Lake Tahoe Mountain Biking > Trails & Reviews
Flume Trail View of Lake Tahoe
North Lake Tahoe > TahoeXC > Trails & Rentals
Located in Tahoe City, California, Tahoe XC summer hiking and biking trails have something for type of runner, rider, or hiker. Tahoe XC provides trailhead services such as full suspension and front suspension bike rental, great food from the Free Heel Cafe, and whatever supplies you might need as you head out onto the trails. Head on out to mountain bike at TahoeXC and play in the woods.
TahoeXC offers Specialized bikes for adults and kids. All bike rentals come with a helmet, water bottle, spare tube, and pump. Their trailhead rentals offer a convenient way to enjoy North Lake Tahoe's best intermediate and beginner level off-road riding, with easy access to the Tahoe Rim Trail and all types of intermediate to advanced terrain up high.
Tahoe Cross Country's day lodge is located on Tahoe City Public Utility District property just east of Burton Creek State Park. From the trailhead at Tahoe XC, hikers and bikers can access incredible views of Lake Tahoe, fun singletrack trails, and beautiful meadows. Find everything you need at the trailhead, and head out and enjoy Burton Creek State Park. Return for a cold drink, an ice cream, or a hot panini sandwich.
Visit TahoeXC.org for details...
North Lake Tahoe > Spooner Lake State Park > The Flume TrailMountain Biking the Tahoe Flume Trail
Here you are in the picture featured in all the brochures! Good Climbs. Better Downhills. Great Views of Lake Tahoe. But you will have to pay to ride, hike or run if you enter at Spooner Lake State Park.
Start at Spooner Lake Nevada State Park (trail and parking fees are required) near the intersection of Highway 50 and Highway 28. Or, if you'd rather ride for free, checkout other points of entry not inside the Nevada State Park.
The route from Spooner Lake State Park is not for beginners or those looking for an easy-to-moderate ride. But, I guess real mountain bikers have to do it at least once or several hundred times as I have. It starts as a double-track road going north through aspen groves, then steepens and ascends to Marlette Lake on what locals call The Canyon Trai, a dirt road. If you're fit, it will take shy of an hour to get to the saddle above Marlette Lake - longer for others who may have to walk or take breaks to rest. Near the top is a granny gear section that casual riders say they wish someone had warned them about - steep and sandy and a good many riders have to walk it. So, OK now you've been warned. This section of trail is why we say this is a challenging ride for those who aren't fit or slim, but it's a good fun workout if you are up to it.
At Marlette Lake, take the dirt road to the left along the lake. At the end of the lake, which is Marlette dam, you will follow narrow single-track where the grading for the now non-existent wooden flume is etched into the side of the steep slope. Here is where you enjoy the nearly flat winding trail on the mountainside with constant panoramic views of Tahoe. With the shore of Lake Tahoe 1,000 feet below, a tumble over the edge could be unhealthy. But you won't.
The flume trail turns into a dirt road that forks. Go left and descend a for 3 miles down the steep sandy fire road into Incline Village. This sandy downhill seems to last a long time, you will reflect on how you'd never want to ride up it, and it'sa lot of fun as you descend to lake level. As you finish at the former Ponderosa Ranch site on Highway 28, you can ride back to your car via the paved road Highway 28, or take a carpool/shuttle back to Spooner where you started.
Technical: Yes, Elevation: 7,000-8,000 ft., Climbing: Over 1,100 ft., Distance: 20 mi..,Special Notes: Take Water, Air Pump and Tire Patches. Water is available at Marlette Lake; but, you will need to filter it to make it drinkable.
The Nevada State Parks has a new concessionaire renting mountain bikes at Spooner Lake State Park! You can pick your bike up at the shop at Spooner Lake State Park. After riding the Flume Trail, you can ride back on Highway 28 or the concessionaire will pick you up with their Bike Shuttle at the Flume Trail Trailhead in Incline Village.
North Lake Tahoe > Tahoe Rim Trail > Tahoe Meadows
This is probably Lake Tahoe's most popular trail, for many good reasons! It's not too difficult for even casual or beginner mountain bike riders, but everyone still finds some technical fun and gronk riders still get some distance, twists and turns and challenges with speed. The trail features long stretches with constant panoramic views of Lake Tahoe and also Carson Valley from the ridge top - the reason they call it The Rim! These are just a few reasons why the Tahoe Meadows trail gets 5 stars out of 5 on every rating and every web site review!
The trailhead is one mile south of the summit on Mt. Rose Hwy. 431 accessed from 395 in Reno or 28 in Incline Village on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe. Parking is free and ample along Mt. Rose Hwy. There is also an intrepretive center visitors center with parking there at Tahoe Meadows.
This section of the Tahoe Rim Trail is open to bike riders on even calendar days only. It's open to hikers every day, and the hikers and mountain bikers coexist happily and congenially on this very popular trail. This also means that if you are hoping for lots of company along the way, you can go any time of day, but if you want a little more solitude, start your ride early in the morning.
