This ride from Butcher Ranch Trailhead starts on a fire road, but leads to some truly excellent singletrack. The Big Boulder
Trail is arguably the best descent toward Downieville, 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.
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
At the top of the Butcher Trailhead, head out north on the fire road 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 is 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 flowing 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
From the end of the route, take a left and pedal back to Downieville.