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The Tahoe City Public Utility District Multi-Use Trail System meanders along the west shore of Lake Tahoe in California. From a hub in Tahoe City's 64-Acres Park, the system branches out with three paved legs, reaching Dollar Point in the northeast, Olympic (Squaw) Valley in the northwest and Sugar Pine Point State Park in the south. The trails link residential, recreation and business areas, offering scenic views of Lake Tahoe and the Truckee River.
The segment from Tahoe City to Dollar Point is the most urban, passing downtown shops and places to stay. Here a newer component of the system winds closer to the lake, providing a more scenic alternative to the existing State Route 28 alignment. The short waterfront promenade, which is also known as the Lakeside Trail, features several overlooks, plazas and picnic areas. North of Tahoe City, residential and vacation developments line the trail, with names like Star Harbor and Rocky Ridge. The trail ends at the entrance to the Dollar Point community, which juts out prominently into Lake Tahoe.
Head west from Tahoe City instead to reach Olympic Valley and the base of the Squaw Valley Ski Resort, home to the 1960 Winter Olympics. For the first few miles, you are treated to dazzling scenery of the Truckee River on your left and evergreen trees on your right. Parts of this beautiful route, also known as the Truckee River Bike Trail, were built on a former railroad corridor, and facilities for many recreational activities, such as fishing, picnicking and river rafting, can be found along or near the path.
In the summer, both the trail and river are filled with people enjoying the outdoors. The river is slow-moving during this time of year and floating down it is a popular pastime for folks of all ages. There are several places along the trail where people can stop to fish for trout. In the springtime, the river moves quickly and the rapids swell. There aren’t as many tourists here at this time, which gives the rail-trail a calmer, more tranquil feel.
The trail turns west at Squaw Valley Road, but cyclists can continue many miles north via bike lanes on SR 89. The path north from Tahoe City and the bike lanes on SR 89 are both components of the Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway, which when complete will follow the entire route of the Truckee River from Lake Tahoe to Pyramid Lake in Nevada. Refer to the TrailLink page for the Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway for more information about the open segments in Nevada.
Back in Tahoe City, a trail bridge over the Truckee River in 64-Acres Park links the segment to Olympic Valley with the long southern leg of the Tahoe Trailways Bike Path. The trailhead park is not only the hub of this system: hikers and mountain bikers can also pick up the impressive Tahoe Rim Trail to traverse 165 miles along the ridges encircling Lake Tahoe.
Take the paved path south along SR 89 from Tahoe City to reach Sugar Pine Point State Park. Portions of this stretch hug the Lake Tahoe shoreline, offering magnificent views of the glistening water and recreational boat traffic. Just north of Tahoe Pines, the Kaspian Day Use Area allows swimming, so you'll want to bring your bathing suit in the summer.
There are a couple of gaps in the trail immediately north and south of Homewood Mountain Resort, but these can be bridged via on-road routes. In April 2016, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for a new 1-mile segment of the trail, which will close the northern gap between the Homewood Mountain Resort and Cherry Street; its construction is expected to be completed this fall.
At the trail's south end, you'll find yourself in sprawling Sugar Pine Point State Park. The park preserves dense forests of fir, aspen, juniper and pine, while also permitting hiking, swimming, camping and fishing.
Restrooms and water stations are located along the route. View the TrailLink map for the exact locations.
You can access the Tahoe Trailways Bike Path from numerous locations throughout the west shore of Lake Tahoe. Perhaps the best place to begin your trek in any direction is 64-Acres Park in Tahoe City (165 W. Lake Boulevard).
The Tahoe Truckee Area Regional Transportation (TART) provides public transit access to the trail. Visit the TART website to plan your trip.
For those driving, parking is available at a number of locations along the trail. View the TrailLink map for all options and detailed directions.
I love this trail! Clean with beautiful scenery. Porta potty throughout the trail. Sound of the River is calming.
This is a fun and accesible trail for the family, the view at the end is lovely.
Very nice ride with the exception of what I call the "Homewood Death Strip". Basically a construction project that has gone on for years, has no known end point and is dangerous to navigate. Most the trail along the lake is older bike trail, so don't expect it to be up to more modern engineering standards, but is very scenic. The trail west from Tahoe City to Squaw Valley was wonderful and modern, too bad it does not go all the way to Truckee. To do that you have to venture out on the highway with the concurrent noise and bad driving habits. Best time to go is a week after Labor Day, no crowds, very relaxing. Would give it 5 stars if it were not marred by the Homewood stretch. Town needs to get its act together.
This is a great bike ride we try to do every year. Easy enough for the whole family. The paving is seeing some wear and it can get crowded during the busy season. Another great one is the brand new Truckee River Legacy Trail that can be accessed from downtown Truckee. Is is less crowded and is away from all roads as it follows the River down to the Glenshire subdivision.
