Sunday, May 1, 2011

Two Holes in the Wall between Reno and Verdi, Nevada

The Hole in the Wall is a popular destination for hikers and bikers between Reno and Verdi, just south of Mogul in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. The forest begins about a mile away, higher up the hills and mountains slopes. The area around the hole features crumbly ground and sagebrush. This is not a mysterious sinkhole, but a man-made structure. There are two holes: one at the Reno-facing and one at the California-facing side. Afoot, they are about 20 minutes apart; meaning a walk over the steep hillside and downhill on the western slope, but certainly not through the tunnel, which has a lot of water coming through at times.

This tunnel is an underground section of the Steamboat Ditch, which carries water from the Truckee river for irrigation. Next to the ditch is a trail, on which you can hike to and from the hole; for example via Tom Cooke Trail, starting across the Truckee river at the Patagonia Outlet [1]. There are various shortcuts, when turning right, just a few steps after the beginning of Tom Cooke Trail. Bikers typically (and hikers and cross-country skiers often, too) start from near the intersection of  Plateau Road and Woodchuck Circle, where the Steamboat Ditch is undercrossing Woodchuck.

Back to the Reno-side hole: if you climb the dirt road to get above the hole you'll find a nice and easy trail on the left, going south, with views of the leveled, winding ditch. After less than a mile, this trail crosses another dirt road and continues as a small path along a creek towards the forest.

In case, you are getting interested in the ditch and its history, Marion Vermazen has researched details [2]. Marion also saw the second hole of the tunnel. Simply by looking through, she saw the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel.”       

References and more
[1] “Tom Cooke Trail to Hole in the Wall” on pages 233 and 234 in Mike White's hiking guide Afoot & Afield • Reno-Tahoe • A comprehensive hiking guide. Wilderness Press, Berkeley, California, 2nd printing November 2008.
[2] Marion Vermazen: Steamboat Ditch and the Tom Cooke Trail to Hole in the Wall, April 3, 2009 [].

No comments: