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Mountain Biking at Lake Tahoe

Jul 9th 2014

Woman mountain biking Flume Tahoe

There is nothing quite like the feel of floating downhill. I first found this bliss skiing, and used to spend my off-seasons dreaming of the time when I’d be back on snow.

Until I started mountain biking.

Besides being a great way to stay fit for winter (think building leg strength and improving cardiovascular fitness), you can recreate that feeling of downhill bliss adrenaline that you get skiing and snowboarding. And like those winter sports, there are mountain bike trails for all abilities at Lake Tahoe – gentle family-friendly rides through meadows, cross-country climbs along the Tahoe Rim Trail, and intermediate through expert lift served trails at Northstar California and Kirkwood.

For intermediate riders not looking forward to the uphill climb (I hear you), head to Kirkwood, where among many lift-served descents, you can enjoy Vista Trail, accessed from the top of Caples Crest Lift, aka Chair 2. This intermediate trail provides Instagram worthy views of the surrounding valley before taking you into the Devils Corral where you cruise beneath the immense Cirque.

Northstar California’s new downhill trail, Gypsy, which opened this summer, has been three years in the making. This very flowy trail has a ton of fun and challenging wood features built on it, as seen in the below video. Maybe not ready for that level of riding? Northstar also features beginner and intermediate trails like Easy Rider and Coaster.

Perhaps Lake Tahoe’s most iconic mountain bike trail, the Flume Trail sits on the east shore of Lake Tahoe, in Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park. The trail, ranging between 7000 and 8000 feet in elevation, boasts a unique perspective of the lake and the surrounding mountains, along with panoramas galore. While not a super technical trail, it should be noted that the Flume does have some exposure and crosses a few steep sections. But the views are definitely worth it! The Flume is also open to hikers.

Another well-known trail is Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride/Saxon Creek, located in South Lake Tahoe. This advanced six mile descent includes lots of technical sections at the top – rock gardens, drops and boulders, with banked turns and flow on the lower section. 

For additional information on Lake Tahoe mountain bike trails, check out the Tahoe Mountain Bike Association, which is a local trail advocacy group. The Tahoe Rim Trail maintains the 165 miles of trail (many of which are bike friendly) that surrounds the lake, and is another useful resource.

Posted by Jenn Gleckman 






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