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Big Boulder from Packer Saddle

 4.5 (11)

21.8 Miles 35.1 Kilometers



1,644' 501 m


-5,813' -1,772 m



Avg Grade (4°)


Max Grade (30°)

7,095' 2,163 m


2,896' 883 m


Shared By Michael Klimek


All Clear 89 days ago
Good to go History

Getting forecast...

You still have about 2000ft of climbing on your way, but descending Big Boulder is pure bliss!

Michael Klimek

Dogs Leashed

Features -none-


This ride from Packer Saddle starts on a fire road, but leads to some truly excellent singletrack. The Big Boulder trail is arguably the best descent toward Downieville off Packer Saddle shuttle drop off, but you'll have to do a little climbing to earn your descent. Less skilled riders will have a tough time with the down trail, but those with advanced skills who love fast, flowing, long, continuous descents will be itching for another lap.

Need to Know

The navigation is a little tricky as there is no signage for Big Boulder until you cross Pauley Creek, so until then follow the directions for Pauley creek. Then you have to be mindful of the unmarked fork about half way through the climb where you take a left, I believe the marker says OHV trail or something similar for the trail to the left whereas it says nothing for the section going straight. When in doubt, use the MTB Project mobile app!


You can take either of the two trails that split off the top, they reconnect before you get to the fire road. At the fire road, take a right and stay on it (don't stray at any intersection) until you get to the Pauley creek turn off. Once you cross Pauly creek (it's a large meadow) you'll climb out of the creek and then watch for the Big Boulder turn off on your right. Keep climbing until you come to another fork. The trail you want to take is the option on the left; there is a sign proclaiming it an OHV trail; that's the only confirmation you'll have once heading towards Big Boulder.

At the very top of the climb, you can practice pedal kicks off the fallen log or hike up to the ridge for some photos. Then pad up and enjoy the long, fast and flowy descent toward Third Divide. There is one punchy climb, in the beginning of the ride, you'll likely walk it unless you're the 1%. It's all ripping fun until you get to Lavezolla road and head toward First Divide.

At the intersection of Third Divide, you may want to head uphill instead of down to connect with Second Divide.


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Your Check-Ins


Nov 3, 2018
Jonathan Coupal
Sep 15, 2018
Ivan Oregel
Jul 23, 2018
Jay Robs
Jul 18, 2018
Colin Gruen
Jul 30, 2017
Larry Russell
I climbed Pauley Creek to take it. 22mi
Jul 13, 2017
Alex Von der Mehden

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 11 votes


in Gold Valley


  4.5 from 11 votes
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in Gold Valley


in California


126 Views Last Month
4,031 Since Oct 19, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult


As of the weekend of June 11th, all snow is gone. There are some downed trees on the approach to Big Boulder but can be navigated/hopped over with ease. There are no downed trees after the hike-a-bike. Trail conditions were all-time awesome last weekend. Jun 14, 2016
Super rough loose rocky descents. Total ascent, after the shuttle drop off point, is between 1,500 and 2,000ft. I rode the Big Boulder on a Specialized Fatboy with a Bluto fork and it was AWESOME!, so much fun that I want to do it again. IMO, the Butcher trail is a pansy easy trail in comparison. No drops, but the you really have to be really efficient and confident at picking your line because the steep sections are heavily eroded and full of cobbles. May 22, 2018
nathan dollick
Carlsbad, CA
nathan dollick   Carlsbad, CA
one of the best downhill sections we experienced in will have to earn it as the climb up to the trail head is harder than the elevation profile citrates....lots of loose shale and rocks to throw off your momentum. I would highly recommend the route if you aren't afraid of some work ahead of time. Pauley trail is very nice as well and much less work....but not nearly as epic of single track...pauley has much better views. can't go wrong with either route just know your group and bring extra water if your doing big boulder! Sep 28, 2018

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