By Tim Hauserman
The East Shore Trail opened between Tunnel Creek Cafe at the outskirts of Incline Village and Sand Harbor State Park at the end of June. The three mile trail for bikers, walkers and runners was a multi year, multi million dollar effort to create a unique pathway along the rocky and narrow shoreline between Highway 28 and Lake Tahoe. To protect the fragile ecosystem it includes a number of bridges, including an 810’ one that is the longest bridge in the Lake Tahoe area. There is also a tunnel under Highway 28, restrooms, bike repair stations and bike racks at key access points to the lake.
A primary goal for the trail was to allow people the opportunity to ride or walk on a paved trail between Incline and Sand Harbor, alleviating the perpetual parking problem at one of Tahoe’s most popular beaches. A series of parking lots along Highway 28 in front of Tunnel Creek provide access to the trail. The entry fee into Sand Harbor is only $2 for pedestrian/bike access.
But I discovered the trail has two other prime benefits: First, it provides stunning vistas on the entire route, and so in this case, it really is about the journey as well as the destination. Second, the trail provides fairly quick and fun access to some great Lake Tahoe beaches, that while still popular may be bit less busy because you have to walk or ride to them.
On my way to my biweekly trip to Carson City to fill up the gas tank and hit up Trader Joe’s, I parked at the Tunnel Creek Station Parking lot. I got there a bit after nine and the lots were almost full…so don’t dilly dally. I walked 1.3 miles from my car to Hidden Beach in about 25 minutes. There is a steady climb at the beginning, followed by a descent to the lake, and all of it a big view fest. I switched into my suit in the restroom and was floating in Tahoe’s luscious water over granite islands before 10 am.
My plan was for a quick swim and then head on my way…but it was so nice i couldn’t resist going back in a second time. The water is crystal clear, finally warm, and if you get there early enough quite peaceful, although I will say, Hidden Beach is no longer Hidden. When I left about 10:45 the crowds were starting to arrive, reminding me once again that when it comes to the fun stuff at Tahoe in the summer: Get there early!