top of page
Return to this month's index page
This Month's Cover

Volume XXXIII
Spring / Summer 2018

Travel

Biking Tahoe Trails

Flume Trail
Flume Trail

Mountain bikers are a special breed of crazy, and Tahoe South’s legendary trails draw these daredevils from far and wide. Some of them even live here permanently, so your knobby tires will be in good local company.

From the heart-pounding downhill track of the Saxon Creek Trail (nickname: Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride) to the gorgeous Flume Trail there are rides for every technical level. For the truly ambitious, you can link trails and ride seven summits in one day.

Tahoe South has been designated as a Bike Friendly Community, so bike paths for the social spin are plentiful and so are local bike shops staffed by experts that rent and sell quality bikes. The famed loop around Lake Tahoe is 72 miles of scenery: deep blue water, Douglas Fir groves, and breathtaking views of Emerald Bay. The road also passes quaint waterfront lodging and plenty of eateries to fuel the journey.


Flume Trail (East Shore, NV)

This trail is approximately 14 miles one way, and averages between 7000’ and 8100’ elevation, sitting above Lake Tahoe’s North East shore. A Tahoe classic, with breathtaking views over Lake Tahoe’s Eastern Shore, this trail is moderately difficult. See for yourself why this trail is so frequently photographed for magazines. The trail is relatively smooth, and fun for intermediate riders and beginners who are ready for a strenuous ride. Professional shuttle services are available, or consider including the Tahoe Rim Trail to make it a loop ride back to your car. Another option includes starting at Mount Rose Summit at the Tahoe Meadows trailhead and riding down to the Flume Trail.

Directions: Spooner Lake State Park is located at the intersection of Highway 50 and Highway 28 on the east shore.


Mr. Toads Wild Ride/ aka Saxon Creek (South Lake Tahoe)

An iconic rocky, technical and fun decent, this trail gives advanced riders a satisfyingly long 6 mile downhill. Plunging through towering forests and boulders on the upper sections then giving way to fast, banked turns on the lower sections. Bring your longer-travel bike.

By starting at Heavenly’s Stagecoach Lodge off Kingsbury Grade and riding the TRT to Star Lake, over Freel Peak and onward to Toads you can make this a longer ride of nearly 30 miles, typically called the “Punisher” – or for the super endurance riders start at Mount Rose for the 60+ mile “Uber Punisher”.

Directions: Take Pioneer Trail towards Meyers, turn left onto Oneidas Street, after passing a few houses this turns into a paved forest service road called Fountain Place, follow for about 1/4 mile, there is a large dirt parking lot on your right, this is where the bottom of the trail ends. If you park here you can loop it by riding up the paved Forest Service Road to Armstrong trail. The other option is to ride or shuttle up to Highway 89 and meet up with the Big Meadow trail head. Do not try to ride up Mr Toads trail.

The Bench, TRT (Stateline, NV to Spooner Summit)

This section of the Tahoe Rim Trail starts high and takes you above tree line, with spectacular lake views along the way. Intermediate and Advanced riders will enjoy how this trail has just enough rocks to keep things interesting but very rideable. This ride is typically done as an out and back from either Spooner Summit or Kingsbury Grade. There is a big wooden bench with arguably some of the best views of Lake Tahoe halfway between Spooner and Kingsbury, hence the name of the trail.

Directions: Take Kingsbury Grade / State Route 207 in Stateline, NV towards the top, turn left onto North Benjamin Street, keep following until the very end where you will see a large parking area and Tahoe Rim Trail sign and trail head. Or start from the TRT trailhead on the South side of Highway 50 at Spooner Summit.

Powerlines Trail (South Lake Tahoe)

Smooth rolling single track takes you from town near Heavenly Cal Base, up and along the forest above the neighborhoods of South Lake Tahoe. Very suitable for beginners to intermediates — and everyone can use it to connect to other trails, such as Corral, Cedar and Cold Creek. Easily accessible from many points in town. West of High Meadow road this turns into a dirt road that meets Fountain Place and the Corral area.

Directions: Head to the top of Ski Run Blvd. and take a right onto Saddle Road, this dead ends after about a block, there is limited on street parking. Another access area is the High Meadow trail head, turn up High Meadows Road off Pioneer Trail and drive on the dirt road until the gate. You will see a map kiosk here.

Chimney Beach Trail (Incline Village, NV)

Short but fun descent from the hill above Marlett Lake (South side) near the Flume Trail down to Highway 28 above the Thunderbird Lodge. End with this trail after riding the Flume or TRT, however it’s recommended to arrange a shuttle or leave a car at the parking lot on Highway 28.

Directions: Bottom of the trail has a paved parking lot on the mountain side of Highway 28, near the entrance to the Thunderbird Lodge.

Tahoe Meadows, TRT (Incline Village, NV)

This is a really fun and scenic section of the Rim Trail open to bikes on even numbered days. You start at over 9,000 feet in elevation and drop down gradually over about 8 miles until reaching Tunnel Creek Road and the intersection of the Rim Trail. From here you can either take the Flume or continue on the TRT where the ride turns more tricky with some climbing to Snow Peak. This is recommended as a point to point, although it is not unheard of to ride back up to Mount Rose as an out and back.

Directions: TRT trail head is at Mount Rose Summit with a large paved parking lot and rest room.