On Sunday we got to ride a section of the Tahoe Rim Trail that I've been wanting to do for several years now. The trailhead is a longer drive from my house, and the trail is only open to mountain bikers on even days. So as you can imagine, planning to ride this trail around a busy schedule can be tough.
We parked the truck at Spooner Lake State Park, and took the shuttle service to Mount Rose Meadows. The Tahoe Rim Trail crosses here, and there is an excellent trailhead. There is parking, bathrooms, and a beautiful meadow that would make a great day trip for a hiking family. A short ride across the meadow and a creek, and we were into the woods on the TRT.
This section of the TRT is very popular with hikers, but it is an amazing mountain bike trail too. It has a nice rolling feel, and the grade is never too steep. There are fun little challenges everywhere, but there is almost always an easy line around them too. The trail seemed to be a nice single speed trail too. Jeff P. was on his 29er single speed, and he was polite enough to wait for me once in a while. I chose to ride my big fat full suspension bike. I think either bike would be a good choice for this trail.
The trail swaps back and forth on the east and west sides of the Carson Range. You get to enjoy views of both Lake Tahoe on the west side, and Washoe Valley to the east.
We came to the Tunnel Creek intersection, and there were mountain bikers everywhere! Kristy and Amy chose the Flume Trail route to Marlette Lake, while Jeff and I continued on the TRT. Both routes offered unique views and fun singletrack. The TRT made a ascent up to the top of Marlette Peak, which in my opinion, is one of the most spectacular views in the area. I could've stayed at the Marlette Peak overlook for hours, but we had to keep moving.
From Marlette Peak, we dropped back down into the woods, and headed towards Marlette Lake. As we got closer to the lake and streams, the wildflowers became abundant. I couldn't really capture the true beauty with the camera, but I gave it my best shot. I was crawling around in the flowers trying to find a good angle, when Jeff P. cried out, "Hey! Do you want to get a picture of a big snake?!?". Not wanting to miss a wildlife shot, I sprang out of the grass to see this fine specimen, only to find Jeff P. taking a leak on the side of the road. You know...I really should know better by now! I declined on the photo opportunity and went back to the flowers.
We met up with Kristy and Amy on the south side of Marlette Lake. We had a snack and then climbed the final hill to the saddle above North Canyon. From here it was a 4 mile descent on a fire road back to the parking lot. The bike shop at Spooner Lake has some post ride refreshments including Haagen Dazs ice cream bars which Kristy and I both enjoyed while we examined our "tan lines". Upon returning home, we treated ourselves to a dinner of sushi and Pad Thai at one of the Carson Valley restaurants. The end to a spectacular day.
I highly recommend this trail/route. Add it to your list of things to do this summer!
More photos of this ride can be found on our Flickr page.