The Donner Summit area is a premiere location for trail mountain biking at any proficiency level. The abundance of great trails, spectacular views and varied terrain make the area a trail bikers dream.
The best known ride in the area is the Hole in Ground loop in the Castle Peak area. The route is challenging as it climbs to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) at 8000+ ft. There are also less challenging rides like the loop around Van Norden Meadow that are great for the entire family. One of the best riding areas with a variety of terrain is the Royal Gorge area surrounding Serene Lakes and out along Kidd Lake Rd. A combination of old logging roads and ski trails criss crosses this area of high Alpine forest and offers great single track mountain biking opportunities. The 6 mile loop ride out to Mariah Pt is one of the best ride in the area.
Most of the trails are marked with ski trail signs making it easy to put together loop rides incorporating various trails. The individual trails are mapped below with the distances and difficulties. Just put together a loop of the distances and difficulties you would like to ride. Riding conditions vary during the summer season. Expect wet trails in early summer with sections of muddy trails. You may also have to cross seasonal creeks. During the middle of the summer, conditions are optimum with dry firm trails. Late in August and through September the trails can be pretty dusty with the build up of talc on turns of the more popular trails.
The area is remote, high and dry and it is highly recommended that the riders bring plenty of water, a tool & flat repair kit, a small first aid kit and a cell phone (even though reception is spotty in many areas). It’s probably a good idea to take it easy if you are coming up from lower altitudes and are not used to the thinner air. With a few sensible precautions you can experience some of the great mountain biking the Summit has to offer.