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Fishing: California > Tahoe National Forest > Downieville Ranger District

Quick Facts

Pauley Creek Trail

Beginning Elevation: 6,200 Feet (1932.7 Meters)
Difficulty: Difficult
Elevation Gain: 1,800 Feet (561.1 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 4,400 Feet (1371.6 Meters)
Length, One-way: 3.5 Miles (5.83 Kilometers)
USGS Maps: Downieville 7.5', Sierra City 7.5' & Gold Lake NW 7.5'

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

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.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: June through September .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Backpacking is available on these trails.
ICON Camping Campsites are available on these trails.
ICON Fishing Fishing is available on Pauley Creek and Butcher Ranch Creek.
ICON Hiking & Walking Pauley Creek Trail
ICON Horseback Riding Horseback riding is available on these trails.
ICON Mountain Biking Mountain biking is available on these trails.
ICON Motorcycle Riding Motorcycle is available on these trails.
ICON Picnicking Picnicking is available on these trails.

Related Activities
Butcher Ranch Trail - Butcher Ranch Trail is a difficult 4 mile trail at an elevation of 6,200 feet. This trail follows the contour of Butcher Ranch Creek for 1.5 miles to the confluence of Butcher Ranch and Pauley Creeks.

Pauley Creek - Pauley Creek is located down the Butcher Ranch Trail, where Butcher Ranch Creek intersects Pauley Creek. This is a native rainbow fishery with small, but numerous fish.

Second Divide Trail - Second Divide Trails is a moderately difficult trail at an elevation of 3,480 feet. This trail offer several possibilities to explore in this area. The Second Divide Trail follows Pauley Creek down the canyon.

Third Divide Trail - Third Divide Trail is a moderately difficult trail at an elevation of 3,400 feet. The trail crosses Lavezzola Creek and climbs moderates for 2 miles through a beautifully wooded area until it reaches the ridge top.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Downieville Ranger District, 15924 Highway 49 , Camptonville, CA, 95922, Phone: 530-288-3231, TTY: 530-288-3656


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