This is just about everybody's favorite trail in the entire Tahoe region with several options for finishing the ride from the intersection with Tunnel Creek Road. Also, if you want to go out and back, you will never be disappointed with seeing the fabulous views over again from a different direction! So, you can determine your own pace and time on the Tahoe Meadows Trail.
The Traihead at Tahoe Meadows starts easy and very gradually climbs for the first mile and a half. From this point the trail has very few climbs as it winds in and out of valleys and over ridges. Some easy technical features include a few rock steps and a few switchbacks throughout the next 7 miles. So this can be a leisurly run ride or you can make it fast and challenging if you are a zoomer.
You will find views of Lake Tahoe within the first few miles, so even the most casual rider or hiker can reach Nirvana early on the Tahoe Meadows Trail. Bring a camera, plenty of water, a bag lunch and take your time, find a big rock to sit and enjoy the view.
The trail rides the crest of the Carson Range giving you spectacular views of Lake Tahoe one minute and then Washoe Valley and Carson City the next!
At 9 miles you arrive at the intersection with Tunnel Creek Rd. If you get a US Forest Service map., you will see that there are several options for loops up here. But here are just two ideas: You can continue on to Spooner Lake State Park via Marlette Lake. Or, if you turn at the intersection of Tunnel Creek Rd. you will ride past the north end of the Flume trail and on a 3 mi. sandy steep fire road that takes you down to Hwy. 28 on the East Shore of Lake Tahoe. Either way, you will end up on Hwy. 28 and can turn around and backtrack or else you can ride the road back up to Mt. Rose Hwy. and the Tahoe Meadows trailhead again.
Technical: Not Too, Elevation: 7,000-8,000 ft.,Take Water: Water is available at Marlette Lake but you will need to filter it.
Reviews of Tahoe Rim Trail
|Rim Trail and Mt. Tallac Hike|
|Experience Tahoe Rim Trail|
|Start at FREE USFS Parking|
The following information is from Winter Mountain Biking Guide reprinted courtesy of Tahoe Mountain News, a community newspaper for Lake Tahoe's South Shore.
Fat Tire Meca Awaits Mountain Bikers by Taylor Flynn
Tahoe Mountain News & Tahoe Mountain Visitor
Reprinted with Permission © 1999 Updated: 2003, 2010, 2012, 2022 by TahoeHighSierra.com
With famous trails like Mr. Toads Wild Ride. The Flume and Tahoe Rim Trail, Lake Tahoe is renowned for great mountain biking. The following guide will lead you to these and other well-known mountain bike trails on and around Lake Tahoe. Starting with easier rides and progressing to more difficult ones, this guide is designed to provide something for everyone. Route directions are given as suggestions only, and many trails have several route variations.
South Lake Tahoe > South Lake Tahoe City Bike Path
This paved bike path is a real asset to the town of South Lake Tahoe. This trail is altogether separate from the highway and goes through the pine trees for ten miles. So, you are located away from the busy roads along scenic meadows and quiet neighborhoods. The mostly flat path is ideal for commuting whether headed to work or to the beaches. The bike path goes from Timber Cove Lodge in mid-town and connects to the Forest Service Bike Path, which continues several miles along side of Emerald Bay Road.
The paved bike path near Emerald Bay Road is also known as Forest Bicycle Trail, and it takes you along Lake Tahoe beaches (Pope and Baldwin), where you can visit the restored Baldwin Estate and browse at the Forest Service Visitor Center.
This is a beautiful and fun trail for cycling with family or your sweetie! You can rent a bicycle from the rental concession on Emerald Bay Road and have a very nice cruise. There's even an ice cream parlor for a refreshing stop along the trail when you reach Camp Richardson resort. Technical: Not, Climbing: None
South Lake Tahoe > Fallen Leaf Road
Though this is a paved road complete with vehicle traffic, you'll be glad you're on a mountain bike on this extremely narrow and potholed two-laner. Fallen Leaf Road leads through shaded evergreen forests, along lush green meadows and eventually flanks the southeastern shoreline of Fallen Leaf Lake. If you've never seen this pristine alpine lake nestled at the foot of 9,725' Mt. Tallac, this ride is a must-do. With just a couple gradual hill climbson this 4-mile ride (8 miles round trip) you get a lot of scenery for your effort. An extra 1/4 mile effort beyond Fallen Leaf Lodge will lead you to the Glen Alpine Falls.
How To Get There: From South Lake Tahoe, head north on Highway 89 about one mile past Camp Richardson Lodge. Fallen Leaf Road is on the left, and it can be easy to miss. Park your car in the turnout here, or access Fallen Leaf Road from the Forest Service Bike Path (on the Lake Tahoe side of Highway 89). Technical: Not, Climbing: Hardly Any
South Lake Tahoe > Bob's Nevada Beach Loop
Though much of the terrain around Kingsbury Grade (on the way up to Heavenly Valley Ski Area) in Nevada is very steep, Bob Daly at Shoreline Sports has found a 6 1/2 mile loop that's just right for the whole family - and begins at his shop.
How To Get There: From the Stateline casinos, drive east to Kingsbury Grade, turn right, and follow it up to Shoreline Sports on the right. Get a map from Bob, if you like, and maybe even a new bike. (Happy, Bob?)
