It's the Most Wonderful Time to Ride

Stumpy Trail

While riding the Tahoe XC trails today I was reminded that the next six weeks are perhaps the most wonderful time to be riding the trails. The thunderstorms have wet down the dust creating brown pow, the trails are quieter during this time as families go back to the routine of school, mosquitos apparently are also going back to school because they are disappearing, and the temperatures between now and the end of September are smack dab in the middle of the Goldilocks zone–not too hot, not too cold.

The Tahoe XC/Burton Creek network of trails is huge, and provides a tremendous variety of trail experiences from perfect for beginners, to pretty dang challenging. The trail network includes old dirt roads, wide single track, and several trails specifically designed for biking. You will roll through thick forests, pass mules ear meadows, and climb up to excellent views of Lake Tahoe.

On the easy side, you can take a loop around what is Yellow and Green in the winter and enjoy a first time mountain biking experience. In the moderate range, you can take on the Orange, Red, Purple and Blue Trails (or a reasonable facsimile of them).

To step it up a bit you can ride the two fun flow trails off the Bronze and Gold Trails: Ocelot and Stumpy Super G. Built by the expert volunteer trail builders at the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association, these trails are designed to be fun on the way up or headed back down.

From there, you can go further and harder by taking on challenging portions of the Tahoe Rim Trail all the way up to Mt. Watson and Watson Lake. For the true experts, head out to Big Chief Trail. It has some double black diamond sections (at least that is what I’ve heard, I’m too chicken to ride it).

Maps are available at the Tahoe XC lodge as well as at some trail junctions, and you can also do a bit of research online to find out about some of the popular trails. Or just go out there and explore and see where you end up. You can certainly ride for days and find different loops each day.

Peek Lakeview

Rent a Bike at Tahoe XC

If you don’t have your own bike, or you have friends that don’t, Tahoe XC is the perfect place to rent a bike. They have a nice fleet of bikes in a variety of sizes and styles. The lodge is often quiet so you can quickly pick up a few snacks and get right on the trails. Most importantly, nowhere else in North Tahoe sits right at the edge of this amazing trail network. Why ride a mountain bike for miles on a paved bike trail to get to the dirt when the dirt is right out the door? I’ve always been surprised that Tahoe XC’s rental fleet isn’t busier. Apparently, it is a secret gem.

Bike Laid on Dank Trail