I just found out I’m taking the whole family to Sacremento for a wedding this summer. I’m wondering if my kids can handle the famous Downieville Downhill. The younger kid will be 10 at the time, and while his handling is pretty good he is just 10 years old.
Anybody have experience and can compare to trails near Atlanta?
Downieville might be a bit of a stretch since the shortest route is about 18 miles, and while none of it is exceedingly technical, the constant bumps definitely wear you out by the end of a run if you’re not used to descents that long. Also, there aren’t really “bail out” options, so once you’re going, you have to at least make it to the bottom of third divide (about 11 miles down, including the most technical bits) before you can opt for a fire road bypass. That said if your kid is stoked on spending time outside and for a challenge, it could be great!
Another option I recommend looking into is the corral network in South Lake Tahoe and/or flume trail on the Nevada side of Tahoe, both are the same distance from Sacramento as Downieville. The corral network has some of the best trails in the state and can be enjoyed by just about every level of rider (they have everything from high-alpine singletrack, to some of the rockiest-techiest stuff imaginable on Mr.Toad’s, to the best tabletop jumps I’ve had the pleasure of riding outside of a bikepark) all within a tight trail network that can be connected to the Tahoe Rim Trail. And there are shuttle services nearby if that’s what you’re into. Flume is also popular with families that ride since it’s not very technical but has incredible views of Tahoe.
I would not take a child on a Downieville run, Like BZ said once you’re in there’s no bailing out. The Auburn trail system is really close to Sacramento and has varying degrees of difficulty. You can find something that works for the whole family.
However. Since you’re coming all the way from Atlanta I recommend you find a way to spend a day at DV. It’s only a 2 hour drive from Sac. Yuba Expeditions , and DV Outfitters have rentals and shuttles.
You can easily drive up , catch 2 shuttle runs, and drive back in a day.
I took my 11 and 13 year old kids there last summer and they were fine. A little bit of a stretch distance wise, and a couple of sections they walked, but I’d say if your 10 year old is into it- no worries. But, another idea is the same company does another run- mills peak, that is shorter and mellower. I’d say start with that. It is same area, but shorter and easier. If he likes that, can try the full downhill. Just make a day of it and take lots of breaks
OK, since we’re throwing out all the other nearby options….
The #1 easiest shuttle trail out that way is Mt Hough over in Quincy. It’s *mostly* low intermediate flow and a complete blast to ride. Mills Peak is shorter but like Downieville has a few places where one can get trouble if they aren’t paying attention and it’s even more remote…as in I’ve never seen another soul riding it when we have been on it. I would say if you take your time and walk anything you’re not comfortable on, your 10 year old could do DV if he’s an accomplished rider. Keep in mind, that some riders out there are “hauling ___” though, especially on Third Divide. I’d let everybody else on the shuttle go down ahead of you.