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Tahoe Life

The great outdoors are literally right out your backdoor. Tahoe’s hiking gem, the Tahoe Rim Trail, has many access points throughout the area, making it ideal for a day hike, through hike, or bike ride, long or short!

The trail dates back to at least 1860, when parts of it were traveled by the Pony Express from Missouri headed to Sacramento, who crossed the trail at Kingsbury Grade and Echo Summit. Over the years, as modern conservationists began to fight to protect nature, parts of the area were designated as protected areas. In 1899, the Lake Tahoe Forest Reserve was established, followed by the establishment of the Desolution Wilderness in 1931, and later the Spooner Lake section of Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park in 1969, to name a few. All of these areas are a part of what would later become the Tahoe Rim Trail.

In 1981, the trail’s founder, Glen Hampton, dreamed of a 150 mile loop following the ridges surrounding the lake. Ground was broken on the trail in 1984, which, incredibly, wasn’t completed until 2001. It took 17 years and over 200,000 volunteer hours to complete the project. Today’s trail weaves through lush forest, past trickling creaks and rushing streams, and offers spectacular views to hikers. It is well-maintained and well-marked, making it a great way for visitors and residents to access nature.

Here are some ideas for easy access points to the Tahoe Rim Trail:

  • West Shore: A trailhead and hike off of Ward Creek Road takes hikers up into the mountains, past the beautiful Ward Creek, meeting up with the Tahoe Rim Trail, which ascends towards Barker Pass and the Pacific Crest Trail.
  • King’s Beach: A well-marked pullout off of Highway 267 lets hikers access the segment of the trail from Brockway Summit to Mount Rose Summit. This is quite a long hike, but features incredible views across the lake. However, just a short 2-mile round-trip walk at the beginning of the longer hike features to a well-marked vista perfect for a quick photo op. This is a great, easy hike for visitors with only a couple hours to spare. Pack a lunch and have a picnic at the top, where a great photo-op awaits.
  • For other hiking ideas, the Tahoe Rim Trail Association maintains a great website, with a list of suggested segments of the trail great for longer hikes.

If you are planning a longer hike, several great local bookstores offer maps and information about Tahoe’s wonderful trails. Consider reading The Tahoe Rim Trail: The Complete Guide for Hikers, written by Tahoe Local Tim Hauserman.