|Coordinates: 39°34′03″N120°48′44″W / 39.56750°N 120.81222°W Coordinates: 39°34′03″N120°48′44″W / 39.56750°N 120.81222°W|
|• Total||3.19 sq mi (8.25 km2)|
|• Land||3.18 sq mi (8.24 km2)|
|• Water||0.01 sq mi (0.01 km2) 0.17%|
|Elevation||2,966 ft (904 m)|
|• Density||91.17/sq mi (35.20/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-8 (Pacific (PST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-7 (PDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||2583000|
|U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Downieville, California|
Downieville is a census-designated place in and the county seat of Sierra County, California, United States.  Downieville is on the North Fork of the Yuba River, at an elevation of 2,966 feet (904 m).  The 2020 United States census reported Downieville's population was 290.
Gold was discovered here by Francis Anderson on September 14, 1849. Anderson had joined Phil A. Haven that same year along the North Yuba River. 
Downieville was founded in late 1849 during the California Gold Rush, in the Northern Mines area. It was first known as "The Forks" for its geographical location at the confluence of the Downie River and North Fork of the Yuba River. 
It was soon renamed after Major William Downie (1820-1893), the town's founder. Downie was a Scotsman who had led an expedition of nine miners, seven of them African American men, up the North Fork of the Yuba River in the Autumn of 1849.  At the present site of the town they struck rich gold, built a log cabin, and settled in to wait out the winter.  By 1850, Downieville had 15 hotels, 4 bakeries, 4 butcher shops, and numerous saloons. 
Josefa Segovia, a young Californio resident of the town, was lynched by a mob on July 5, 1851.  The lynch mob held a mock trial, and accused her of killing an American miner. The mock trial quickly led to hanging her from the Jersey Bridge in town.  Segovia was the first and only hanging of a woman in the history of California. 
In 1853 Downieville was vying to become the new state capital of California, along with fifteen other California communities to replace Vallejo. The capital was moved to Benicia for a year, and then in 1854 to Sacramento.
The Northern Mines area of the gold rush had a number of mining camps with colorful names, such as Brandy City (originally known as Strychnine City),  Whiskey Diggins, Poverty Hill, Poker Flat, and Camptonville. Many of these camps disappeared after the gold rush or became ghost towns. Downieville had reached a peak population of over 5,000 people in 1851, but by 1865 had significantly declined.  It survived due to its status as the county seat of government in Sierra County, and from its geographic location between Sacramento Valley and Tahoe region/Nevada destinations.
|U.S. Decennial Census |
The 2010 United States Census  reported that Downieville had a population of 282. The population density was 88.5 inhabitants per square mile (34.2/km2). The racial makeup of Downieville was 269 (95%) White, 0 (0%) African American, 4 (1%) Native American, 2 (1%) Asian, 0 (0%) Pacific Islander, 0 (0%) from other races, and 7 (3%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12 persons (4%).
The Census reported that 282 people (100% of the population) lived in households, 0 (0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.
There were 147 households, out of which 25 (17%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 59 (40%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 13 (9%) had a female householder with no husband present, 4 (3%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 6 (4%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 3 (2%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 61 households (42%) were made up of individuals, and 32 (22%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.9. There were 76 families (52% of all households); the average family size was 2.6.
The population was spread out, with 40 people (14%) under the age of 18, 20 people (7%) aged 18 to 24, 42 people (15%) aged 25 to 44, 104 people (37%) aged 45 to 64, and 76 people (27%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 56.5 years. For every 100 females, there were 104.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 106.8 males.
There were 225 housing units at an average density of 70.6 per square mile (27.3/km2), of which 102 (69%) were owner-occupied, and 45 (31%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 4%; the rental vacancy rate was 15%. 198 people (70% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 84 people (30%) lived in rental housing units.
Because Loyalton is Sierra County's most populous municipality and its only incorporated city, generally half of the meetings of the county's board of supervisors are held in Downieville and the other half are held in Loyalton. 
In the state legislature, Downieville is in the 1st Senate District , represented by Republican Brian Dahle,  and the 1st Assembly District , represented by Republican Megan Dahle. 
Federally, Downieville is in California's 1st congressional district , represented by Republican Doug LaMalfa. 
Downieville is surrounded by the Yuba River District of the Tahoe National Forest. Popular outdoor recreation activities include fishing, mountain biking, back country "jeeping" and motorcycling, kayaking, hiking and nature walks, gold panning, and sites of the California Gold Rush. Fishing includes planted rainbow trout and German brown trout in the North Fork of the Yuba River.
