-car shuttle, leaving one car at the top of the ride – or you can take a shuttle from one of the local companies in Downieville and ride back to your car.
For a less intense ride, intermediate riders can break up the downhill and try some of the more mellow sections like the Third Divide or Upper Butch Ranch trail. For a challenging cross country singletrack that offers amazing views of the Yuba River throughout the ride, try your skills on the 11.5-mile North Yuba trail.
Overall, Downieville is a more advanced trail system tailored to intermediate and advanced riders, with technical features, and a few hike-a-bike sections. It’s not ideal for beginners.
For outdoor adventures, the best time to visit Downieville California is between June to September. Snow can remain through May on upper sections of trails.
TripOutside features the best shops in Downieville, California for biking and paddling gear rental and outdoor adventures.