Hole in the Ground is a great Sierra Nevada trail filled with plenty of technical riding. If you are an intermediate rider looking for a place to work on your technical skills this is a great trail. Advanced riders will enjoy this trail as well and the granite areas adjacent to the trail make a great play area.
My big suggestion about this ride is to take the Soda Springs exit and climb up to Boreal at the beginning of the ride rather than finishing on a climb. From Soda Springs go east on Donner Pass Road until you see a small poorly marked dirt road on the left hand side. This is "Bunny Hill Road" or some such and takes you to the Boreal Ski Resort parking lot. Cross the lot and go under the freeway and up the road.
Stay to the right (straight) until the road ends and turn onto the fireroad which is on the left. While climbing the fireroad stay on the main fireroad until you see the big "Hole in the Ground" trail sign on the left.
From that point the trail is pretty obvious. There are a few forks but most of them are signed or no bikes. In a couple of places the trail forks to go to the lakes. The lakes are beautiful alipine lakes and worth the detour. Eventually the trail turns into a gravel road. Follow the road for a while but keep an eye out for the trail sign and the trail turning off to the left. You are back on singletrack (over some rather steep steps) for a short time then you get dumped back out onto a gravel road. Turn left on the road and follow it for another mile or so and watch again for a trail on the left. This little section of singletrack is short and dumps you onto a Highway 80 frontage road. Turn right to freeway overpass and back to where you parked.
Parking in Soda Springs is means you end the ride with a downhill which is my preference. Just take highway 80 to Soda Springs and find parking on either the north side of the freeway just past the firestation or on the south side at the Summit restaurant.
If you like climbing at the end of your ride you can park at the top of Boreal Ridge Road. Just take highway 80 and exit like you are going to Boreal Ski resort, only go North (under the freeway) up Boreal Ridge Road. The road ends fairly soon. Park and look for the fireroad at the end of the road. The ride directions are for parking at Soda Springs but it should be easy enough to figure out the differences.
This is the top of the ride, just past Andesite Peak. The climb up to here is a lot of work but if you parked in Soda Springs then all the climbs left are small compared to what you've already done. Get ready for a fast downhill and fun technical trails.
When I first saw this I thought the trail continued up the ridge on the far side. After the previous day at Toad's I was getting worried. But Hole in the Ground trail drops down after the second ridge and the trail you see going up is apparantly the Pacific Crest trail.
Some people think you have to go to Moab to find slickrock. While the granite doesn't stick quite as well as the sandstone in Moab it give you exceptionally good grip. You can find this stuff at a lot of Sierra Nevada trails.
And one thing that is conspicously absent from Moab is the trees, and in general green stuff.
Gary showing us how to wheelie drop the 12" drop at the bottom of this granite. I tried it and cleaned the same stunt a couple times but couldn't do the wheelie drop at the end because of the slope.
A huge part of Hole in the Ground trail looks like this. Singletrack in a field of boulders. Lots of loose rock, rock dropoffs, and well... rocks. Very much like a bowl of rocky road ice cream without the soft marshmellows to land on.
We took a little detour to Sand Ridge Lake. The alpine lakes are beautiful and a great place for a break.
We were worried about getting hot on this ride but it started sprinkling on us when we got to the lake and kept up for the rest of the ride for a great refresh. Also it kept the trail dust down and made the trail a little tackier. Nice!
Another angle of the lake.
Gary about to wheelie drop off the rock. Just a little too fast with the shutter.
Did I mention granite slabs to play on? Lots of granite to play on.
Gary on the "More-difficult-than-it-looks" shortcut.
Frollicking around on the granite and demonstrating the utility of riding Skorts.
The Ogre playing around near Lower Lola Montez Lake.
Gary demonstrates that riding skorts are not only fashionable but they are functional too!