The 10 Best Bike Rides in Tahoe

Photo: Bike Tahoe

There are a lot of opportunities for a great bike ride in Northern California, but the best area for every type of ride may be in Tahoe. From the relaxing family rides to the hardcore mountain biking courses, there’s no shortage of opportunities for peddlers in the area.

With the many opportunities for a bike ride in the region, Bike Tahoe has compiled a list of Tahoe’s Top 10 Bike Rides:

South Tahoe Beach Cruise – Low Difficulty

Photo: Bike Tahoe

Distance: 11.7 miles in one direction.
Elevation gain: 223 ft.
Tread: Paved bike path
Feature: Six most popular beaches along the way.
Web page: https://biketahoe.org/rides/south-tahoe-beach-cruise-ride-details

As the name implies, this ride connects South Tahoe’s beaches — some of the best in the entire region along a network of bike paths (South Tahoe Bikeway) and neighborhood roadways. Starting from Stateline, the beaches include: Lakeside Beach and Marina, Ski Run Beach and Marina, El Dorado Beach, East Cove, Pope, Camp Richardson Resort, Valhalla Historic Site, and Baldwin beach. 

Powerline Trail – Low Difficulty

Photo: Bike Tahoe

Distance: 6.34 mi
Elevation gain: 771 ft.
Tread: Native surface singletrack
Feature: Great intro to mountain biking
Web page: https://biketahoe.org/rides/power-line-loop-details/

A popular XC single track ride offers accessibility and fun for a variety of riding skill levels. This is a good first recreational ride to acclimate to the altitude and test the trails without technical challenges.

Corral Loop – Moderate Difficulty

Distance: 4.87 mi
Elevation gain: 755 ft.
Tread: Paved climb with native surface singletrack descent
Feature: Berms, jumps and log rides
Web page: https://biketahoe.org/rides/corral-loop-ride-details/

Corral has been transformed the last couple of years through the collaborative efforts of the US Forest Service and Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association (TAMBA), a local bicycle advocate trail organization. Together they have built features that include table top jumps, log rides, and berms for a freeriding style of riding. This is the most popular ride for downhill and freeride riders because of the features. Rider speeds can be fast. It connects with Powerline Road, a double track road where you turn left and return to the parking area .85 miles.

Star Lake Loop – High Difficulty

Photo: Bike Tahoe

Distance: 21 mi
Elevation gain: 3,556 ft.
Tread: native surface singletrack
Feature: Strenuous, technical, majestic mountain views
Web page: https://biketahoe.org/rides/star-lake-loop-ride-details/

This is an epic ride needing technical know-how, self-reliance, stamina and a buddy. This ride includes steep climbs, deep sandy narrow sections, rock steps and high altitude. Distance and stamina needed for this endurance ride.

The Bench – High Difficulty

Photo: Bike Tahoe

Distance: 13 mi
Elevation gain: 1,739 ft.
Tread: Native surface singletrack
Feature: From Kingsbury – strenuous, technical spectacular lake view
Web page: https://biketahoe.org/the-bench-out-back-ride-details/

A TRT single track with technical sections having sizable rocks that may require walking over, and fun sections with smooth surface, a pigmy forest, and when you get near the summit loose shale rocks. Follow the posted trail signs. This is one of the most beautiful vistas that allow you to see the entire Lake – from Freel Peak (the Lake’s highest at 10,881’) to the south, and Granite Chief at Squaw Valley to the North.

Clear Creek – Moderate Difficulty

Photo: Bike Tahoe

Distance: 27 mi
Elevation gain: 3,000 ft.
Tread: Native surface singletrack
Feature: Launch from the desert floor and ascend to Alpine Forest
Web page: https://biketahoe.org/rides/clear-creek-out-back-ride-details/

A fun single track starting in the Nevada desert on sand with short winding curves among sagebrush and gradually climbing through sandy sections and up into the Alpine forests on smooth soil.

Flume Trail – Moderate Difficulty

Distance: 20.62 mi
Elevation gain: 2,067 ft.
Tread: Native surface double and singletrack
Feature: From Spooner Lake – World-famous views – caution needed
Web page: https://biketahoe.org/rides/flume-trail-out-back-ride-details/

This ride has been voted one of the Top Ten Mountain Bike Rides in the U.S. The vistas are unparalleled and you will see them from different perspectives as this is an Out and Back ride. 

Painted Rock – Moderate Difficulty

Photo: Bike Tahoe

Distance: 13.3 mi
Elevation gain: 1,486 ft.
Tread: Native surface singletrack
Feature: From Tahoe XC Center
Web page: https://biketahoe.org/rides/painted-rock-ride-details/

The ride begins and ends at Tahoe XC Center – an excellent mountain biking area for the entire family and riders of all ages and skill levels. There are several Green and Blue trail choices. This ride is headed to Painted Rock – a great lookout where to the west you see Squaw Valley’s Headwall and to the north the Truckee area.

Historic Truckee River Trail – Low Difficulty

Photo: Bike Tahoe

Distance: 5 mi
Elevation gain: 184 ft.
Tread: Paved bike path
Feature: Ride from Tahoe City to Squaw Valley along the Truckee River
Web page: https://biketahoe.org/rides/historic-truckee-river-cruise-ride-details/

This is a great ride for the entire family – its level, relaxing and beautiful. You cruise alongside the Truckee River to the entrance of Squaw Valley. Along the way are several places to turn out to absorb the natural beauty of the river’s eco-system.

Truckee River Legacy Trail – Low Difficulty

Photo: Truckee Chamber

Distance: 4.67 mi
Elevation gain: 207 ft.
Tread: Paved bike path
Feature: Ride along the Truckee River
Web page: https://biketahoe.org/rides/truckee-river-legancy-ride-details/

The Legacy Trail is a 6-mile paved Class I bike path starting at the Truckee River Regional Park (or on the east end of the path, at Glenshire Road, just before entering the Glenshire neighborhood sign). This beautiful path winds along the Truckee River with a bridge over Martis Creek and is a popular trail for bikers, runners, dog walkers and families.

Enjoy your Tahoe bike ride!

Active NorCal

Northern California's Outdoor Digital Newsmagazine

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