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Though it's only 3 miles long, there was no shortage of excitement when the Tahoe East Shore Trail opened in the summer of 2019. The trail made access to the northeast shore of Lake Tahoe significantly easier and safer. Prior to the trail's construction, beachgoers trying to access Hidden Beach and other beaches on the eastern shore would have to park on the narrow shoulder of State Route 28 and cross two busy lanes. Cyclists had no choice but to ride with vehicular traffic on Route 28, increasing the probability of collisions.
Thanks to a sustained decades-long effort and creative partnership of government agencies at every level, the Tahoe East Shore Trail vision became a reality. Today, beachgoers can park at the north end of the trail, and bike, walk or roll to the beach. But the trail experience itself is worth the trip. The paved pathway, 10 ft wide with center-striping, starts at Incline Village, on the east side of the highway and begins a 150-foot ascent above the lake for about the first mile, giving trail users an unparalleled vantage point from which to view Big Blue.
The trail then ducks under Route 28, emerging on the west side of the highway. The remaining two miles of the trail follow along the lake shore, ending at Sand Harbor State Park, which features one of the most popular beaches on the lake, as well as picturesque rock formations. Along the trail, there are 11 other beach access points. There are also 16 vista points, viewing areas just off the path where users can pause to take in the stunning cobalt blue panoramas. Interpretive panels provide additional context.
The trail is not short on amenities: bike racks, bicycle repair stations, restrooms and benches. There are is one underpass under Route 28 and six bridges over the edge of the shoreline, the longest of which is 810 feet.
At the northern trailhead, in Incline Village near SR 28 and Ponderosa Ranch Road, there are approximately 90 new parking spaces within three lots providing access to the trail. Parking is free for an introductory period after which fees will be levied to support the maintenance of the trail and its amenities.
Cyclists and pedestrians entering Sand Harbor State Park must via the trail must also pay a nominal entry fee.
Sand Harbor State Park is on State Route 28. There is an entry fee for each car.
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