Posts


By Tim Hauserman

Mountain bike the Burton Creek State Park/Tahoe Cross Country trails for fall colors
Check out the Taylor Creek Kokanee Salmon hiking trail and profile chamber
Hike into Desolation Wilderness, which actually lives up to it’s name in the off-season
Ride through the aspen trees to Marlette Lake, and the Flume Trail
Walk the Rubicon Trail from Emerald Bay
Kayak on a calm day out of Hurricane Bay
Hike the Judah Loop Trail on Donner Summit
Ride the Emigrant Trail to Stampede Reservoir
Catch the fall colors at Sagehen Creek
Ride Sierra Valley checking out the barn quilts and hawks
Take a stroll along the shore of Lake Tahoe in downtown Tahoe City
Catch the fall colors in Page Meadows
Look for bears foraging while hiking in the woods around Tahoe.
Take a cruise on the Tahoe Gal
Head to a beach on a quiet midweek morning and enjoy the quiet
Check out the Donner Memorial Park Visitor Center then take a stroll down to Donner Lake
Ride your road bike from Donner Lake to Cisco Grove and back. Too far? Ride around Donner Lake
Hike north on the Tahoe Rim Trail from Tahoe City to view Lake Tahoe and the Truckee River Canyon
Ride to the top of Blackwood Canyon for a workout and fall colors
Spend a cool morning by a fire

 

 

The Tahoe Rim Trail from Tahoe City

By Tim Hauserman

The Tahoe Rim Trail (https://www.tahoerimtrail.org/)  reaches the lowest elevation point of its 170 mile journey around Lake Tahoe as it passes through the edge of Tahoe City and crosses the Truckee River. Two segments of the trail begin in Tahoe City. The first, starts at the Truckee River rafting access parking lot near the Tahoe City Transit Center, also known as 64 Acres. From there, the TRT heads south through Page Meadows, and past Twin Peaks into the Granite Chief Wilderness. The second, begins across from the Fairway Community Center above the Tahoe City Golf Course on Fairway Drive. It meanders north to the edge of the Truckee River canyon and travels to Watson Lake and a crossing of Highway 267 above Kings Beach on Brockway Summit. In the next posting you will hear about heading north from Tahoe City, but for now, let’s go south.

Tahoe City to Twin Peaks and the PCT

From the 64 Acres Parking lot the trail starts behind a gate. First on paved road, then dirt, you walk near the edge of the Truckee River. After crossing a gravel road you head onto single track trail, and begin a steady climb through a deep forest of fir, sugar pine and cedar. You pass close to the edge of the Tree Top Adventure Park at the edge of Granlibakken Resort (look for adventurers ripping through the air on ziplines), then begin to climb in earnest in a narrow canyon above a small stream. At two miles from the start you reach a junction at a snippet of meadow. Turn right and enjoy a mile of gentle climbing as you roll through twists and turns…great mountain biking terrain…to another junction. On this one you turn left and in short order reach Page Meadows.

Page Meadows includes five interconnected meadows. The TRT passes through one with a stunning view of Twin Peaks to the south, and wildflowers abundant in season. If you want to see the others, leave the TRT at the trail on your left midway through the meadow. The TRT is built on bricks to avoid any early season meadow mud. Past the meadow you begin a mile long descent to Ward Creek Blvd. First, passing an offshoot trail to your right. It leads to a Basque sheepherders oven, and another meadow bordered by aspen trees with a cool running stream for those who need to filter water.

Five miles from the Tahoe City Trailhead the TRT reaches Ward Creek Blvd. (good shuttle location). The trail now follows Ward Creek slowly uphill a mile and a half on an old dirt road, to a bridge crossing of the creek. Then climbing gets steeper as you begin a long ascent to the ridgeline. You pass fields of mid-summer wildflowers, McCloud Falls, and an ever enlarging visage of Twin Peaks.

Eventually, you reach the ridge at just over 5 miles from Ward Creek Blvd., where a junction has you turning right, and another mile of winding uphill brings you to a meeting of Blackwood and Ward Canyons, and a challenging use trail to the top of Twin Peaks. The TRT continues on to the Pacific Crest Trail and the Granite Chief Wilderness. At 6.7 miles from Ward Creek, and 12.7 miles from Tahoe City, you might have had enough, but hang a left and head gently downhill for the expansive canyon views just a hundred yards below the junction. From here, it’s another 4.8 miles through wildflowers, along steep traverses, and past volcanic knobs to Barker Pass. Enjoy!

 

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By Tim Hauserman

It’s officially in between seasons. That time after the first snow, but before ski season kicks into gear.

About a week ago we had the first real snow of the season, waking up to about four inches of the white stuff in Tahoe City, with a bit more up top. A few days later, the temperatures warmed, melting the lower elevation snow and making it a nice time to get out and enjoy what the Sierra has to offer. The problem of course is where: Up high there is still enough remaining snow to put hiking and mountain biking out of the picture, but not enough to ski. The key is to stay low and south facing, where the combination of sun and the still warm ground give us a last bit of beautiful hiking.

