The Tahoe City Cross

The Tahoe City Cross
Tim Hauserman

High above Tahoe City a large white cross can be seen at the top of the ridge. It has been sitting in a level opening with a panoramic view of Tahoe City and Lake Tahoe for over one hundred years. For as long as I can remember, the cross has been a quiet destination for folks to hang out and enjoy the view. While it’s just a short distance from town, it’s an escape from all the hubbub during busy times. How did this wood cross come to be a part of Tahoe City?

Alas, Tahoe City’s cross was not installed to support some noble cause. Nor was it a grand declaration of the faithful beliefs of the residents of Tahoe City. In fact, it came about because a bunch of drinking buddies honored a dare. As I said in the book Tahoe Rim Trail: The official guide for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians:

“William Boyle was an easy going codger with a dry sense of humor who lived in Tahoe City in the early 20th Century. He once asked his drinking buddies to bury him above the town so he could keep an eye on them. True to their word, his friends dragged Boyle up the hill on a sled and buried him above Tahoe City on February 4, 1912. Shortly afterward, the cross was erected at the site.”

Was Boyle simply a well liked chap, or did he buy a round at the local watering hole shortly before his demise? And then of course his buds felt obligated to repay the debt. Whatever the reason, we get the benefit of this unique piece of Tahoe City history.

To reach Boyle’s Cross, hike the Tahoe Rim Trail from the Tahoe City trailhead on Fairway Drive. Climb about a half mile (passing some nice views of Lake Tahoe) to a dirt road. Turn right and follow the dirt road steeply uphill about 100 yards to the cross on your right. It’s a peaceful spot to take a sit, enjoy the view and ponder what a wonderful place we live in. Then when you’ve had your fill, return to the Tahoe Rim Trail and turn right to find miles of trail of awesome lake and river canyon views.