MTB around Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe offers splendid mountainbiking. Some of the best in the world. Most biking is done on the Tahoe Rim Trail, i.e., on trails that more or less follow the watershed around the lake, and trails leading to or from the Rim Trail. The  ecofascists have banned  mountain biking on the Pacific  Crest  Trail and part of the Tahoe Rim Trail is also part of the Pacific Crest Trail, so one section is closed to bikers. However, the rest is fully accessible and the biking is a lot of fun.

First we camped near Tahoe City, in the State Recreation Area, and biked the trails on the north side of Lake Tahoe, then we biked to the south side and camped at the Fallen Leaf Campground. They were lovely camp sites though we could hear the bears trying to open the trash cans at night.

Swimming in Truckee River

State Recreation Area Camping

Bear safe

Bear xing

Tahoe Rim Trail, North shore

On the north side of Lake Tahoe we road the Tahoe Rim Trail ascending via route 267, traversing the northern slopes of the lake on splendid singletrack, ending the day with a fine downhill run to Tahoe City.

Lake Tahoe


Twisty singletrack

Watson Lake

This is why the trail is also know
as the ‘Cinder Cone Loop

Tahoe Meadows, Flume Trail

The trail from Tahoe Meadows and the Flume Trail via Marlette Lake are perhaps the most well known trails in the area. Geographically the trail is in Nevada not in California. One begins by ascending on road to Tahoe meadows. Then it is all singletrack following the watershed gaining and losing altitude according to the ridge line. There are staggering views into Nevada. From Marelette Lake one follows the famous Flume Trail, an ancient canal originally used to transport logs, it is extremely spectacular but completely untechnical, as one hardly loses any altitude before the Flume Trail ends into the Tunnel Creek Road, which is a steep and sandy fire road.

Catching the bus to Nevada

Lake Tahoe

The trail from Tahoe Meadows

Staggering views into Nevada

Close to Marelette Peak

Marlette Lake

A break for a swim

Flume Trail


Kingsbury Grade — Armstrong Pass

The trail from Kingsbury Grade to the Armstrong Pass is partly in Nevada. One climbs up from the Kingsbury Grade to the ski resort ‘Heavenly Valley’ [sic!] and hits the singletrack there. It is splendid riding, largely the trail is on the west side of the watershed, with beautiful views into the Carson Valley in Nevada.  One gains a saddle and then crosses over to the other side of the watershed and climbs on a fine trail to Star Lake.  Beyond star lake one climbs again on exhilarating singletrack and then one descends to the Armstrong Pass. From the Armstrong Pass it is all downhill along the Armstrong Trail.

We had a fantastic outing.

On the west side of the watershed

Views into the Carson Valley

Carson Valley is deep below

Gaining a saddle

Climbing towards Star Lake

Star Lake

It never gets better than this

Upper section of the Armstrong Trail

Creek crossing at the end of Armstrong Trail

Our camp site at the Fallen Leaf Camp Ground

Kingsbury Grade — Spooner Lake

Another ride we did was from Kingsbury Grade to Spooner Lake. We passed the horrible casinos at the border and climbed the Kingsbury Grade and then followed the Tahoe Rim Trail north on fine winding singletrack that largely went right on the very watershed. Views were splendid, and the biking fun, we had a great day except for the ride back along the Route 50. The traffic was intense and outright frightening.


Winding fine singletrack

On the very watershed

Burned out forest

Armstrong Pass — Mr Toad‘s Wild Ride

Our last day in Lake Tahoe we went up to the Armstrong Pass via the Luther Pass.  The ascent was rather steep. From the Armstrong Pass we followed the Tahoe Rim Trail south westwards along the ridge line, until we reached the famous Mr Toads Wild Ride, a steep technically very challenging downhill ride.

Climbing to the Armstrong Pass

Riding along the ridge

So much fun

View South

On the watershed

Freel Meadow

It is almost flat on Freel Meadows

Mr Toad‘s Wild Ride, sandy Switchback

Coasting down Mr Toad‘s Wild Ride

Lake Tahoe no doubt offered us the finest riding we had in California. We would go gladly go back!