The town is a popular destination and central hub for mountain biking trails and events. The renowned "Downieville Downhill" singletrack trail has a 4,400 feet (1,300 m) drop over its 17 miles (27 km) length.   There are shuttles to the trailhead available in town, which is its terminus.  It includes long and narrow suspension footbridges across canyons and streams. 
The town hosts the world-famous Downieville Classic mountain biking races, a two-day event with an Enduro style or Super-D downhill race, and an extremely challenging cross-country cycling race.   In 2003 the Single Speed World Championship was held in Downieville.
The town of Downieville is the meeting location for many whitewater water rafting trips on the North Yuba River both privately and commercially. Commercial rafting is done by multiple companies including Tributary Whitewater Tours and Raft California. 
The Downieville Museum is in an 1852 stone building that was originally a general store, among other things, and was eventually donated to the city by its owner J.M.B. Meroux. With original iron doors and window shutters, it first housed a store that was built and operated by the Meroux family, whose gravestones are displayed prominently at the old Downieville cemetery. The museum displays local artifacts, historic items, pioneer portraits, and vintage photographs depicting the life of this community over 160 years, from its Gold Rush origins to the present day.  It also displays a scale model of the turn-of-the-century Downieville business district and a replica of the 1,000 ounces (28 kg) Sierra County gold collection, a duplicate of the gold specimens and gold bars from Sierra County mines that are on display in the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History. 
There are a variety of lodging choices in Downieville and its surroundings; some are on the North Fork Yuba River. They include Forest Service campgrounds, motels, bed and breakfast inns, rental cabins and backcountry campsites.
Downieville was featured by Huell Howser in California's Gold Episode 212. 
Downieville has its own post office; the town's ZIP code is 95936.
Wired telephone numbers for the town follow the format (530) 289-xxxx.
Downieville is home to The Mountain Messenger weekly newspaper. The paper began in 1853 as a twice-per-month publication; its claim to fame is that Mark Twain once wrote there under his real name, Sam Clemens.  It is distributed through the U.S. mail and includes subscribers far beyond Sierra County. 
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP covers an area of 3.2 square miles (8.3 km2), 99.83% of it land and 0.17% of it water. Most of the town is built on riverwash soils; higher locations are on Hurlbut gravelly loam or Deadwood gravelly sandy loam. 
This region experiences warm (but not hot) and dry summers, with no average monthly temperatures above 71.6 °F or 22.0 °C. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Downieville has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated Csb on climate maps. 
|Climate data for Downieville (1908 to 2012)|
|Record high °F (°C)||70|
|Average high °F (°C)||47.5|
|Average low °F (°C)||27.3|
|Record low °F (°C)||1|
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||11.68|
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||14.4|
|Average precipitation days||12||11||10||9||7||3||1||1||3||6||9||11||83|
|Source: WRCC |
Plumas County is a county in the Sierra Nevada of California, United States. As of the 2020 census, the population was 19,790. The county seat is Quincy, and the only incorporated city is Portola. The largest community in the county is East Quincy. The county was named for the Spanish Río de las Plumas, which flows through it.
Sierra County is a county located in the U.S. state of California. As of the 2020 census, the population was 3,236, making it California's second-least populous county. The county seat is Downieville, and the only incorporated city is Loyalton. The county is in the Sierra Nevada, northeast of Sacramento on the border with Nevada.
Trinity County is a county in northwestern California. Trinity County is rugged, mountainous, heavily forested, and lies along the Trinity River within the Salmon and Klamath Mountains. It is also one of three counties in California with no incorporated cities.
Kernville is a census-designated place (CDP) in the southern Sierra Nevada, in Kern County, California, United States. Kernville is located 42 miles (68 km) northeast of Bakersfield, at an elevation of 2,667 feet (813 m). The population was 1,395 at the 2010 census, down from 1,736 at the 2000 census.
Nevada City is the county seat of Nevada County, California, United States, 60 miles (97 km) northeast of Sacramento, 84 miles (135 km) southwest of Reno and 147 miles (237 km) northeast of San Francisco. The population was 3,068 as of the 2010 Census.
La Porte is a census-designated place (CDP) in Plumas County, California, United States. The population was 26 at the 2010 census, down from 43 at the 2000 census.
The Gold Country is a historic region in the northern portion of the U.S. state of California, that is primarily on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. It is famed for the mineral deposits and gold mines that attracted waves of immigrants, known as the 49ers, during the 1849 California Gold Rush.
