Hole in the Ground is a classic Tahoe area mountain bike ride. The traditional Hole in the Ground ride requires either shuttling (bad- earn your miles), or riding several miles of pavement on a 17 mile ride. Here’s how to do the the ride with extra awesome scenic singletrack and your tires never touching pavement. Okay, so it’s a long out and back (around 32-24 miles if you do the whole thing). But hey, it’s an entirely different trail the other way and beats a road burn any day.
The Donner Lake Rim Trail is a work in progress from the great folks at Tahoe Donner Land Trust and Truckee Trails Foundation. The idea is to create a multi-use trail around Donner Lake. The Northern portion is complete, and connects to Hole in the Ground. There are a couple miles of jeep roads (all easily rideable), but otherwise it’s all singletrack!
Ride Details and Description
Length- up to 34 miles (out and back, you decide how far you want to go).
Elevation gain- ~4,000 feet (to Sand Ridge Lake and back)
Here is a Garmin link to the ride (we only did 27 miles that day due to time constraints): Donner Lake Rim Trail + Hole in the Ground ride
Donner Lake Rim Trail Map (printable PDF, from Tahoe Donner Land Trust)
Where to start- The starting point for this ride is the Donner Lake Rim Trail access point on Glacier Way in the Tahoe Donner subdivision. Map here:
There is a parking lot, and picnic area with nice views. There is no water, so load up bottles and/or camelbaks ahead of time.
You’ll follow the signs for the Donner Lake Rim Trail on fire roads for ~1/2 mile or so then jump on to the singletrack. There are a maze of intersections and trails in the Tahoe Donner neighborhoods, so do a reality check with a map and pay attention to your signage. Once you hit the Donner Lake Rim Trail (DLRT), signage is pretty clear.
- There are a few miles of jeep road on this ride, but they are all easily rideable and have great views.
- The DLRT is well signed, but some of the trail markers are trail badges tacked to trees.
- Approximately 8.5 miles from the Glacier Way access point is a “T” intersection (of 2 jeep roads). This is the traditional access road for Hole in the Ground. Make a right turn (uphill) for approximately 0.4 miles. The Hole in the Ground singletrack starts on the left.
- Do your own reality check with maps. This is not a definitive ride guide.
- There are many rocky, technical sections of trail. This is not a beginner ride. Bring food, water, and tools.
Additional pics and slideshow-
Always practice Backcountry Trail MTB Ethics-
- Minimize car usage, car shuttles are not needed for this ride. Earn your descents.
- Park smart at the trail head. You don’t need to block the road or park right at the trailhead for a 15 mile ride. If it’s crowded, park down the road a ways.
- Ride in Control. Everyone likes to rip it on the mountain bike. Don’t let your need for speed ruin another trail user’s experience.
- Ride it DON’T slide it! Locking up your rear wheel trashes trails and is an indication of poor riding skills .
- Pack it out. Never leave tubes or trash on the trail. Pack out someone else’s trash if you see it. Even banana peels, and bits of GU/powerbar wrappers have an impact.
- Yield to other trail users. Stop completely for all horses and communicate with their riders. Yield to hikers. Uphill riders have the right of way.
- Help each other out. Share directions, trail knowledge, and mechanical assistance.
- Set a good example. Your actions in the backcountry have a direct impact on future MTB access.