Places on the Trail: Antone Meadows
Antone Meadows sits in the middle of the outer reaches of Tahoe XC surrounded by the Red and Orange Trails. In the winter, it lies mostly hidden, a patch of open snow covered level terrain seen filtered through the trees as we glide on the Orange trail. But the rest of the year, the meadows hold lots of delights for bikers, hikers, and spring-time skiers.
One highlight of Antone Meadows are the beaver dams and lodges that are found in the meadow. Beavers have been active on the upstream portion of the meadow for as long as I can remember. Take a ride along the meadows northern edge and you can stop to take a gander at the placid pools created by some busy beavers.
Another interesting Antone Meadows view is from the bridge closest to the Orange trail on the old sunny Red trail. Here the blend of the large boulder coated in lichen, and the gentle soft green of the grasses behind make for an idyllic scene.
A third spot of interest is the lowest point in the meadow. Here a small dam creates a pond. The dam was built many years ago to supply water to the Tahoe City Golf Course, a water system that is still operational. Once when visiting this pond in the fall I discovered a small pool that was just a few square yards wide and a few inches deep that was completely cut off from the rest of the pond, but was loaded with fish. I tossed as many as I could into the pond hoping that they would survive.
Depending upon the year and snow conditions, Antone Meadows can be a skate skiing delight as well. After many weeks without snow and a nighttime freezing and thawing cycle the snow surface in the late spring will get firm and make for excellent skating conditions. It’s quite a blast to ski all around the meadow and even up to the Red/Gold intersection. Be careful to avoid soft spots and water.
Located just a few miles from Lake Tahoe, Antone Meadows is an important part of the history of Tahoe City. Access to the area was via the dirt road that is now the Purple Trail coming up from the Tamarack Lodge. Antone Rossi moved to the area in the 1880s and ran dairy cows in the meadows that would later assume his name. The Rossi family also owned land all the way down to the lake in Lake Forest near where the high water “island” sits on what is now the park at the end of Bristlecone. They lived in a house originally owned by Captain Burton (the namesake for Burton Creek and Park).
For more fun reads about Tahoe history, check out this article in Moonshine Ink. It tells the great stories relayed to me by Mazie Carnell recalling her childhood summers in Tahoe during the 1930s.