Tahoe City Public Utility District Multi-Use Trail System


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Tahoe City Public Utility District Multi-Use Trail System Facts

States: California
Counties: El Dorado, Placer
Length: 23 miles
Trail end points: Olympic Valley, Tahoe City, and Meeks Bay
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6015322

Tahoe City Public Utility District Multi-Use Trail System Description

The Tahoe City Public Utility District (TCPUD) Multi-Use Trail System meanders along the scenic west shore of Lake Tahoe and weaves through pine and aspen trees along the Truckee River. This 19-mile trail system, previously known as Tahoe Trailways, offers visitors the opportunity to explore Tahoe’s lush landscape in three directions: west to Olympic Valley along the Truckee River and Olympic Valley Trails, north to Dollar Creek along the North Shore and Lakeside Trails, or south to Meeks Bay along the West Shore Trail.

The trail consists of two lanes of paved asphalt and offers amenities throughout, including restrooms, water fountains, and picnic areas—many shaded. Refer to the TrailLink map for the exact locations of restrooms and water stations along the route. The trail is plowed in the wintertime. Trailside signs advise walkers and runners to stay on the left side of the trail and cyclists to use the right side, so be cautious while passing in either direction. There is a speed limit of 15 miles per hour for all users throughout the network.

The trail system’s vortex is 64-Acres Park, at the intersection of CA 89 and CA 28 in downtown Tahoe City. Heading north along the Lakeside Trail, you’ll pass shops, dining, and lodging. The trail passes through the Commons Beach lakefront picnic area, which has restrooms, bike racks, a playground, and a bike repair station, before continuing north along the North Shore Trail. The trail runs parallel to CA 28 and passes through residential areas en route to the northern terminus at Dollar Creek, where visitors can connect to the 2.2-mile Dollar Creek Trail.

Venturing west from 64-Acres Park, you’ll follow the Truckee River Trail 5.5 miles to Olympic Park in Olympic Valley, site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. This path weaves among towering conifers along the corridor of the former Lake Tahoe Railway and Transportation Company, which operated from the early 1900s until 1943.

In the summer, the Truckee River is a popular kayaking, fishing, and rafting destination. 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.

At Olympic Valley Road, the trail connects to the Olympic Valley Trail, which heads 2.1 miles west to the ski resort. If you choose to head south along the West Shore Trail, you’ll be treated to tree-lined trails and dazzling views of Lake Tahoe along the system’s longest branch at nearly 11 miles. The trail mostly hugs the lake, running parallel to CA 89, with some on-road routes through adjacent neighborhoods between 64-Acres Park and Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park. Crossings are well marked with signs and signals to vehicular traffic. As you descend to the southern terminus at Meeks Bay Campground, take time to enjoy the breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding Sierra Nevada.

The path north from Tahoe City and the bike lanes on CA 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 Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway for more information about the open segments in Nevada.

Parking and Trail Access

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. Visit the TrailLink map for all locations, transit options, and detailed directions.

Tahoe City Public Utility District Multi-Use Trail System Reviews

Love it! Beautiful and tranquil

I love this trail! Clean with beautiful scenery. Porta potty throughout the trail. Sound of the River is calming.

great trail, love it

This is a fun and accesible trail for the family, the view at the end is lovely.

Sugar Pine Point SP to Squaw Valley

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.

Great classic bike trail!

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.


West Shore, Best Shore

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.

Very pretty

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.

Fun Trail

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

Great short term stopover

"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."

Nice Ride

"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."

Great but crowded sometimes

This is a wonderful trail. It often runs right along the river bed. It can get crowded on summer weekends though.

Just plain beautiful

"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."

Best skating ever

"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!

Ron Grandia"

Beautiful trail

"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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