Lake Tahoe Mountain Biking: Beginner to Advanced
A mountain biker takes in the scenic view of Tahoe’s east shore from the Flume Trail.
Mountain Biking in the Lake Tahoe and Truckee areas can be challenging if you don’t know what kind of trail you’re on. Pair your riding ability with one of these great trails.
Blackwood Canyon/ Ward Creek — A paved “country” road with gentle terrain, open meadows and aspen groves. Cross bridge and continue on pavement to climb four miles to Barker Pass summit; or, turn left on dirt trail spur through forest to Ward Creek Ave., connect back along Hwy. 89 to Blackwood Canyon Rd. This is a multiple use area. Parking, restrooms and bicycle campsites available.
Fiberboard Freeway & Watson Lake — Partly paved, partly graded dirt road/path, good for novice riders. Great lake views. Take a short side trip to Watson Lake. Limited parking.
Truckee River Bike Path — For a paved, more leisurely ride, consider the Truckee River bike path or traverse the bike path along the North and West shores of the lake.
North Tahoe Nordic Center — A convenient sampler with potential for more. Pick some distinct landmarks and create your own loop on this easygoing network of trails or make your way to the Fiberboard Freeway for more. Distance: Variable/four miles to Fiberboard Freeway. Ride Time: Variable/1-3 hours round-trip.
North Tahoe Regional Park — This 125-acre park contains many trails including the 300-foot climb North Ridge trail, highest in the park. Maps and difficulty ratings posted. Unsigned single-track paths throughout park. Several trails extend into adjoining USDA Forest Service land. A 1.2 mile paved bike path follows lower east end of park to Hwy 267 to connect to Tahoe Rim Trail on Regency Way at Brockway Summit.
Sugar Pine Point State Park/ General Creek — Ride color-coded trails individually or connect all five for longest ride through park – lakeside yellow and orange trails offer lake views and access to adjacent historic site; blue, red and green trails follow General Creek through forested area with red trail offering access to 1960 Olympics biathlon range.
Kirkwood – There’s plenty of riding at Kirkwood winter and summer for both beginners and advanced riders.
Powerline Trail – One of the benefits of the Powerline trail is that you can start from the heart of South Lake Tahoe and simply enjoy the fast, mellow, rolling terrain through forest and wildflowers in spring and early summer.
Brockway Summit / Tahoe Rim Trail — Great vistas of Lake Tahoe, the Sierras and Carson Range with some technical single track. Trail starts at 7,200-feet. Technical descents and moderately steep climb. Generally narrow and sandy, with some rocky sections and occasional scree slopes near Rose Knob. Limited dirt road parking, no facilities.
Emigrant Trail — A rolling trail with moderate, intermittent climbs. The rolling hills and flatlands that make up the Prosser Creek and Stampede Reservoirs are home to an 18-mile out-and-back, relatively easy trail that can be as vigorous or as leisurely as you like.
Western States Trail — A North Tahoe classic. Warm up on the bike path before climbing up and away from the Truckee River on this relentless string of switchbacks.
The Flume Trail — Nowhere are lake views more prominent than along the East Shore on Tahoe’s legendary Flume Trail. Pedal with relative ease into the same backdrop you’ve seen in countless photographs depicting riders negotiating a sandy traverse high above Sand Harbor’s turquoise waters and white sand beaches.
Martis Peak — This five-mile climb along a wide fire road leads to Martis Peak lookout. Outhouse and picnic area available.
Tahoe Rim Trail — There are several TRT trailheads. The TRT is an interconnected trail around the Lake. Bikes allowed on this trail on even days only. Trail from Mt. Rose to Spooner Lake is a two-mile ride with a total elevation change of 720 feet. Two steep ascents, but generally rolling hills and stunning views. Contact: www.tahoerimtrail.org.
McKinney-Rubicon Springs Road — A variety of opportunities from easy trails with some rocky sections and occasional scree slopes, technical descents and moderately steep climb. Trails are generally wide and frequented by off-road vehicles.
Spooner to Marlette — Rolling climb leads into a steep ascent, then short descent to Marlette Lake. Enjoy impressive fall foliage and mountain views. Keep going left around Marlette to get on The Flume Trail.
Kingsbury to Spooner – If you’re looking for some great views, technical riding, good climbs and fun descents this is the trail for you.
Northstar California — Let the lifts take you the top so you can get more miles in. There are many trails here, from beginner to advanced, including a terrain park with man-made and natural features. With more than 100 mountain bike trails, you are sure to find something for you. More »
Tahoe Meadows to Marlette Lake or Spooner Lake — A hearty ride with exquisite scenery: Sample one of the better sections of the Tahoe Rim Trail from this northeast corner of the lake and take in the dramatic views down to the Carson Valley and back to the Tahoe basin. Distance: 20 plus miles. Ride Time: 4-6 hours.
Hole in the Ground — A challenging loop atop Donner Pass: A tough climb to start, then the trail descends into the lower Castle Creek Valley where it twists and turns as often as it rolls up or down. Swim at Lake Lola before finishing the last third of the ride.
Stanford Rock Loop — A single-track loop with challenging climb and technical descent. Views include alpine forests, Stanford Rock and Ward Canyon.
Flume Trail — Rewarding views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding Sierra. A shuttle bus at the north end of trail returns to Spooner Lake parking for $10 fee or shuttle a car to Ponderosa Ranch.
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride – Toted as one of the most technical, demanding and exhilarating rides in the Tahoe area you’ll climb 3,200 feet before screaming down the technical Saxon Creek Drainage on the way home. Bring plenty of water.