Biking Lake Tahoe: A Guide to Enjoying Tahoe on Two Wheels
Did you hear the recent news? South Lake Tahoe is the start of the first U.S. Bicycle Route in California. The news was announced in early September, and we couldn’t be more excited! It certainly got us thinking about biking in Lake Tahoe, and the numerous trails and bike shops in the area that are worth checking out! So, we put together this quick guide to help you plan your bike trip in Lake Tahoe.
U.S. Bicycle Route System
First, let’s dive a little deeper into the recent news about the U.S. Bicycle Route designation. The new route, USBR 50, begins in South Lake Tahoe at the Nevada border, goes through Sacramento, and winds up in San Francisco.
Per the recent news coverage, the 200+-mile trek follows the Mormom Emigrant Trail Road, El Dorado Trail, and Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail. USBR 50 features some stunning mountain and waterfront views as you cross the Sierra Nevadas, ride along a restored railroad trestle, and take a ferry across the San Francisco Bay.
Now that USBR 50 was designated in California, the United States Bicycle Route System (USBRS) is just one state away from a coast-to-coast connection! You can view and download the full map to plan your trek. I don’t know about you, but we’re definitely planning our next ride!
Lake Tahoe Bike Trails
Of course, if you’re looking to stay a little closer to the South Lake Tahoe area and looking for some great bike trails, we’ve got you covered there too. Here are a few of our favorites…
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (Saxon Trail #18E13) is a popular spot in the Lake Tahoe area for experienced mountain bike enthusiasts. It’s challenging? and rocky with some steep turns, but oh so satisfying!
Depending on how long you want the ride to be, you can connect with the trail at the Big Meadow parking area on Highway 89 or at the Tahoe Rim Trail marker near Luther pass on the north side of the highway near the beginning of Grass Lake.
Van Sickle Trail
Van Sickle Trail is right behind the Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel, which makes it incredibly convenient and fun for our guests! Van Sickle Bi-State Park is very accessible and the trails are manageable for moderate to experienced riders. You’ll love the amazing mountain and water views!
This trail also ties into the Tahoe Rim Trail for those that want a longer biking experience around the beautiful waters of Lake Tahoe. The Tahoe Rim Trail is a 165+ mile trail that follows around the Lake Tahoe Basin. It crosses six counties, four National Forests, three wilderness areas, two states, and one state park.
Powerline Trail is an intermediate bike trail that runs along the eastern limits of South Lake Tahoe, right through the El Dorado National Forest. Fir and pine forests create a shady riding experience and technical challenges are minimal.
The Flume Trail features breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe’s eastern shore. There’s a reason this trail is often photographed for magazines and other publications! This is a great trail for intermediate riders or beginners looking to step things up. It’s relatively smooth and easy to navigate.
Lake Tahoe Bike Rentals
Whether you’re visiting from near or far, we know it isn’t always convenient or feasible to bring your bike along with you. Thankfully, there are a lot of places to rent a bike in Lake Tahoe.
- Anderson’s Bicycle Rental; 645 Emerald Bay Road, South Lake Tahoe, CA.
- Camp Richardson’s Mountain Sports; 1900 Jameson Beach Road, South Lake Tahoe, CA.
- Tahoe Bike Company; 3131 Harrison Avenue, South Lake Tahoe, CA.
- South Shore Bikes; 871 Emerald Bay Road, South Lake Tahoe, CA.
- Sports Ltd. Rentals; 4000 Lake Tahoe Boulevard #22b, South Lake Tahoe, CA.
Many of these Tahoe bike shops and cycleries also offer bike repairs and important must-have biking accessories, like helmets and bike locks, in case you forgot yours at home.
As avid riders themselves, their employees are also a great resource for finding out more information about Lake Tahoe bike trails.
Other Resources For Cyclists
From experienced mountain bikers to beginners, South Lake Tahoe really is an amazing place to ride. We’re not the only ones who think so either! In fact, if you plan to bike in Lake Tahoe, there’s a whole community of cycling enthusiasts you may want to connect with.
We’ve compiled a few bicycling-focused groups, organizations, and events that you may find interesting!
Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition
The Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition is a volunteer organization focused on promoting cycling, events, and new bicycle infrastructure (like bike paths and bike lanes) in the Lake Tahoe area! They also have a great interactive map designed for Lake Tahoe bikers.
Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association (TAMBA)
The Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association is another non-profit that advocates for bikers and cyclists in the area. They’re dedicated to building and maintaining multi-use trails in Tahoe. Check them out for helpful trail maps for mountain bikers, trail condition updates, and more!
Tahoe Rim Trail Association
The Tahoe Rim Trail Association is a community of volunteers and members committed to preserving the Tahoe Rim Trail, along with 30 miles of side and connector trails. They’re a great resource for biking trail maps and trail conditions.
They also have a variety of great cycling itineraries that will take you past waterfalls, wildflowers, peaks, and valleys for the whole Tahoe experience.
Tour de Tahoe
Looking for a fun, competitive ride? Look no further than the annual 72-mile Tour de Tahoe – Bike Big Blue! This fun bike race starts in South Lake Tahoe and includes an 800-foot climb overlooking Emerald Bay and a 1,000-foot climb to Spooner Junction. It’s one of the most beautiful rides you’ll ever take.
Where to Stay in South Lake Tahoe
Looking for a great place to stay during your Lake Tahoe bike trip? Look no further! Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel is conveniently located with easy access to some of the best bike trails in South Lake Tahoe. Plus, our spacious suite-style rooms provide a great place to relax and rest up after a long ride.
So, what are you waiting for? Come visit us and explore Lake Tahoe in one of the best ways possible — on two wheels!
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