Run 1 … Flowing Downhill … Miles of It!
This page describes Run 1 on the Downieville Trails. If you have not yet read the introduction to Downieville Mountain Biking that's where you probably want to start.
If you have already read about the first run then you can move on by clicking Pauley Creek ... Run 2.
As for navigation? I didn’t have a map because I was counting on Steve to not get us lost … he had biked Downieville before and always keeps track of where we are going (and he does a great job!)
Length: 15.50 miles
The trails we were going to try on Run 1 were called:
- Butcher Ranch
- 3rd Divide and
- 1st Divide
We hadn’t biked more than 53 yards down the Sunrise Trail and before we came to our first dilemma. A trail branched to the left. Steve thought we should stay right (which proved to be correct) even though he had never biked Sunrise since it had only been recently built.
The first 4 miles called “Sunrise” was new to Steve. I found that segment had well groomed berms on turns (except for skid holes), large swooping turns, and plenty of places to get some speed and yet still stay under control. But as on any trail I had never biked I took it a little slowly at first, and I found my seat was set too high, even with the dropper down. I also needed to take a little air out of my shocks, get a little more sag.
Once we hit the Butcher Ranch Trail Run 1 got a little tougher … a lot of exposure, more rock gardens, roots, and pot holes … yet, still the overall design was flowing, with no major drops.
A guy blew by me on Butcher … a solid, experienced rider … but then was waiting down the trail a short stint ahead. I stopped and asked him how he was doing. He said he was waiting for two other guys farther up. I waited a few minutes, told him I’d be expecting to be passed by him and his buddies soon, and left. I figured Steve was up there somewhere with his buddies. I later learned one of his buddies had crashed near Steve … so the rest had waited. But they never passed us, not for the remainder of the ride!
The Lower Butcher Ranch Trail parallels Pauley Creek … with a lot of water, many pools, and small waterfalls. I stopped and took photos (you just don’t see things like that in southern California) while waiting for Steve.
Next we took the 3rd divide … the trail begins on the other end of the bridge where the Lower Butcher Trail ends. From the end of the bridge we ground up a long hill (passing the turn-off for 2nd Divide) then shot down the back side of the hill until it ended on Lavezzola Road, which we took to the 1st Divide Trail.
The first part of 1st Divide Trail was etched into a cliff overlooking Pauley Creek 100 feet below. Steve, not one who enjoys heights, did real well.
On another part we rode along a raised, smooth and perfectly level 6 foot wide dike. The shuttle owner said there used to be a flume along this stretch. And that was why the surface was so level and smooth.
For the remainder of Run 1, the gentleman who blew by me on the Butcher Trail was the only one that passed me. I am still wondering what happened to all the other riders. Were we moving at a good rate or had they all gone down before us?
- The blue balloon marks the Packer Lake Trailhead, the beginning of both Run 1 and Run 2.
- Click on the blue “P” for Driving Directions to Downieville.
- Click Garmin for all kinds of data (including GPX Track) for Run 1.
After eating a couple of power bars and filling up on water we were ready to get aboard a shuttle for our next trek … Run 2 … Pauley Creek.