Downie River Trail

Comments: This trail follows the Downie River into its headwaters. The access is a jeep road to the single-track trail. Not an easy ride because of some steep grades. It's a out and back unless you ride the Chiminy Rock Trail and use this trail as the downhill. You can ride about 9 miles {3-4 miles of single-track} before you have to turn back {2000 to 2200 ft of gain}. The Downie River Trail has more evidence of the gold mining era than any other trail in the Downieville area. There are mine shafts, miles of dredged tailing piles, footbridges, and you get to ride an area that hasen't had all the large trees cut. The Downie River starts out as a small river but is a small creek when you get up into its headwaters.

Access: You can access this trail from Downieville. Try to park out of the main part of town on the weekends...Please.

On The Trail: Take Main Street through the 1 block downtown area. Continue up this road through the town {you are following the Downie River on the right}. Then at the third stop sign take a left on Gold Bluff Road. There is a signpost for the trail on this corner…the last trail sign you will see. This is a paved one lane road that takes you by the cemetery and above the houses along the river.

At .8 miles you come to a spilt in the road. You want to keep to the left here…and the road turns to dirt. This road is a one lane jeep road at this point with few turnouts. You climb way above the river with occasional views of the canyon. After a small downhill you come to another split in the road at about 2.5 miles. Keep to the right here…downhill. You will do a short downhill then cross a creek and then more climbing. At 3 miles you come to another "Y", keep to the left here. There is a orange spot on a small pine tree in the road split. {The right goes to some gold mine claims.} Taking the left the grade is rather steep as you continue up the road. You will cross another creek and pass a gate on the right. The road is rolling as you enter an old growth type forest and you see mining cabins and tailing piles along the small river. You cross another creek with a good flow and descend close to the Downie River. The river at this point is more like a creek. You will start to notice quite a few old mine shaft holes on the left side next to the road. {Picture}The jeep road is rolling as you pass some small mine camps and cross a creek. At about 5 miles you pass a large gold mining operation with equipment on the other side of the river. You cross another creek and at about 6.5 miles you come to the trailhead with a small parking area.{Picture} You have done about 900 ft of elevation gain at this point. There are no signs at the trailhead…just a single-track continuing on. There is a foot-bridge crossing the river {Picture} as you continue on the single-track and you might notice the cabin on the right after the bridge crossing. The trail continues up the river canyon with some steep climbs and some rolling sections. There are large river rock tailing piles all along the river edge and also piled on the steep canyon sides…like I said this river is more of a creek at this point.

The second bridge is a small wooden one across a creek, and then you pass another cabin {Picture}and the trail gets a little steeper. At the next bridge you will have done 1200 ft of climbing in almost 8 miles. You can continue on for another couple of miles and 600 ft of climb if you aren't to worn out. This last section is steep and you cross the river a few times as you climb. {Picture}You finally will get to a place where you are pushing your bike more than you ride it and the trail is climbing out of the river canyon and the going is vertical. Well its time to turn around and enjoy the downhill back into town.

The Fish

Pictures Of The Downie River Trail
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