If you are on foot from Tahoe City to Sugar Pine Point, the lake is always in view, up close and personal. Fantasize on which lakeside house or estate you'd like to own. My favorite is a small see-through A frame with loft, my dream of a convenient, low-maintenance Tahoe getaway. Spend some time walking the cross-country ski trail in summer at Sugar Pine Point. It meanders through the Ehrman Mansion property and ends at the entrance to Meeks Bay on a secluded rocky beach with a magnificent view of the peaks and points all the way to the South Shore.
In good condition with fine views of the river, grade is constant climb north to south, good ducks on the river
The trail up the western side of the lake really begins at Sugar Pine Point. It's a California State Park, day use costs $10. From there, head north on a paved MPU. Except for about a 1 mile stretch through the little town of Homewood you are on either a paved MPU or a paved street through a quiet residential area. The scenery is beautiful, the terrain is mostly level to smaller hills with one steep hill in a residential area that has everyone breathing like a freight train! Lots of families out biking along this pathway that eventually comes out along the Truckee river in Tahoe City. Right where the trail meets the Truckee river is the Bridgetender Resturant, which is a great place to pick up lunch. The dam which lets water out of Lake Tahoe and into the Truckee is just across the Rump Bridge and the bike path goes right past it. From Tahoe City, you can meander around this nice little town or you can take off and head for Squaw Valley. Along this MPU from Sugar Pine Point to Tahoe City, there is stretch that runs right alongside the lakeshore. There are faucets to refill water bottles with, and clean, well maintained restrooms as well. Round trip from Sugar Pine Point to Tahoe City and back is about 20 miles.
An active scenic trail, except for a few short steep grades, it is surprising easy grade. Trail surface has some rough cracks, some marked with paint. Parking in Tahoe City or at Squaw Valley Rd. Noel Keller,11 Jul 2010
"What a great surprise! Saw trail along the River while driving from Truckee thru South Shore on way back to Oklahoma on Saturday of Labor Day weekend. Stopped in Tahoe City near the Dam Cafe, rode the 9 miles to Tahoma for lunch at Angela's Pizzeria, returned and made round trip down to Squaw and back. Got in a very easy 30 miles. Saw two recumbents and a regular bike and not many other trail users that day. WAS windy and cool along west shore, however. Got wonderful soup to go at the ""Dam"" and hit road again."
"I rode this trail while visiting Tahoe City on July 22. Although it was a Thursday, the trail was quite crowded. But it was a nice ride along the river and made for a good out and back.
The positives were that the views were beautiful, the river was scenic, and the trailhead connected to three other trails that radiated out from the trailhead. The negatives were that the trail was busy, and the river had an obscene number of rafters on it. This made me wonder if there were any regulations addressing the number of rafts on the river at one time. All-in-all, though, it was a very pleasant bike ride."
This is a wonderful trail. It often runs right along the river bed. It can get crowded on summer weekends though.
"I ran this trail on June 6, 2003. This is a beautiful area, with the Truckee River never out of view, and usually just four or five steps away. Get thirsty? Just reach down and throw some snow melt into your mouth. The bed is over 100 years old.
The trail is a flat run. It is narrow, only about 5 ft. across. I encountered in-liners, bikes, walkers, runners and a few wet dogs who had been swimming in the water.
This trail links into a trail that heads south around Lake Tahoe for about twenty miles of trail (not a rail-trail) to Meeks Bay."
"There is too much to tell, and not enough time/space in which to tell it, but here goes . . .
This trail is phenomenal! There's lots of great asphalt with relatively few dangerous spots for even the beginners (provided they are reasonably good at braking.)
Starting at Tahoe City and heading DOWN river is a blast. Not too steep, but enough to make it fun. Some might be tempted to start at Squaw Valley and do the uphill leg first. This isn't a bad idea although I've never tried it.
There are a few hazards to contend with, particularly the parking lot at River Ranch and a few road crossings. Some knucklehead making a left off of 89 into River Ranch nearly took me out the first day.
There are a lot of folks on vacation that are not familiar with trail etiquette, so be on the lookout for unleashed dogs and kids needing naps. Some kind soul had recently marked some tricky bumps with spray paint. (THANK YOU whoever you are!)
If you choose to start at Tahoe City there is ample parking at the head of the trail. If you are feeling frisky, you can cross 89 at Squaw and venture into the Valley itself. The trail is a little hard to find, but it's up the road on the left.
Here is a great idea: Take your swim trunks, skate all the way into Squaw, take the tram up to the top and SWIM up there for a few hours (they provide towels). There is a nice restaurant, too. Come back down, ready for the steady climb back up to Tahoe City.
Go GET it!
"This trail actually runs all the way from the West shore of Lake Tahoe in Tahoma to the North shore of Lake Tahoe with the third leg down to Squaw Valley that can be safely continued down to Truckee on a 12 foot wide shoulder/bike lane and then thru Truckee along Donner Lake to the Donner Pass, a beautiful and challenging climb with stunning views. The downhiil on the westside all the way to Cisco Grove is a real joy with little traffic."
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