The Downieville Classic ride. Get your car/shuttle ride to the top. The trail starts immediately on singletrack. There is very, very little climbing. There will be snow in places through May.
Sunrise trail leads into Butcher trail, which leads to either Third Divide
trail or Second Divide
Trail (Third Divide
is faster and shorter than Second Divide
; Second Divide
is longer, but in my opinion, not as much fun as Third Divide
), which leads to First Divide Trail, followed by a fire road, then a road ride return to Downieville. Nearly all of it is downhill.
You'll need a two cars; one to get you to the top and one to take you back up once you're down. Or there are shuttle services available in Downieville. Expect the unexpected on this Ride. The Butcher trail is the most technical portion. First Divide trail is along a rock wall to one side and a drop off to the other.
Start on the Sunrise Trail
on narrow, rolling singletrack with small descents and climbs that make a good warmup.
This trail meets with the Butcher Trail
, where you can expect speed, loose rocks, creek crossings, tight switchback descending turns, and perhaps a few hike-a-bike sections, depending on your skills. Just after the final descent, you'll cross a bridge over a creek and begin a doubletrack climb.
Half-way up this climb, there is a fork decision. Left (and descending) is Second Divide
and right (and continuing to climb) is Third Divide
. Second Divide
is longer, but not as fast (or in my opinion as fun) as Third Divide
. Third Divide
is mostly smooth singletrack, with only a few small technical sections. You can really get some speed on this trail.
leads to a fireroad descent for about a mile. If you've had enough, you can continue along the fire road back to Downieville. If not, you can drop into First Divide (upper portion)
. Look for a little sign that says "Trail" with an arrow. First Divide is relatively flat/descending singletrack, and at times is quite narrow with a rock face wall on one side and a drop off small cliff on the other. Watch not to clip your bars on the rock faces.
First Divide (upper) meets up with a fireroad, which you can take back to Downieville, or cross and continue along First Divide (lower) for more of the fun rock face/edge narrow singletrack.
Once you emerge to the paved road, follow it back to Downieville.
Overall, this is an advanced ride. Intermediate riders will enjoy it too, but might need to hike-a-bike in a few sections. It's not at all recommended for beginner riders.