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Old 07-05-2013, 07:23 AM   #1
norcalstew OP
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Going to Downieville, Need some advice.

We are heading to Dville from home next week and I'm trying to find some info on the trail system there. I have heard that many of the trails are multi-use and am just looking around to find out witch ones are worth hitting and open to dirt bikes. I ordered a map, should be here soon. I'm sure that will answer some questions. My damn Google Earth wont open.

The route will take us from home up and over into Indian Valley, over Mt. Huff to Grizzly ridge and down to 70 at Sloat. From Sloat I've marked some main FS roads that get us near Jamison creek. That's where a trail takes us down to the West side of Gold Lk., and on to Packsaddle. It looks like Butcher Ranch that connects to Lavezzola rd that hits Dville.

Is Butcher Ranch a road or trail? How 'bout Lavezzola? Open to dirt bikes? Are the divides as gnarly as I've read? Are they open to dirt bikes?

The way back: Up Saddleback to Chimney Rock or Sailor Ravine? We'd rather be on a trail as much as possible. It looks like there are trails that go from Chimney rock up to the Johnsville road.

Also, anyone know if there is gas in Sloat on 70?
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Old 07-05-2013, 09:02 AM   #2
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I was just there a couple of weeks ago, just after that last big rain. Some of the forest roads were so muddy, all four tires on my Ford Ranger were spinning for miles at a time climbing out of some the canyon logging roads. It should be much better now.

My work was south of Downieville, so I'm not familiar with the roads on your route. In general, the forest roads are not that steep. The steepest one I found was Galloway Street leading south out of Downieville. If Google Earth isn't working for you, try using the "terrain" layer in Google Maps, which will give you the topo map.

I found the forest rather difficult to navigate in the area south of town. Most intersections and roads have no signs, and my GPS could not lock onto a single satellite with any constancy. A good old fashioned compass and the ability to dead recon is a valuable asset out there. I do not remember seeing any signs restricting OHV motorcycles. The whole day I was in the forest I only saw about 3 vehicles, and none would have cared either way.

It doesn't look like Sloat has fuel, so if I were you, I would just get fuel in Quincy.

Downieville: I stayed in the Riverside Inn in down town. Every room overlooks the river, and they have bagels with salmon and locks for breakfast. They also have covered parking, but I'm not sure if it is for guests since nobody used it except the mountain bikers. The older gentleman who serves breakfast knows the local roads well, and can give you advice about the area.

Restaurant hours are slim, so plan meals ahead and use the motel fridge.
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Old 07-05-2013, 11:03 AM   #3
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Old 07-05-2013, 12:01 PM   #4
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Wow that dude took a tumble. He looked scared going into the section. Too slow. That's what usually gets you on a scary section. Feet on the pegs and roll it. At least that's what dad always said.

Is that the cliffy spot on the Second Divide trail I've been reading about? We would like to stay away from tight cliffy spots. I'm on a 640 adv with a GL bag. I can handle some gnarly though, I'm not sure about others in our group.
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:41 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by norcalstew View Post
Wow that dude took a tumble. He looked scared going into the section. Too slow. That's what usually gets you on a scary section. Feet on the pegs and roll it. At least that's what dad always said.

Is that the cliffy spot on the Second Divide trail I've been reading about? We would like to stay away from tight cliffy spots. I'm on a 640 adv with a GL bag. I can handle some gnarly though, I'm not sure about others in our group.
That first first cliff they look at is the Second, it looks like where he went off was the First Divide...I would not ride those trails on a 640, but thats me.

Pretty much all the trails are open for dirtbikes, Butcher Ranch is single track as well as Lavazola. Both well worth riding, from Butcher ranch to Lavazola you can take either the Second or Third Divide, Third is much easier with less risk. Lavazola is pretty much an out and back unless you route way around on dirt roads. Chimney Rock is also a must do over to the top of Rattlesnake, if you ride Rattlesnake go down it, not up-very cool trail as well. I hope some of my babble helps.
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Old 07-06-2013, 11:27 AM   #6
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Isn't that Sierra Buttes fire lookout not far from Downieville? Take a look up there if you can, it's worth yhe look.
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Old 07-06-2013, 09:46 PM   #7
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I got on one of the divide trails on one of my first times riding dirt bikes on an xr600.

Scared the shit out of me due to the high negative consequence of failing off of a cliff.. I'm (probably..) a better rider now, but even more conservative. I'll probably never ride those trails again it because the cliffs spooked me so much. I really don't want to end up at the bottom of a ravine. I recall the trail being very narrow.

On a 640?, the ride to the Sierra Buttes lookout tower ride is perfect, beautiful and fun. I've heard the road to Poker Flat and LaPorte is great for small dual sports, never been on it yet. I have been to Saddleback lookout, it is also awesome. I've done both lookouts (not poker flat road) in a Honda Ridgeline and the Sierra Buttes lookout on an XR650r. So a 640 with bags should be fine.

http://4x4trailmaps.com/4x4Trails.php?Trail_ID=46

a thread I found

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=397557
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Old 07-07-2013, 10:19 AM   #8
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I think the divides are out. Thanks for the tips. My 640 has taken me through some shit as it is a do everything kind of bike. We're not trying to die though, and that cliff looks like it could do it. I did mark Lavezolla or sailor ravine and chimney but it's on our way out, so its up the trail. I hope it's not 100 that day and the bikes stay cool. I cant believe the mtn bikers haven't won exclusive right to the trails. Around here all the singletrack was beat down by us and occasionally you see a couple pedal bikes on them, but I know Dville is like a mecca for them.
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Old 07-08-2013, 12:39 AM   #9
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Did a very cool mtb ride that started at gold lake and ended in downieville years ago.
For the most part all downhill, amazing meadows and creeks.
It was multi-purpose like you mentioned. Did not see many vehicles though.
A few jeeps on the double track sections, some 4x campers in one of the meadows, and near the end a couple guys on dual sports.

The only sketchy part was just about near the end, some narrow rocky trials with steep rocky 20-30ft drops to the left.
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Old 07-08-2013, 11:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ramjet View Post
Isn't that Sierra Buttes fire lookout not far from Downieville? Take a look up there if you can, it's worth yhe look.
Is this it?




Poker flats road is a steep trail, but definitely manageable on a KLR loaded with camping gear.



I reckon a semi-competent rider should have no problems.
Just don't stop on a steep uphill covered with roots, it's a bear to get going again.

The area around Downieville is a great place to ride, have fun!
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Old 07-08-2013, 12:29 PM   #11
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Awesome! Trying to figure your route from Gold Lake to D ville without hitting those divide trails, just because I don't want to be responsible for carnage, being the trail master on this trip.

It looks like Butcher Ranch goes all the way to Lavezolla rd. without doing any of the three divides. We'll see on Friday. Thanks for the info. Stoked!!!
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