A blog about outdoor adventure and Vanlife

Dirt- Donner Lake Rim Trail + Hole in the Ground

Classic Tahoe Granite Playground on the DLRT

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!

Climbing to Andesite Ridge

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.

Follow the signs!

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.

Ride Notes-

  • 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-

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

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Categorised in: Mountain bike, Trails

2 Responses »

  1. Great report! wish I would have found it a month ago.



  1. Tahoe Pix- Singletrack Sweetness | Tahoe Sux

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