The Incline Flume Trail
By Tim Hauserman
You won’t find a sign for it, or see it prominently displayed on most maps, but the Incline Flume Trail is a beautiful place for a hike, especially in the fall when the groves of aspens turn to flaming yellow. The hike is an easy one, but provides beautiful views of Tahoe and a series of small streams you cross that are still holding water even during this dry fall. Want to bring along your dog? This is a great trail to do so because of the plentiful supply of water.
The Incline Flume Trail begins on Highway 431 (the Mt. Rose Highway). Head up 431 from Incline. When you pass that jaw dropping Lake Tahoe viewpoint on the big turn, keep your eyes peeled for a small dirt parking area on your right, which is just a few hundred yards further. There are only a few spaces, so you might have to park across the highway where you will find amble parking.
The trail begins at the east end of the dirt pull out. It traverses along the slope, through an open forest of firs and western white pines, and an occasional grove of aspens. After walking for about 15 minutes, you reach a junction. Take the middle fork to continue on a nearly level traverse along the now west facing slope. The right fork heads downhill steeply to the Tyrolean Village development and the lodge at Diamond Peak Ski Area. The left fork heads uphill towards Tahoe Meadows. On the main route, you pass a number of interesting granite outcroppings as you take your gentle walk through the open terrain of scattered trees and ground mat manzanita. You pass a number of sparkling streams at the head of gullies as you slowly work your way along on sandy soils. Keep your eyes peeled for evidence of what was once a water flume: Wood pieces, perhaps a few old rusty nails, pieces of piping, and open trenches that have been filled in with rocks. Eventually, you reach the first of several Diamond Peak Ski Runs and a chairlift. At the last run, you could walk down the maintenance road to the the bottom of the ski area itself, but I prefer retracing my steps on the easy trail we just walked. Enjoy!