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Downie River


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Downie River

The Downie River and its major tributaries - Rattlesnake Creek, Lavezzola Creek, Empire Creek, Red Oak Canyon, Pauley Creek, and Butcher Ranch Creek - flow into the North Yuba River near the small Sierra Nevada community of Downieville. Protecting these streams as National Wild & Scenic Rivers will maintain some of the best human-powered outdoor recreational opportunities in the northern Sierra, as well as Sierra County's vibrant and growing tourism-based economy.

The extensive trail system in this area is popular with hikers, backpackers, anglers, equestrians, and mountain bikers. Trails along Pauley and Lavezzola creeks provide the route for the Coyote Classic, one of the most popular mountain bike events in the country. The Pacific Crest Trail traces the Yuba/Feather divide just of north of this area. Many of the streams in the area offer class IV-V whitewater for expert kayakers. Abundant petroglyphs and prehistoric sites are evidence of past Native American use.

The stream canyons support one of the largest blocks of ancient mixed coniferous forest in the northern Sierra, providing extensive high quality habitat for California spotted owl, pine martin, fisher, and wolverine. Other species in the area include bald eagle, golden eagle, Northern goshawk, pileated woodpecker, Sierra red fox, and foothill yellow-legged frog. The volcanic soils of the area support outstanding wildflower displays. The diverse forest and meadow ecosystems also provide potential habitat for several rare plants. The streams themselves support healthy populations of wild trout and other native fish. Lavezzola Creek is a state designated Wild Trout Stream.

The Downie River, Empire Creek, Lavezzola Creek, and Pauley Creek have been determined eligible for Wild & Scenic River status by the Forest Service in recognition of their outstanding ecological, recreational, historical/cultural, and hydrological values.

How To Get There

Downie River Locator Map

From the town of Auburn on Interstate 80, drive north 73 miles on Hwy 49 past Nevada City and through the winding North Yuba River canyon to the small community of Downieville. Forest Service roads lead north from Downieville, providing excellent access to the streamside trail system. There are numerous motels, restaurants, and recreation-oriented businesses in Downieville, as well as several nearby campgrounds along the North Yuba River.

Recreation And Visitor Information
For recreation information, contact the Forest Service's North Yuba Ranger Station at (530) 288-3231.

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