Tahoe Rim Trail’s 20th Anniversary

Tahoe Rim Trail 20th Anniversary
Tim Hauserman

Twenty years ago this summer the Tahoe Rim Trail opened as a complete 165 mile loop around Lake Tahoe. At that same time I was finishing the final edits for the first edition of “Tahoe Rim Trail: A complete guide for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians.” While the beauty of Lake Tahoe is pretty much the same, the trail and its use has changed dramatically over those twenty years.

At the time the trail was finished and the book was published, the TRT was a lightly used, hidden gem. I was on the board of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association at the time and a primary goal was to market this amazing trail that had just been completed.  I hiked the entire trail in segments and completed it in 1999. Some of the sections hadn’t been built and us early hikers were following a vague outline of what the trail would eventually end up to be. My Tahoe Rim Trail certificate says I was member #11 of the TRT 150 Mile Club. The trail got longer, it is now the 165 mile club, and is closer to 170 miles.

In 2007, I thru-hiked the TRT for the first time. In my 13 days on the trail, I saw a total of three TRT thru-hikers going the opposite direction. In the middle of July, I camped at the Marlette Peak Campground on the trail and was the only one there. Twelve years later in the “slow season” of the fall I camped at the same campground, and every site was taken. There were at least a half dozen thru-hikers. Recently I counted nearly 100 people heading out onto the trail on Brockway Summit in just one two hour period.

In other words, the TRT has been discovered. The amount of use on the trail is probably ten times what it was ten years ago.  The Tahoe Rim Trail Association focus several years ago changed from promoting the trail, to stewarding and maintaining it for future generations. The 4th edition of my TRT guidebook published in 2020 still talks about how wonderful a trail this is, but it focuses more than ever on steps we can all take to keep this trail in as good a shape as it can be. Get out there and enjoy the Tahoe Rim Trail, but be sure and Leave No Trace while you are out there.