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DLRT (Donner Lake Rim Trail) Castle Valley to Donner Ridge

 15 votes


8.3 Miles 13.3 Kilometers




1,222' 373 m


-1,008' -307 m



Avg Grade (3°)


Max Grade (10°)

7,694' 2,345 m


6,891' 2,100 m




Getting forecast...

An absolute work of Art!

Paul Rogers


Only rideable once the snow pack has melted.
A seriously well-crafted trail. The DLRT, when completed, will circumnavigate the high country around Donner Lake. A 23 mile loop is planned, about 9 sweet miles are open to bikes so far. Enjoy!

Need to Know

This trail can be shuttled several different ways. For mostly downhill fun, start at castle valley (TH) and end with the shuttle at Wendin Way Access Trail. For a fun long ride, start at Castle Valley (TH) and end with the shuttle in Truckee (Tahoe Donner) and combine Hidden Gem and Motherlode. My favorite is a crusher: combine DLRT with Emigrant Trail , and if you are sick in the head, do Hidden Gem and Motherlode along the way...


Starting at Castle Valley Trailhead, head up the fireroad the same as you would for Hole in the Ground. Before Hole in the Ground trail, there is a right turn after a rock garden on doubletrack. Stay on the doubletrack, cross over the PCT (no bikes), and the summit trail (no bikes). At 1.2 miles, the DLRT starts to your right. Soon after, the granite garden begins - it's one of the best sections of trail featuring great vistas of the Donner area.

At the 3 mile mark you'll be at summit lake. From here, there is a faint trail around the lake and several cool perches for a snack break. Start on doubletrack at the lake and follow it up and over a small hill. Then head downhill toward Truckee for a wicked descent. Keep an eye out for a short climb to the left at about the 4.4 mile mark, the singletrack picks back up on an exposed hillside. You'll pop out on a doubletrack again for a short climb, then back onto trail on the right.

After crossing a bridge, you'll arrive at an intersection with Wendin Way Access Trail. Left continues up to the ridge, right takes you down to the trailhead. Once up a short grunt of a climb, you are on the ridge and in Tahoe Donner area. From there, you can take DLRT on a fast plunge down to the "bench" or delve into the Donner trails, the possibilities are endless. The DLRT also functions as a great out-and-back. Head back the way you came! Its ALL good...

History & Background

Very rich history in this area:
GOOGLE: Immigrant trail, Donner Party, Gold rush.


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Your Check-Ins


Oct 28, 2017
Andy Mac
Went back to house. Awesome ride
Oct 14, 2017
Jeani Mangrum
Sep 17, 2017
Andy DeFazio
Aug 12, 2017
Stacey Hanson
Jul 20, 2017
Rachel Garner
Started at Tahoe Donner, too many downed trees past the granite rock garden to complete the trail 7.1mi
Jul 17, 2017
george hayduke
Jul 9, 2017
Larry Russell
DLRT Shuttle 4.7mi
Jul 7, 2017
Tony Lima

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 15 votes


in Soda Springs


  4.7 from 15 votes
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in Soda Springs


in California


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14,557 Since Aug 26, 2014
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

This trail should NOT be listed as a shuttle ride. It's a great out and back from the lower parking lot (start from the end that is listed here). NO reason to shuttle this. The up is nothing too difficult to ride. Sep 16, 2017

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