By Tim Hauserman
My favorite place to mountain bike in the summer is conveniently also my favorite place to ski in the winter: Tahoe Cross-Country Ski Area in The Highlands, just a few miles from Tahoe City. Here you will find miles and miles of trails providing a wide variety of riding experiences for those who are newcomers to the sport as well as expert riders looking for a challenge. And this year, Tahoe Adventure Company is renting bikes and leading tours from the Tahoe XC lodge.
The biggest challenge to writing about the trails at Tahoe XC (also known as Burton Creek State Park) is that the trails are so extensive and convoluted that it is hard to describe a particular route. Fortunately, through the visionary mind of Kevin Murnane, who was the manager of Tahoe XC, a series of maps have been placed out on the trails at key intersections. Keep your eyes open to help find your way around.
Here are a few of my favorite trail highlights, identified by using their winter trail names:
-Lakeview Trail: Climb to the top and find a beautiful view of Lake Tahoe and a bench to enjoy it from.
-The Whoop de Doo: Following the route of The Great Ski Race this trail connects the Fiberboard Freeway(a paved road through the forest) with the Orange trail. Coming back down is a thrill with some thirty bumps to fly or roll over.
-Tahoe Rim Trail: From where the Whoop de Doo meets the Fiberboard, head uphill for a mile to the Tahoe Rim Trail. A right turn here takes you on a smooth, gentle climb. A left, takes you uphill steeply to Painted Rock and an excellent view of Squaw Valley.
-Antone Meadows: Take the Orange Trail to the Red Trail for a gentle loop around the lush Antone Meadows. Watch for a beaver dam just off the trail.
-Little Bump Trail: Take the Purple trail from it’s intersection of the green and orange trails to a single track off to your left, then enjoy a series of smaller bumps before taking a right turn and heading past lakeviews along Burton Creek.
How to get there: The trailhead is at 925 Country Club Drive,in The Highlands.
Rentals: Tahoe Adventure Company provides bike rentals, snacks and drinks, and keeps the lodge open for the use of the restroom and wifi. For information go to tahoeadventurecompany.com or call 530-913-9212