Since 1995, the Downieville Classic has drawn riders to the Gold Rush country of the western Sierra. Race the famous point-to-point cross-country course or shred the 15-mile downhill runor try the All-Mountain Championship, which requires racing both events on the same bike. A four-day festival around the racing includes a log pull, a river-jump contest, and live music. Even better, the event benefits the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship, which builds and maintains trails in the area.
How to enter the Downieville Classic
- Bike 26.5km
- Bike 15mi
- Bike 46mi
Downieville Classic routes
SIERRA CITY TO DOWNIEVILLE - All-Mountain World Championships Part 1
Sierra City to Downieville. 4,500' ascent / 5,700' descent
For 2018, we have eliminated the gravel road 93 to Baby Heads, and replaced with specatucalar all Sierra Crest singletrack on the new Gold Valley Rim Trail singletrack! Miles more of singletrack instead of gravel road.
The Downieville Classic cross country race is one of the last remaining point-to-point bicycle races in the United States. The 26.5 mile course follows a rugged "Gold Rush" era route that departs the mountain town of Sierra City (elevation 4,100'), climbs to the crest of the Sierra Nevada (elevation 7,469'), and then plunges 5,700 vertical feet into downtown Downieville. A golden pathway, selected as a tribute to the mountains, the rivers, the fresh mountain air, and to the hard men that carved these trails through the river canyons in search of gold and prosperity.
The adventure begins with an 8 mile, 3,000' climb up the face of the Sierra Buttes, a metamorphic crown that stretches 8,600' towards the wide-open sky. This legendary climb is known to many as the "Trail of Tears". It starts with pavement, turns to dirt, and then gradually steepens and narrows to a loose, exposed, shaly doubletrack. We try to make things more comfortable by providing an overhead water mister at the 2 mile point, and Clif Bar supported aid stations at the 4 and 7 mile markers.
After cresting the saddle, the route picks-up the what was previously the Pacific Crest Trail traversing the spectacular Sierra Crest with a fun singletrack descent to the top of "Baby Heads" - a fast, loose, rocky descent that is responsible for numerous flat tires, get-offs and lead changes. At the bottom of this anarchy awaits Gold Valley and the Pauley Creek crossing. This 30' wide crossing can be as deep as 3' during the race, often making it difficult to navigate across at high-speed.
Once across, the route turns to singletrack on the Pauley Creek Trail, a 17 mile creekside plunge that blends flowing turns and rolling jumps with jagged rocks and slippery roots. After descending 2,000' and crossing three foot-bridges, the trail climbs from the Pauley Creek Canyon to the Lavezzola Creek Canyon, and to the trailhead of the world famous Third Divide Trail. Third Divide is known for it's Star Wars like speeds, magic carpet tread, bermed corners and lofty airs.
After a thrilling 3 miles, Third Divide Trail dumps out onto Lavezzola Road, which descends to the upper First Divide trail, a 150 year-old water flume built to provide water to a nearby hydraulic mining site. This stretch of trail requires a ton of pedaling as it winds its way downstream through the Lavezzola Creek Canyon, across a saddle, and into the Pauley Creek Canyon to the long awaited streets of downtown Downieville for the finish.
PACKER SADDLE TO DOWNIEVILLE - All-Mountain World Championship Part 2
Sunday August 6th, 2017. Packer Saddle to Downieville. 5,333' descent / 1,010' ascent.
The Downieville Downhill is reserved for All-Mountain racers only, which means riders will have to earn their start time by completing the Point to Point Cross Country course the day before.
Dropping 5,000 vertical feet in 15 miles from Packer Saddle to Downieville, the Downieville Downhill is the longest and most demanding downhill mountain bike race in the nation. This prestigious race course follows the paths of the Sunrise Trail, Butcher Ranch Trail, Third Divide Trail and First Divide Trail. It's big, it's bad and it's beautiful.
Sunrise Trail is located mostly on private land at the top of Packer Saddle (elevation 7100'). It was designed and built by the staff at Yuba Expeditions and by volunteers working with the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship. Described by some as a flow trail, the Sunrise Trail proudly features banked turns, reverse grades, rolling dips and even a few G-outs. It is an action-packed, adrenaline-rushing, heart-pounding two miles of trail, and it's only the beginning. The 2 mile trail stretches back and forth across the hillside connecting Butcher Ranch Trail.
Butcher Ranch Trail is the trail that made Downieville famous for singletrack, and it's for good reason - this trail rocks! Butcher starts as a steep, 40+mph doubletrack with two-wheel drifty corners and big, smooth table-top jumps. Fun if you're fresh, nerve racking if you're fatigued. After a little more than a mile, Butcher narrows down to a tightly forested, rocky singletrack. The trail is fast, it's slow, it's smooth, it's rocky as hell; metaphorically speaking, Butcher Ranch Trail has it all, including a 700' climb midway to the Third Divide trailhead. This painstaking climb is where the Downieville Downhill can be won or lost. Racers either stand up and pin it, or lower their head in exhaustion and defeat. Which will you be?
The Third Divide Trail is 3 miles of Sierra singletrack bliss, and despite being the fastest section of the course, it's where racers must find a way to relax and regain some composure after the climb. Third Divide drops into the Lavezzola Creek drainage and eventually hooks-up with First Divide Trail, a 2.5 mile roller coaster where the real pedal work starts. It's also another section of the course that can make you or break you. Following First Divide is a 1.5 mile sprint down Main Street to the finish line. The Downieville Downhill is the Ironman of mountain bike downhill events and we're proud to be able to bring it to you.
Downieville Classic weather forecast
Clear throughout the day.
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