The Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) is a 165-mile trail that meanders along the ridgeline of Lake Tahoe’s many peaks. This spectacular array of trails opened last year, the culmination of two decades of path finding and fundraising. The TRT offers beautiful vistas of the lake and readily accessible to the casual or serious hiker. It is usually passable by mid June depending upon the snowfall. The trail areas are ablaze with wildflowers in mid-July. Parking at the trailheads can be limited at times. For more information please contact the Tahoe Rim Trail Association, 775.588.0686.
TAHOE MEADOWS (8,740 feet) TO SPOONER SUMMIT (7,150 feet) – 21.8 miles.
The trail winds around the granite peaks of the Carson Range, climbs to Tunnel Creek Road, and then rolls up and down to Snow Valley Peak. From Snow Valley to Spooner is a gentle 5.5-mile descent. Reservoirs and flumes once used by miners hark back to the Comstock era.
SPOONER SUMMIT (7,150 feet) TO KINSBURY (7,520 feet) – 12.5 miles.
This moderate section crosses the rocky spine of the Carson Range. From Spooner, it is a gradual uphill for five miles before two miles of ridgeline. Then the TRT drops five miles to Kingsbury. Fire roads lead to 9,150-foot Genoa Peak. At the end of the trail, a 3.5-mile residential road connects to this section of the Kingsbury Trailhead.
KINGSBURY (7,520 feet) TO BIG MEADOW (7,300 feet) – 22.8 miles.
A tough 8.5-mile uphill, across Monument Pass, leads to Star Lake and the foot of three of the highest peaks in the Tahoe Basin – Freel Peak, Jobs Sister, and Jobs Peak. Another two-mile climb brings you to 10,080-foot Freel Saddle. From there, it’s down to Armstrong, back up, then down seven miles to the trailhead.
BIG MEADOW (7,300 feet) to ECHO LAKE (7,414 feet) – 17.8 miles.
A five-mile climb takes you quickly past Big Meadow and then on to Meiss Meadow, where the TRT joins the rugged Pacific Crest Trail. The TRT/PCT climbs six miles to the ridge, then a steep two-mile downhill leads you to Benwood Meadow. Round Lake is 2.5 miles before the trailhead junction, and Showers Lake two miles after the junction. No bikes are allowed on the PCT: The Echo Summit to Echo Lake trail links the two trailheads and includes a dangerous Highway 50 crossing.
ECHO LAKE (7,414 feet) TO BARKER PASS (7,650 feet) – 31.7 miles.
Portions of this tough section are in the granitic Desolation Wilderness. The first five miles of the trail are well used. The rest: granite rocks, granite boulders, and granite sand. Six miles past Echo Lake is Lake Aloha – with granite boulder islands. Dicks Pass, 13 miles from Echo lake, is the highest pass in Desolation (at 9,210 feet) and offers views of the alpine landscapes. Permits are required in Desolation. No bikes.
BARKER PASS (7,650 feet) to TAHOE CITY (6,240 feet) – 17 miles.
The first five miles follow the ridge to Twin Peaks, where the TRT leaves the PCT. The trail heads down several miles to Ward Creek Road, then climbs to Page Meadows, before a gradual one-mile descent to Tahoe City. The TRT’s only waterfall, an eight –foot cascade, is in Ward Canyon.
TAHOE CITY (6,300 feet) to BROCKWAY (7,000 feet) – 19 miles.
Rock city. Up, up, up for the first seven miles, then the trail rolls through the forest above the Truckee River canyon to Watson Lake. Lava Cliffs, 10 miles east of Tahoe City, offers views of Lake Tahoe. Watson Lake, 12 miles east of Tahoe City, has wildflowers.
BROCKWAY (7,000 feet) TO TAHOE MEADOWS (8,840 feet) – 18.9 miles.
The trail climbs seven miles to Mount Baldy. After seven more exposed miles, it crosses the TRT’s highest point – Relay Peak (10,338 feet). Then it’s 4.5 miles down to Tahoe Meadows. Older juniper and cedar, ignored by loggers, thrive. A fire road off the trail and up the slopes of Martis Peak has a 180-degree view.
TAHOE MEADOWS INTERPRETIVE TRAIL (8,740 feet) – 1.3 miles.
This loop is flat, wide and made for wheelchair accessibility. The trail wanders through pines and meadows.