18mi Singletrack and Swimming

Rate this Adventure Lake Tahoe Tahoe Donner Loop

Added by Tahoe Loco

18-mile loop with an 1,800ft elevation gain in the first 6 milesViews of the Tahoe WildernessDuration: 2 hours

This 18-mile loop through what you might call “suburban” Truckee is surprisingly satisfying, either by itself on a short day or tacked onto a longer ride. It works well in combination with the Cisco Grove to Donner Lake loop or the standard Truckee-Tahoe City-Kings Beach loop when you want some extra climbing. It includes about 2,500 feet of elevation gain, with about 1,800 feet of that in the first six miles after leaving Donner Pass Road at Northwoods Blvd. The views from the top of Tahoe Donner are sweeping. On a clear day you can see deep into the Tahoe Wilderness in several directions.

The route: You can start anywhere but we will describe it from Donner Pass Road and Northwoods Blvd., on the western edge of the newer Truckee commercial district, almost across the street from the high school. Begin climbing Northwoods, and after about 1.4 miles, turn left at a light that keeps you on Northwoods (this road is itself a loop). After another half mile, turn left on Ski Slope Way, and continue climbing, off and on (mostly on) for about 4 miles. This road takes you up and around the little Tahoe Donner Ski Resort, which is a local place that’s great for taking kids on their first days on skis. There are no services out here for riders, only mountain homes, but you shouldn’t need much as the loop through the subdivision is not too long. The descent from the summit of Ski Slope Way is a series of sweeping, not too technical turns on good pavement. One caution: watch out for those manhole covers. They keep popping up in your path, and they are recessed in the pavement, so if you hit one, you can be thrown off your game at high speed. Ski Slope ends at Alder Creek Road, where you go right. More descending and a few modest rollers take you to Highway 89, where you turn right, or south, back toward Truckee and Tahoe. This two-mile stretch is the worst part of the ride as you have to fight for position on the narrow shoulder with cars and trucks moving past at high speed. Turn right at the traffic circle back onto Donner Pass Road and follow it across the freeway and into old Truckee. Plenty of shops and restaurants here if you want to stop and browse or eat, or continue on Donner Pass Road under the freeway again, through the newer commercial district and back to the start. Source

For a beer and a burger afterward head to Burger Me.

Pack List

  • Bike
  • Helmet
  • Hydration
  • Snacks
  • Beer Money
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Cycling, Fitness

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn


Easy Parking
Food Nearby

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Added by Tahoe Loco

TahoeLoco.com is a web site by and for people who live, work, and hang in Tahoe. We are a diverse, growing online community of people with many interests but one thing in common: we love Tahoe and believe in its sustainable future. The site features contributions from the community in our “Basin” and “Extreme Tahoe” blogs and in our ski conditions forum, and in public comments through the pages.

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