Hole In The Ground Trail

 Location: The trail is located at the Donner Summit on the north side of Highway 80. Access is Boreal Ridge exit off 80. On the North side of the freeway there is a short section of pavement before the dirt road. Park on the pavement edge. It's also popular to start at the Soda Springs Exit too, parking on Sherritt Rd and riding to the Boreal Exit start spot.
 Comments: 17 miles with 2100 ft of climb this is a strong intermediate to advanced rider trail. Very beautiful and fun trail. Can be snowed in till early summer and is a high use trail during the summer. Most of the trail problems I saw were illegal motorcycle trail riding related, so don't blame it on the bikes! This ride is recomended for intermediate to advanced riders.
 On the trail: After parking on the shoulder on the Boreal Ridge Exit start spot, ride to where the pavement turns to dirt and take a left up the hill. Keep straight at the first intersection which is in the first 100 yards. The dirt road meanders up the hill with some meadow views. There are a few right turns but keep to the main road going forward till at 1.7 miles there is the singletrack trailhead on the left. You can’t miss it, there’s a sign with a big map of the different trails there. You will have climbed 260 ft at this point. This next singletrack is a fun section if you like climbing. It’s not real steep and some of the 10 switchbacks have paver blocks. There are some nice views and forested areas as you climb. After cresting the ridge you pass the trail to Andesite peak. On the ridge top you are confronted with stunning views of Castle Peaks and the mountains toward Donner. You will have climbed about 800 ft at the overlook. After taking in the view you drop down the ridge and into the hole. The trail is easy to follow and has a lot of ups and downs and switchbacks. After a creek crossing {dry in the late summer}, there is a intersection with a PCT cutover trail. Continue on towards Sand Ridge Lake which is another mile of ups and downs through the granite. When you come to the intersection of Sand Ridge Lake you will have climbed about 1050 ft. in about 6 miles. Well more fun with more downhill than up, and lots of short technical challenges, some steep dropins, and short sections of slickrock granite to play on. There is an obvious dirt road crossing with some steeper downhill sections after that. After another dry creek section there is a short right to Lower Lola Montez Lake. It’s a 1/10 mile ride to the lake and well worth the view and possibly a refreshing swim in the summer. It’s 3.5 miles to Hwy 80 at this point. After .75 miles or so you will see a private property sign and then the trail turns into a two track dirt road. You are following a creek on the left as you drop down. The road turns to gravel and after a mile or so you will see a trail junction sign and then the trail sign at the left turn.{Kinda hard to miss and the property owners make sure you don’t.} After the left turn the singletrack trail gets steeper and has been recently timbered in 3 sections for steep stepped downhill… lots of fun. There are some stone steps before you drop onto a heavily graveled road. Take a left here {signs pointing the way}. Some climbing, a small creek crossing, and more climbing. You will see some power lines then after a small bit of downhill the trail exits to the left. This left is signed too. There is a small climb then you pop out at Sherritt Rd. {This is another good place to park and start too…} Take a right on to the paved road, { Sherritt Rd} and head towards the freeway overpass. Turn left onto Donner Pass Rd and cross the HWY 80 overpass. Pass the 76 Station and the Summit Restaurant and Bar on the left. There is a good paved shoulder to ride on as you continue east on Donner Pass Rd. A bit of climbing as you pass Soda Springs Station and Soda Springs Rd on the right. A bit more climbing then look where there is a pull over on the right and there is a sign behind a tree that sez Central Sierra Snow Lab. Take a left here where you will see a small parking lot with the dirt rd you need to ride on the right of it. {If you miss this left and continue on the pavement you will encounter a big downhill to Donner Lake.} Taking the left brings you on to a dirt rd that climbs with some houses along it. Continue climbing on the main dirt rd. As you get up the hill a bit keep towards the left and you will pass the snow lab on your left. There is a gate here that was just installed, duck under it and continue up the hill. At this point you are following and paralleling the Hwy 80 freeway, and climbing. Cresting the hill you breakout on the Boreal Ski parking lot. Keep to the left and continue to the other end of the parking lot and take a left passing under the underpass at the Boreal exit back to the start spot. The Hole In The Ground is named after a small mountain lake you pass but don't see, if you were wondering. Hope you enjoyed the ride. The Fish

Hole In The Ground Pictures
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