Coloma is a census-designated place in El Dorado County, California, US. It is approximately 36 miles (58 km) northeast of Sacramento, California. Coloma is most noted for being the site where James W. Marshall found gold in the Sierra Nevada foothills, at Sutter's Mill on January 24, 1848, leading to the California Gold Rush. Coloma's population is 529.
South Yuba River State Park is located along the South Fork of the Yuba River in the Sierra Nevada, within Nevada County, in Northern California.
The Yuba River is a tributary of the Feather River in the Sierra Nevada and eastern Sacramento Valley, in the U.S. state of California. The main stem of the river is about 40 miles (64 km) long, and its headwaters are split into three major forks. The Yuba River proper is formed at the North Yuba and Middle Yuba rivers' confluence, with the South Yuba joining a short distance downstream. Measured to the head of the North Yuba River, the Yuba River is just over 100 miles (160 km) long.
Camptonville is a small town and census-designated place (CDP) located in northeastern Yuba County, California. The town is located 36 miles (58 km) northeast of Marysville, off Highway 49 between Downieville and Nevada City. It is located on a ridge between the North Fork and Middle Fork of the Yuba River, not far from New Bullards Bar Dam Reservoir. Camptonville lies at an elevation of 2825 feet. The population was 158 at the 2010 census.
The South Fork American River is a major tributary of the American River in El Dorado County, California, draining a watershed on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada east of Sacramento. The river begins in pristine Desolation Wilderness and flows through the Sierra Nevada foothills. The river at Coloma was the site of James Marshall's discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill on January 24, 1848, which started the California Gold Rush. The South Fork of the American is "the most popular recreation stream in the West" for whitewater rafting in North America, e.g., 80,000 visitors in 2011.Professional whitewater rafting companies have been offering commercial rafting trips on the South Fork American River since 1978.
Sierra City is a census-designated place in Sierra County, California, United States. The elevation of Sierra City is 4,147 feet (1,264 m), and the town is situated in the canyon of the North Yuba River on California State Route 49, twelve miles northeast of the county seat of Sierra County, Downieville. The population was 221 at the 2010 census.
The Greater Sacramento area refers to a metropolitan region in Northern California comprising either the U.S. Census Bureau defined Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade metropolitan statistical area or the larger Sacramento–Roseville combined statistical area, the latter of which consists of seven counties, namely Sacramento, Yolo, Placer, El Dorado, Sutter, Yuba, and Nevada counties.
William Downie (1819–1893) was a Scottish prospector and explorer involved in the gold rushes in California and British Columbia of the mid-19th Century.
The American River is a 30-mile (50 km)-long river in California that runs from the Sierra Nevada mountain range to its confluence with the Sacramento River in downtown Sacramento. Via the Sacramento River, it is part of the San Francisco Bay watershed. This river is fed by the melting snowpack of the Sierra Nevada and its many headwaters and tributaries, including the North Fork American River, the Middle Fork American River, and the South Fork American River.
Goodyears Bar, known as Slaughter's Bar before 1851, is a census-designated place (CDP) in Sierra County, California, United States. Goodyears Bar is located along the North Yuba River and California State Route 49 3.25 miles (5.23 km) west-southwest of Downieville. Goodyears Bar has a post office with ZIP code 95944. The post office opened in 1851.
The Downie River is an approximately 5.5 mi (8.9 km) tributary of the North Yuba River in Sierra County, California, in the United States. The river originates from the confluence of the West Branch Downie River and Rattlesnake Creek in the Tahoe National Forest, and flows south to its confluence with the North Yuba at Downieville. The river drains a mountainous watershed of about 34 sq mi (88 km2) in the northern Sierra Nevada. Tributaries include Lavezzola Creek and Pauley Creek, which both join the Downie from the left shortly above the mouth.
Schroeder Mountain is a mountain in the California's Sierra Nevada, on the Tahoe National Forest. It is located 0.8 miles (1 km) east of California State Route 49 in Sierra County. Its elevation is 6,942 feet (2,116 m).
Josefa Segovia, also known as Juanita or Josefa Loaiza, was a Mexican-American woman who was executed by hanging in Downieville, California, on July 5, 1851. She was found guilty of murdering a local miner, Frederick Cannon. She is known to be the first and only woman to be hanged in California.
News in the Sierra, The Mountain Messenger, California's oldest weekly newspaper