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Five Lake Tahoe trails to get your mountain bike on.
Photo: Allan Warren
Whether it’s the 13-mile, exposed traverse on the Flume Trail, or the up and down, twisting, turning rollercoaster through the trees on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Lake Tahoe is home to some of the best mountain biking in the West. You could devote a whole Web site to the dozens of stellar rides at Tahoe, but here are a few of the best to whet your two-wheeled appetite.
The Watson Lake section of the Tahoe Rim Trail can be done from Mount Watson Road or as a loop from Tahoe City. Either way, this intermediate trail is a great introduction to Tahoe mountain biking. From the road it’s about a five-mile rolling traverse into the mountains that eventually turns back to the lake. Like all Tahoe rides, you’ll want to keep your eyes out for offshoot trails. A superb view of the lake precedes a short, technical downhill section followed by a fast, fun decent back to Tahoe City.
Kingsbury Grade to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
This epic, 25-mile ride along the Tahoe Rim Trail has excellent views of Lake Tahoe, the Sierra Nevada, and Star Lake. This advanced ride, with more than 5,000 feet of elevation gain over two high passes, should be planned as a full-day trip. Follow the blue Tahoe Rim Trail signs along the well-marked path.
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
Mr. Toad’s is one of the best and most demanding rides in the Tahoe area. It can be done as a loop or a shuttle to the beginning of the single track at Big Meadow parking area off Highway 89. Although this is an advanced trail, all of the technical sections can be walked. The single-track climb starting from 89 can be brutal, but the 12-mile downhill makes the punishment all worthwhile. With perfectly banked turns through beautifully spaced trees, the parking lot is always an unwelcome sight at the bottom.
The Flume Trail is one of the most scenic, well-known mountain bike rides in Nevada. Much of the trail traverses the steep slopes more than 1,000 feet above Sand Harbor. The Flume can be ridden in either direction, but most start from Spooner Lake, pass Marlette Lake, and continue to State Route 28 near Hidden Beach.
From the start at Martis Peak road off Highway 267, the trail climbs a paved road for four miles to the lookout station. A single track diverges from the pavement just before the final climb. From the top there are many options for the decent on either single-track trails or forest service roads. Maintain a northwesterly direction on any of them to return to 267 near Northstar Ski Resort.