Pauley Creek Trail is a difficult 3.5 mile trail at an elevation of 6,200 feet. This trail heads north toward Gold Valley. The bridge across the Butcher Ranch Creek has been washed out and care should be used when fording the creek. The trail along Pauley Creek is a moderate but steady climb, offering views of a series of beautiful, deep pools. You pass through an area of magnificent old growth timber, with many ideal places on the creek for picnicking, fishing and camping.
Two miles after crossing Butcher Ranch Creek the trail ends at a bridge across Pauley Creek. To access Gold Valley from this point, follow the four wheel-drive road north for another mile. Veer right when the road splits. Gold Valley is a wide-open valley with lush meadows and ideal sites for camping. The area offers a large variety of wildflowers, wildlife, and birds. The quiet hiker is likely to see a bear, deer or coyote.
Directions from Sierra City: Travel 5 miles east on Hwy. #49, turn onto Gold Lake Hwy. at Bassetts Station. Continue on Gold Lake Hwy. for 1.4 miles, turn left, and cross the bridge over Salmon Creek. Proceed 0.3 miles and turn right onto Packer Lake Road. Continue on Packer Lake Road for two and one-half miles to Packer Lake. At this point the road forks. Take the left fork, Forest Road #93 (Packer Saddle Road). Continue 2.1 miles to Packer Saddle and turn left, following the sign reading "Sierra Buttes Lookout 3 and Pauley Creek 5." After 0.5 miles miles for Forest Road #93 makes a 90 degree turn to the right. Follow this another 0.5 miles to a sign reading "Butcher Ranch 1, Pauley Creek 4." Take the right fork, proceeding 0.7 miles to a sign directing you to the trailhead. As indicated the road is steep and is recommended for 4 wheel-drive vehicles only. There is another access road 0.3 miles further. This road is not as steep, but recommended for heavy, high clearance, or four wheel-drive vehicles. You are advised to park passenger cars or light trucks here and hike the last mile to the trailhead. Pauley Creek Trail is located 1.5 miles down Butcher Creek Trail, at the junctions of Butcher Ranch Creek and Pauley Creek.
June through September .