The rural community of Downey sits isolated amidst farmland at the southern end of Marsh Valley. Separated from the highway by railroad tracks, there are no busy streets in the town itself. Interstate 15 passes several miles to the west, relieving Downey of its noise and bustle. Ranching and farming are the primary activity at Downey, and fields surround the town in every direction. The valley is rimmed by mountains.
The settlement of Downey began before 1866 when a cabin was built by William Jackson and Cyrus Coffin. A few other settlements began near Downey, including Grant and Cambridge, but Downey's permanence was established when the railroad depot was built here.
Downey has a population of 613, as of the 2000 census. U.S. Highway 91 passes along the west side of town, paralleling the railroad tracks. Idaho Highway 40 connects it to Interstate 15 to the west, and numerous other rural roads lead into the surrounding farmland. The historic route of U.S. Highway 191 began at an intersection with highway 91 at Downey, and still can be followed to the southwest towards Malad.
The valley floor slopes upward from Downey on the east side to the base of the Portneuf Mountain Range. To the south, Oxford Mountain is prominently visible. The elevation of Downey is in the narrow range of 4,850 feet on the west side, to 4,900 feet on the east side.