(The pink granite formations on the Five Lakes Trail)
By Tim Hauserman
To downhill skiers and snowboarders around Tahoe, the communities of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows are places you can get on chairlifts and hit the slopes. But to nordic skiers like me, these places are much better in the summer for bike riding and hiking. I’ve got some suggestions on how to enjoy the boundless beauty of these two amazing valleys during the summer and fall. In this post, I will focus on Alpine Meadows. Stay tuned for Squaw Valley which will be presented soon.
Ride a road bike
The Truckee River bike trail starts at Fanny Bridge and follows the river down to the entrance to Alpine Meadows, it’s a pleasant jaunt along the mostly level trail to Alpine. While more water in the river would be nice, it still is a place of birds and beavers and lovely riparian foliage. It can also be a very busy trail, so use your whits, common sense, and etiquette when riding. If you have a group, make sure you are all riding on the right side.
At Alpine Meadows Road, turn left and take the steady climb to the top. Enjoy views of Bear Creek, Ward Peak and the rest of the Tahoe crest. Once you’ve reached the top you can check out the beauty of this amazing place where you ski in the winter. And since many of the homes in the neighborhood are geared for skiers, Alpine stays nice and quiet during the summer.
Ride a mountain bike
From the top of Snowcrest in Alpine Meadows you can follow the trail as it climbs steeply out of the valley. Once you finally reach the top you meet a junction. A right turn takes you via lots more climbing to the top of the Lakeview Chair at Alpine where amazingly lakeviews await. Straight ahead will take you to Ward Canyon, Page Meadows and eventually, Tahoe City. From Tahoe City you can ride the bike trail back to Alpine.
Take a hike
In Alpine Meadows the Five Lakes Trail is quite popular, and with good reason. It’s 2.5 miles of jaw dropping views with a string of lovely lakes at the end-the last one by far the biggest and best for swimming. Or you can continue on past Five Lakes to the Pacific Crest Trail, Whiskey Creek and the more remote sections of the Granite Chief Wilderness.