Downieville, California, hosts an enthralling trail network that's widely acclaimed among mountain biking enthusiasts. Featuring incredible diversity—think steep drops, flowy sections, and even a bit of technicality—the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Divides offer a once-in-a-lifetime riding experience.
Reach Downieville via HWY 49 and make your way to Yuba Expeditions to grab a map. It's highly recommended to do so, especially for first-timers. If ascending isn't your forte or you want to conserve energy for the thrilling descents, avail of the shuttle service from Downieville.
The ride begins with an easy climb leading to a right turn onto the 1st Divide trail, followed by another climb to access the 2nd Divide. These sections roll quite a bit, oscillating between gain and loss in elevation. The final climb to the 3rd Divide is something of a legend, yet to be fully "cleaned" by any rider. From the 3rd Divide, a fast, adrenaline-pumping descent leads to a fire road, guiding riders back to the starting point.The Divides trail system proves ideal for a day-long biking adventure, rewarding cyclists with a mixture of fast, smooth, and slightly technical sections. A couple of spots may require walking, but these are sparse and don't deter from the overall experience. The ride is best suited for experienced riders, considering the 8,000+ feet of cumulative climbing.
For anyone seeking a blend of technicality, speed, and natural beauty, Downieville's Divides should top the list of trails to conquer. With the adrenaline of descents and the technical challenges, it's a trail system that defines what mountain biking should be.