Tahoe Rim Trail in the fall

P1030551By Tim Hauserman

This is the time of year when people ask how my summer was? WAS?! I’m just starting to get used to it being summer and you think it’s already over? Sure those poor suckers, ummm, I mean our beautiful children, had to go back to school. But guess what, once the crowds disappear, the Tahoe Rim Trail is still there, only with fewer people. In fact some of the best hiking and biking is in the fall. Here’s your primer:

Hit the lakes first.

Hike into those glorious bits of wetness in the Desolation Wilderness or Star Lake ASAP while they are still warm. Desolation especially is meeting it’s prime, the crowds are gone, the swimming, while getting a bit brisk, is still glorious, and the trees and bushes will just start to show a hint of color but…

Save the leaves for later

Fall colors, which start getting exciting in late September, can be found in a number of spots on the Tahoe Rim Trail. One favorite is the area between Spooner Summit and Marlette Lake. A great loop is to head up the TRT to Snow Valley Peak, then follow the old dirt road to Marlette Lake, and then hike through the aspens along the Marlette Lake Trail back to Spooner. The Ophir Creek Trail off of the Tahoe Rim Trail in Tahoe Meadows, and Page Meadows, just outside of Tahoe City, are other spots to catch the turning of the aspens.

Mountain biking? Wait for the rain.

Just after that first fall drenching the powder days begin for mountain bikers. Start at the Tahoe Cross-Country Ski Area trailhead, and find your way to the Tahoe Rim Trail and/or Watson Peak. Or ride around Page Meadows and enjoy the special pleasure of returning to the trailhead with a bike that isn’t covered in dust.

Need more information? Pick up a copy of the official guide to the Tahoe Rim Trail at a host of local booksellers, including Alpenglow in Tahoe City and the Bookshelf in Truckee.

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