Downieville Classic Downhill Race

presented by Fox Racing Shox

Downieville Classic Cross Country Map

Click to enlarge map

All-Mountain World Championships Stage 2
July 16th, 2023

Packer Saddle to Downieville. 5,333' descent / 1,010' ascent.

The Downieville Downhill is reserved for All-Mountain racers only, which means riders will have to earn their start time by completing the Point to Point Cross Country course the day before.

Dropping 5,000 vertical feet in 15 miles from Packer Saddle to Downieville, the Downieville Downhill is the longest and most demanding downhill mountain bike race in the nation. This prestigious race course follows the paths of the Sunrise Trail, Butcher Ranch Trail, Third Divide Trail and First Divide Trail. It's big, it's bad and it's beautiful.

Mountain bike racer dropping into the Gorge

Sunrise Trail is located mostly on private land at the top of Packer Saddle (elevation 7100'). It was designed and built by the staff at Yuba Expeditions and by volunteers working with the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship. Described by some as a flow trail, the Sunrise Trail proudly features banked turns, reverse grades, rolling dips and even a few G-outs. It is an action-packed, adrenaline-rushing, heart-pounding two miles of trail, and it's only the beginning. The 2 mile trail stretches back and forth across the hillside connecting Butcher Ranch Trail.

racer in the rocks of Butcher Ranch

Butcher Ranch Trail is the trail that made Downieville famous for singletrack, and it's for good reason - this trail rocks! Butcher starts as a steep, 40+mph doubletrack with two-wheel drifty corners and big, smooth table-top jumps. Fun if you're fresh, nerve racking if you're fatigued. After a little more than a mile, Butcher narrows down to a tightly forested, rocky singletrack. The trail is fast, it's slow, it's smooth, it's rocky as hell; metaphorically speaking, Butcher Ranch Trail has it all, including a 700' climb midway to the Third Divide trailhead. This painstaking climb is where the Downieville Downhill can be won or lost. Racers either stand up and pin it, or lower their head in exhaustion and defeat. Which will you be?

racers riding the waterfall
The waterfall section on Butcher Ranch requires skill and bravery. Here's a look at a few different techniques.

The Third Divide Trail is 3 miles of Sierra singletrack bliss, and despite being the fastest section of the course, it's where racers must find a way to relax and regain some composure after the climb. Third Divide drops into the Lavezzola Creek drainage and eventually hooks-up with First Divide Trail, a 2.5 mile roller coaster where the real pedal work starts. It's also another section of the course that can make you or break you. Following First Divide is a 1.5 mile sprint down Main Street to the finish line. The Downieville Downhill is the Ironman of mountain bike downhill events and we're proud to be able to bring it to you.

Racer catching air on Third Divide Trail


460 Total Entries available for All-Mountain.
See All-Mountain page for details


For On-Site Registration and Packet Pick-up see the Registration page

Pro Men*
Pro Women*
Expert Junior Men 13-18*
Expert Men 30 & Under*
Expert Men 31-40*
Expert Men 41-50*
Expert Men 51-60*
Junior Women 13-18*
Expert Women 30 & Under*
Expert Women 31+*
Singlespeed open ages*


  • Pro Men category starts at 9:00AM. Riders depart in 1- minute intervals
  • All other categories depart in 30- second intervals
  • Exact start time for each rider will be posted in advance
  • Arrive at the start line no less than 30- minutes before your scheduled start time

"Stick to the Track"
Some riders seem to be all too familiar with racing events like Megavalanche, and other big mountain enduros, where the fastest man or woman down the mountain, regardless of the route, is crowned champion. This type of racing became a problem in the 2010 Downieville Classic, as we had several riders using what we like to refer to as "Hillbilly Lines". We are officially ending this method of racing, by placing course marshals in known “cutter” areas. Riders that do not stick to the track will be disqualified.

All net proceeds go to the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship, to support the SBTS Trail Maintenance Program. Fees also include; insurance, accurate computerized timing, EMT support, aid stations with refreshments, catered lunch, shuttle service from Downieville to Packer Saddle following the event, event socks, stainless steel pint cup filled with cold beer at the finish, grab bag- properly equipped, Downieville Community Hall rental, Sierra County Special Use fees, US Government Special Use fees, and a whole mess of porta-potties, garbage cans and recycling receptacles.

Racers must get themselves to the race start. Complimentary racer shuttles will return riders to Packer Saddle following the race. Leaving from Downieville it will take you approximately one hour to get to Packer Saddle. Take Hwy 49 heading east through Sierra City to Bassetts. Turn left onto Gold Lake Hwy. Go for 1 mile and turn left heading towards Sardine Lake. Take the first right turn and follow it to Packer Lake. Follow the signs to the saddle.

We encourage you to arrive early. Parking will be available at Packer Saddle, as well as at Packer Lake. Be sure that your vehicle is completely off the road surface or it may be towed at your expense.

Diagram: Packer Saddle Directions, Car Parking and Race Start

Return shuttles will be running to Packer Saddle from 11:30, 1:30, and 3:30, first come, first serve.

Note: If you are being dropped off at Packer Saddle by a friend- parking in Downieville is limited to the following areas: Hwy 49, both north and south of Downieville, the USFS Downieville Ranger Station, located across the bridge from the Pizzeria, and at Cannon Point, which is approximately 100 yards west of town on Hwy 49.

Special Note: please be smart about where you park, especially in town, or you will be ticketed and towed!


Mountain bike racer chrarging through the trees