South Lake Tahoe Bike Trails

Resource provided by Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association

 
 
If you’ve enjoyed these trail recommendations please consider sending the Lake Tahoe Visitor’s Authority and the SLT Chamber an email that expresses your appreciation for the trails TAMBA maintains, builds, and promotes, as well as what kind of economic impact you may have had on the town. Receiving these emails from visitors helps reinforce future advocacy and investment into the excellent trail system we all enjoy in Tahoe. Thank you.
 
 
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Alright, let’s get into it!

 

 

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride/ aka Saxon Creek (South Lake Tahoe): 
an iconic ride that’s rocky, technical, and super fun. This trail gives advanced riders a satisfyingly long 6 mile downhill that plunges through towering forests and boulders on the upper sections, then giving into fast banked turns on the lower sections. Bring your longer-travel bike.
The two most popular ways to ride Toad’s is to either loop it going up Fountain Place, Armstrong, Tahoe Rim Trail, and then down Toads for about a 20 mile loop.  Or you can shuttle up to Big Meadow Tahoe Rim Trail parking area and ride up from there for a shorter 3 mile climb to the top.

In Addition, by starting at Heavenly’s Stagecoach Lodge off Kingsbury Grade and riding the Tahoe Rim Trail 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. Toad’s trail.

 

Corral Area Trails, Including Sidewinder, Cedar, and Armstrong Connector (South Lake Tahoe): 
this area has a high density of trails for all ability levels and serves as the unofficial hub of mountain bike activity in the South Shore. Out here you will find the most legal features in South Tahoe including log rides, jumps, and rock rolls, as well as new jumps, berms, rollers, and hips, built by TAMBA and SBTS in 2014. The trails all run parallel to the Fountain Place paved road so they can be shuttled by car. You can find everyone out here having fun, from riders in body armor and downhill bikes to families testing their kids’ limits. These trails link to Armstrong Trail, the Tahoe Rim Trail, Powerline, and Railroad Grade. This is also where Toad’s ends.

Directions: from town, take Pioneer Trail towards Meyers, turn left onto Oneidas Street, after passing a few houses this turns into a paved forest service road, follow for about 1/2 mile and park in dirt parking lot on the left just past the creek crossing.

 

Star Lake Connector (South Lake Tahoe): 
this trail climbs roughly 1,400 vertical feet over 4 miles to connect High Meadow to Star Lake and the Tahoe Rim Trail. This is a well-built trail that’s fun to climb or descend. Link in with Cold Creek trail if you are descending down from the Tahoe Rim Trail and Star Lake. For a longer loop, pedal up this trail and continue on to Freel Peak and then down Armstrong, Connector, and Corral – or reverse this loop.  Many good options.

Directions: there is no direct vehicular access, however easiest access is from the end of High Meadow Road off of Pioneer Trail. Ride up the gated dirt road or climb up the Cold Creek single track to High Meadow where the trail can be found off the dirt road on the South end of the meadow.

 

Monument Trail (South Lake Tahoe): 
this trail climbs over 1,000 vertical feet in about 3 miles to connect the top of Cold Creek Trail / High Meadow to Monument Pass and the Tahoe Rim Trail. The lower half is really fun and flowy which makes for a good climb or descent. The top half is a bit more sandy, but a great option to get up to the Tahoe Rim Trail. It passes through many old growth Juniper trees and some cool rock outcroppings. Ride as an out and back, or over to Star Lake, or over to Van Sickle Trail.

For an awesome “lollipop” ride try riding up Cold Creek Trail, then up Star Lake Trail, then north on the Rim Trail, and connect into Monument to descend back down Cold Creek.

Directions: there is no direct vehicular access, however easiest access is from the end of High Meadow Road off of Pioneer Trail. Ride up the gated dirt road or climb up the Cold Creek single track to High Meadow where the trail can be found off the dirt road on the South end of the meadow.

 

Cold Creek Trail (South Lake Tahoe):
this trail follows alongside Cold Creek over 1,400 vertical feet for roughly 5 miles. The lower few miles are suitable for beginner to intermediates, and as you get higher up the level of technical riding increases. Amazing rock work on the upper portions make for a super fun downhill ride through aspens, ferns, and past small waterfalls.

Directions: park at the trail head at the end of High Meadow Road off of Pioneer Trail, or park at the water substation just past Sierra House School on Pioneer Trail. This is also very logical continuation of the Powerlines Trail ride (see below).

 

Powerlines Trail (South Lake Tahoe): 
smooth rolling single track takes you from near the Heavenly Ski Resort California Base up and through 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. 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, take a right onto Saddle Road, and park at the dead end. If parking is limited, 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.

 

Christmas Valley Trail (South Lake Tahoe):
a moderately technical ride with rocky terrain that includes a technically demanding climb and decent. To expand on the loop you can link 3 different out and back options to scenic high alpine lakes: Scott’s Lake, Round Lake, and Dardanelles Lake.

Directions: take Highway 89 from Meyers towards Luther Pass, turn right onto Portal Drive, then left on South Upper Truckee Road. Follow to the parking area / trailhead just across the Upper Truckee River. Or, you can start at the Big Meadow Tahoe Rim Trail trailhead off of Highway 89.

 

The Bench, Tahoe Rim Trail (Stateline, NV to Spooner Summit): 
this section of the Tahoe Rim Trail starts high and takes you above the 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. 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 till the very end where you’ll see a large parking area and the Tahoe Rim Trail sign / trailhead. Or, start from the Tahoe Rim Trail trailhead on the south side of Highway 50 at Spooner Summit.

 

Flume Trail (East Shore, NV):

 

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

 

Chimney Beach Trail (Incline Village, NV):

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

 

Tahoe Meadows, Tahoe Rim Trail (Incline Village, NV):

Directions: the Tahoe Rim Trail trailhead is located at Mount Rose Summit parking lot.

 

For a print map of the entire Tahoe area, you can purchase the Lake Tahoe Adventure Map here at the retail store, or at other fine local bike shops.