FATMAP difficulty grade
If you want one ride that will throw a little of everything at you, all in highly-entertaining fashion, then head for Truckee, California and ride the joyful Hole in the Ground trail.
Over the course of 17 miles, you'll hit some pavement, some doubletrack, and a whole lot of top-quality singletrack.
Even the pavement is a pleasant ride as you cruise by a couple of Tahoe's smaller ski resorts on roads which are traffic-free since it's not ski season! But the real reward lies on the amazing singletrack that begins shortly after you cross back north across the interstate highway and quickly leave civilization in favor of some gorgeous Sierra Mountain backcountry.
The singletrack is a bit congested with hikers at first, but they quickly peel off onto the no-bikes-allowed Pacific Crest Trail, at which point you've got some prime Hole in the Ground singletrack all to yourself.
The initial climb is substantial and has plenty of switchbacks, but is never too steep.
A reasonably skilled and fit rider will have little difficulty gaining the ridge.
Once on the ridge, it's time to soak up some sweet scenery as the views of the surrounding mountains go on forever.
After gaining the ridge and getting an eyeball full, there's a steep but short and sweet descent followed by a few miles of some of the finest cross country trail riding you could ever hope to sink your knobbies into.
The truly special and unique element of the ride is the constant white granite rocks which punctuate the ride with rock gardens, rock rollers, optional drops, stunt opportunities and photo ops galore.
This trail is worth riding multiple times.
At least once just to get the lay of the land, session the fun parts, and get some film, and then again to shred the whole thing nonstop just for the sheer joy of cruising such a great trail without a care in the world.
With the Pacific Crest Trail next door, along with most visiting cyclists opting for the nearby Tahoe Rim Trail, this perfect loop gets far less traffic than its quality would indicate, making it a great lesser-known find that actually deserves more love than the more famous routes adjacent to it.
No Tahoe bike trip is complete with a lap around this trail.
If you haven't ridden Hole in the Ground, there's still a hole in your bucket list!