The Ride: Go across the street and follow the paved bike path that begins just behind Kahle Park. It will lead you into the forest and a series of small ravines 3 miles to Elks Point Road. Turn left and head through the signal down to Nevada Beach. Now, cruise the beach path back to Shoreline Sports. Technical: Not, Climbing: Very Little
South Lake Tahoe > Angora Lakes
This is a good, steep hill climb with a pot of gold at the top - crystal clear alpine lakes surrounded by scenic cliffs, free lock-up for bikes and a resort store that serves great lemonade.
The Ride: Ride Fallen Leaf Road 1 1/2 miles from Highway 89 and turn left onto Tahoe Mountain Road, then right on Angora Ridge Road after a 1/3 mile climb. The partially paved road will climb steeply for 1 1/2 miles to a fire lookout station with great views of Lake Tahoe and Fallen Leaf Lake. The road then descends to a parking lot. Take the trailhead to Angora Lake, another 1/8 mile up, some 5 miles from Highway 89. Technical: Very Little, Climbing: A Lot
South Lake Tahoe > Powerline Trail
The powerline Trail does not climb much above Lake level. This, however, does not mean it is flat. On a parallel oroute with Pioneer Trail (road), Powerline is comprised of a 7-mile series of short ascents and descents as it traverses several ravines and creeks, including Trout Creek, Cold Creek and Heavenly Valley Creek. The ravines (and climbs) are tremendous fun, and generally steeper at the base of Heavely Ski Resort.
The Ride: Start from either Oneidas Street or Garbage Dump Road (at the end of Elks Club Road on Pioneer Trail), head east along the double-track, which is the service road for a large set of power lines and also doubles as a designated off-highway vehicle (OHV) route. The OHV road ends at Cold Creek, and a single track trail ascends behind the Montgomery Estates neighborhood and continues to Ski Run Boulevard near the California base-side of the Heavenly Valley Ski Area. Technical: Some Technical Fun, Climbing: Short Climbs
South Lake Tahoe > Corral Loop - Tin Shack
The Cooral Loop is a favorite for mountain bike riders and trail runners, too. One advantage of this forested loop is a paved uphill and a dirt, single-track downhill. It always seems like a good deal of off-road downhill in comparison to the smooth, hard-surfaced climb. The off-road descent is fast with a few technical sections.
The Ride: Take Oneidas Street off Pioneer Trail (road) and follow the paved but little-traveled road several miles up a steep 2-mile climb. Fifty yards past the bridge at Trout Creek, turn left into a turnout trail (you will see the trail marker). The single-track leads up one little climb and then descends through some sand and rock, technical sections before opening into some twisting, fast turns. The trail ends at Powerline Trail, so you can eigher turn right onto the Powerline or veer left back to Oneidas. Technical: Some Technical Fun, Climbing: Yes
South Lake Tahoe > Mr. Toad's Wild Ride
Here's the ride you've been looking for! Named after the Disneyland roller-coaster, Toads is notorious for its fast downhill through banked turns and thick forest. Once an obscure, nearly forgotten OHV trail named Saxon Creek Trail, Toads is undoubtedly Tahoe Shouth Shore's most famous mountain bike trail due to a magazine write-up early in the start of the sport, which wrecked sections of the trail due to overuse. However, in the years prior to 2019, Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association (TAMBA) held many volunteer trail days to rebuild portions of this iconic trail. They even hired crews to do major rock work, which included "armoring" sandy turns, repairing eroded sections and restoring widened trail segments to the original singletrack. What a relief if you've ever ridden those rutted out wide sections of the trail. TAMBA thanks supporters and event participants for the funds used to improve Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.
The Wild Ride: Start from the Bid Meadow Trailhead (parking and restrooms) off Luther Pass Grade on Highway 89. Ride the Tahoe Rim Trail east 3 miles up gorgeous, technically-challenging single track to tucker Flat. Turn left at the Saxon Creek trail marker and prepare to heat up your brakes. For approximately 4 1/2 miles, it's almost all downhill, technical through some early sections and pulverized by overuse in others, but there are still super-fast and fun twisties as you reach the bottom. Views of mountain wildflowers can be gorgeous, as well, due to many streams and meadows along the route. Technical: Yes, Climbing: Depends on which direction you go!
TahoeHighSierra .com Hot Trail Tip: You can get back to your car by riding back up the hill. Or, better yet ride the trail all the way to Oneidas Street, then take a left to Pioneer Trail (road) to Highway 50, where you will go left and down to the Meyers bicycle path alongside of Highway 50 going south to South Upper Truckee Road, left there through Christmas Valley and up the old Luther Pass Road to Luther Pass Rd. again, and your car. Get a street map and Forest Service map to find this great route, which rides best when started from the bridge at the end of South Upper Truckee Rd. at the end of Christmas Valley.) Technical: Lots Of It, Climbing: Lots Of It.
Where to get Lake Tahoe mountain bike trails maps...
The US Forest Service and Nevada State Parks publish maps for Lake Tahoe mountain bikers...
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