Tahoe Donner - Road or MTB?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Tahoe Donner - Road or MTB?

    I am heading up to Tahoe Donner in a few weeks and I am trying to figure out my plan (to negotiate with the wife).

    A few constraints: I have a wife and two kids, my guess is that I'll be able to do something like 3 half days and 1 full day AT BEST.

    Another thing to know is that I generally prefer MTBing all else being equal BUT given the choice of a 3.5 hour gorgeous road ride and a 1.5 hr MTB ride (that I have to drive to 1 hr each way), I would probably pick the road ride. I think I'd be kicking myself though if I ran into someone raving about some trail or if the road rides suck.

    So you see the dilemma. From some quick research it seems if I take the MTB I would probably do something like:

    Full day: Flume?
    Half day 1: Hole in the Ground (but would be tight)
    Half day 2: Emigrant trail?
    Nap time ride: Tahoe Donner XC fire road climb

    If I take the road bike, I don't really know what I would do but I imagine i might try to ride around Lake Tahoe for a full day (not sure if that's reasonable) and find some other rides on Strava...

    Any suggestions on A. Which bike you'd take and B. What you would do with the slots I have. I may be able to swing another full day if I'm really lucky, which would probably be a Northstar rental day.

  2. #2
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    Duh, MTB

    You'll have a bit of a drive to the Flume Trail start (assuming you start at Spooner), but it's more like 30-45 minutes.

    You can now access Hole In The Ground right from Tahoe Donner, using the new Donner Lake Rim Trail. But... HITG is likely to be covered by snow for several more weeks.

    Emigrant Trail can be ridden right from Tahoe Donner as well. I think there's a trail that roughly parallels Alder Creek Drive that will take you to the start.

    Why ride any Tahoe Donner fireroads? Just look around, you'll find singletrack to tool around on.


    Another close trail to ride is Sawtooth Ridge, accessed from Old Brockway Road in Truckee.

    The Backcountry on Donner Pass Road will hook you up with trail info.
    Live to Ride, Ride to Live

  3. #3
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    Piggy back

    Hi Neela, I hope it is ok if I piggy back on your thread since I am in a similar situation.

    I'll be going with my family to Yosemite for hiking in the end of August and we plan to spend two full days at Lake Tahoe on the way. I am trying to figure out which rides would be the ones to do if you have two days. The Flume Trail and the Tahoe Rim Trail (Mt. Rose to Spooner) appear to be good choices.

    Does this seem reasonable or are there better choices? In terms of distance and total elevation gain they don't seem that impressive but I don't know the terrrain.

  4. #4
    wretch
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    double post

  5. #5
    wretch
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    Llyods and Animal. Very close to TD. . . Can be looped together using parts of the Emmigrant trail that flows through Prosser area. PM for details. The DLRT is also a great ride, probably the best out of all I've just mentioned. You can access it from hwy 80 and climb up, or better off starting from the Glacier trail head in TD and descending into Negro Canyon, climbing up to Summit lake, turn around and either bomb down Negro canyon to donner lake, or climb back up to the starting point.

  6. #6
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    For an all day ride, DLRT down from Tahoe Donner, up to HITG (if opened), around HITG, DLRT back to Tahoe Donner. You'll better be in shape for that one. Guessing that it'd be around 30 miles, 5000' (somebody correct me).
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neela View Post
    Another thing to know is that I generally prefer MTBing all else being equal BUT given the choice of a 3.5 hour gorgeous road ride and a 1.5 hr MTB ride (that I have to drive to 1 hr each way), I would probably pick the road ride. I think I'd be kicking myself though if I ran into someone raving about some trail or if the road rides suck.
    FWIW, the road rides don't suck unless you hit a lot of traffic. Riding around Lake Tahoe is certainly doable, there's a bike path along most of the western shore and decent shoulders on most roads. Climbing Donner Pass and an out and back on old Highway 40 would also be a nice afternoon.

    But, the MTB riding has many more possiblities. There just aren't that many paved roads up
    there and many of them are the only road that goes from A to B. The best road riding is generally on the back roads that avoid the A to B path. The Sierra Foothills have a lot of these, but Lake Tahoe doesn't.
    Last edited by bbense; 07-27-2011 at 02:42 PM.

  8. #8
    I like mtn biking, too
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    If you want to ride road and MTB, but can only take 1 bike... you can always ride a MTB on the road - PLUS - it's a better workout.
    Half the planet is deep into bloody tribal mayhem. We’re just riding bikes (and drinking beer) here.
    ~Fairfaxian

  9. #9
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    If you're going to be in TahoeDonner definitely do hole-in-the-ground. (assuming its clear of snow by then).

    Start at the summit (Boreal exit) and get someone to pick you up at Norden (one exit west on hwy 80). Saves almost an hour of pavement & dirt road (boring). Can be done easily in 1/2 day.

    Then do either TRT Mt Rose to Spooner or TRT from Watson lake (Northstar) to Missing Link and Western States.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Truckee Trash View Post
    Llyods and Animal. Very close to TD. . . Can be looped together using parts of the Emmigrant trail that flows through Prosser area. PM for details. The DLRT is also a great ride, probably the best out of all I've just mentioned. You can access it from hwy 80 and climb up, or better off starting from the Glacier trail head in TD and descending into Negro Canyon, climbing up to Summit lake, turn around and either bomb down Negro canyon to donner lake, or climb back up to the starting point.
    TT, I have too few posts to PM you. I'm looking for info on the Animal Trail loop. I hiked up what I later found out was Animal on Prosser Hill from the Emmigrant Trail intersect. Where would a resourceful XC guy find the climb up or make a loop that includes that downhill?

    Cheers,
    T29

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by zorg View Post
    For an all day ride, DLRT down from Tahoe Donner, up to HITG (if opened), around HITG, DLRT back to Tahoe Donner. You'll better be in shape for that one. Guessing that it'd be around 30 miles, 5000' (somebody correct me).
    I think it'd be closer to 35 miles. And that would be an ass kicker. We did DLRT, then HITG and shuttled back to the car. I did it on my SS and was SMOKED at the end of that ride. If I had to ride back up DLRT I'd have been calling a cab
    :wq

  12. #12
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    Oh, and definitely MTB. The roads kind of suck, there is a ton of traffic, etc. I think you'll have a lot more options if you bring the mountain bike over the road bike. If you do bring the road bike, however, I recommend Donner Pass Rd. That was a fantastic climb/road; I really enjoyed it.
    :wq

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by nachomc View Post
    I think it'd be closer to 35 miles. And that would be an ass kicker. We did DLRT, then HITG and shuttled back to the car. I did it on my SS and was SMOKED at the end of that ride. If I had to ride back up DLRT I'd have been calling a cab
    You can also go crazy, and do HITG backwards (we did it). Your wife can drive you to the Norden exit off of 80, do HITG the wrong way, then take DLRT back to the house. Probably 3000' and 22-25 miles.
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by shredchic View Post
    If you want to ride road and MTB, but can only take 1 bike... you can always ride a MTB on the road - PLUS - it's a better workout.
    Especially when you try to pace guys on 15lb road rockets.

  15. #15
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    All of the Tahoe Donner trails are open to biking as well, and there are tons of fun loops you can do from wherever you are. Most houses in TD have some sorth of trail in the back that connects with the rest of the trails in the system. There are some really steep sections, rocky sections, and flowy easy sections as well. I ride those trails all the time, and am often amazed how good the TD trail system is.

    I'd also definitely ride Donner Rim trail as well, and HITG if it's open. Flume is great, but not super techinical, and a LOT of people.

  16. #16
    I like mtn biking, too
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    Quote Originally Posted by lassiar View Post
    Especially when you try to pace guys on 15lb road rockets.
    Yeah. The caveat with riding MTB on the road is, never ride with roadies.
    Half the planet is deep into bloody tribal mayhem. We’re just riding bikes (and drinking beer) here.
    ~Fairfaxian

  17. #17
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    This is HITG starting from Glacier in TD
    From what I know there is still too much snow to complete this.
    You could ride back up Nigro (I broke 2 spokes on this ride and could not go back) which will make this a 5k ride.


    There's tons of options on the TDXC, there is even some fun singletrack.

    Did this easy loop last Sat:
    "There is no A-line"
    Savvy Bike

  18. #18
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    What are some Great Rides in Tahoe

    Hi,

    I'll be in Tahoe for 3 days in August and want to get out on my bike. My favorite trails are long roads or double tracks up and fast singletrack down, the more gravity oriented the down the better, jumps and features are cool too.....

    Thanks Matt

    Also have this intel from a friend in SLC..... who I regard for their trail opinions

    Yeah the place is amazing. We hooked up with a bunch of locals and got the royal tour...so my memory of names and how to get there is a little sketchy. We rode a ton of trails on the periphery of Northstar ski resort. So if you pass the resort on your right headed toward the lake, about 1/2 mile up on the left is a dirt road that heads up, up, up...If you follow it all the way you can get to the start of several trails. Everything from mandatory stream gaps to ewok villiages in the trees to techy singletrack up and over the Tahoe Rim trail. That would be a good place to start. Also, we were there in july and wanted to ride some stuff that was still under snow last year, but there is supposed to be an amazing trail near Donner pass that is famous. Ask the local bike shops and they should have good suggestions too.

  19. #19
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    @Neela - I too would take the mtn. bike. & if you have mostly half days you'd get a lot more riding in near TD than in the Tahoe basin, though Tahoe Meadows/flume could be good for the full day trip. Ditto about HiTG being snowy. Emigrant is best in early morning or late day when it's hot out; rolly sagebrushy trail. & as others have said, there are singletrack trails within Tahoe Donner, including access to the Donner Lake Rim Trail - there's a TD trail map available. Also see http://truckeetrails.org/trails-bikeways/dirt-trails/ for a list of mostly-nearby routes.

    @ Wonko and backroadshome, your questions are much more general... (I thought there was a general Tahoe trails thread, but didn't find it in a quick scan.) Suggestion: get the latest AdventureMap for the area for a starting orientation and a view about how various routes can be connected. It's a big area (with lots of summer traffic), so if you only have one or two days I'd suggest staying in one location and riding trails near that location.

    Mt. Rose to Spooner can include the flume trail, and I'm guessing the famous trail near Donner is Hole in the Ground; latest to melt out around here.

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