On Sunday, I headed out on the Tahoe Rim Trail north from Tahoe City. It’s one of the lowest elevation trails around Tahoe and is located on a south facing slope. The TRT starts out with a series of steep switchbacks climbing quickly to glimpses of Lake Tahoe and downtown Tahoe City. In about 20 minutes you round a bend to take in a full panorama of Tahoe and the Truckee River. This is where it gets really good. Over the next two miles as you walk north you are right at the top of the Truckee River Canyon with frequent views of Tahoe and the Truckee River below. While in November you can hear the cars on Highway 89 far below, mid-summer the road sounds compete with the laughter of the river rafters.

While the lakeviews are spectacular, you also pass a number of huge Sugar pines, incense cedars and junipers dotting the edge of the ridge. Apparently they thrive in the roaring winds that attack this ridge during winter storms. In just an hour of brisk walking you reach an excellent lunch spot where Twin Peaks, the Truckee River and the mountains north of Squaw Valley all come into view from your spot next to ancient junipers.

This section of trail is an awesome way to spend a November day. But don’t dilly dally. Because before we know it, we will be skiing instead of hiking.

By Tim Hauserman

Ah, the fall at Lake Tahoe. This past weekend we had a light dusting of snow on Saturday, followed by the excitement of Ironman on a beautiful blue sky day on Sunday. Now, as I write this it’s one of those beautiful quiet Monday’s where you could sit along the lakeshore and feel like you are in the wilderness.

The lack of summer crowds make the fall a great time for peaceful contemplation of the awesome beauty of our special place. But if you know where to look, there is also a lot going on in October. For example, take the weekend of October 5th and 6th.

Cobblestone Oktoberfest
On October 5th, our Bavarian style shopping center lives up to it’s heritage and becomes home of the Cobblestone Oktoberfest. Between 1 and 4 pm come on down for thirst quenching brats and delicious beers-or is that the other way around? There will be a live band, classic games such as bobbing for apples, and a lively outdoor social event for all underneath the Clocktower.

Fall Fish Festival
Then on October 6th, between 10 and 4 you can be part of what they are now calling the Fall Fish Festival (formerly known as the Kokanee Festival) three miles north of South Lake Tahoe on Highway 89 at Taylor Creek. When the Kokanee spawn in the fall, little Taylor Creek becomes filled to the brim with flashes of bright red fish, desperate to get upstream and pass on their genes. The result is a spectacular natural wonder for us, and lots of delicious salmon for the local bear and raccoon population. The Festival includes a treasure hunt, fish painting, fish mascots and most importantly as far as I am concerned, an ice cream truck. Along the creek, there will be Forest Service biologists giving you the scoop on the spawning process. If instead of the fun of a festival, you would prefer quiet enjoyment of the spawn, you can visit Taylor Creek anytime over the next few weeks and check out the fish. Enjoy.

P1030551By Tim Hauserman

This is the time of year when people ask how my summer was? WAS?! I’m just starting to get used to it being summer and you think it’s already over? Sure those poor suckers, ummm, I mean our beautiful children, had to go back to school. But guess what, once the crowds disappear, the Tahoe Rim Trail is still there, only with fewer people. In fact some of the best hiking and biking is in the fall. Here’s your primer:

Hit the lakes first.

Hike into those glorious bits of wetness in the Desolation Wilderness or Star Lake ASAP while they are still warm. Desolation especially is meeting it’s prime, the crowds are gone, the swimming, while getting a bit brisk, is still glorious, and the trees and bushes will just start to show a hint of color but…

Save the leaves for later

Fall colors, which start getting exciting in late September, can be found in a number of spots on the Tahoe Rim Trail. One favorite is the area between Spooner Summit and Marlette Lake. A great loop is to head up the TRT to Snow Valley Peak, then follow the old dirt road to Marlette Lake, and then hike through the aspens along the Marlette Lake Trail back to Spooner. The Ophir Creek Trail off of the Tahoe Rim Trail in Tahoe Meadows, and Page Meadows, just outside of Tahoe City, are other spots to catch the turning of the aspens.

Mountain biking? Wait for the rain.

Just after that first fall drenching the powder days begin for mountain bikers. Start at the Tahoe Cross-Country Ski Area trailhead, and find your way to the Tahoe Rim Trail and/or Watson Peak. Or ride around Page Meadows and enjoy the special pleasure of returning to the trailhead with a bike that isn’t covered in dust.

Need more information? Pick up a copy of the official guide to the Tahoe Rim Trail at a host of local booksellers, including Alpenglow in Tahoe City and the Bookshelf in Truckee.

By Tim Hauserman

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Ah August, the last hurrah of prime time Tahoe summer. And these days, kids are dragged kicking and screaming back to school well before Labor Day, so you need to take full advantage of the first few weeks of this glorious month. Fortunately, aside from the normal waterskiing, wakeboarding, hiking, biking, kayaking, paddleboarding, beachgoing, and anything else you can come up with, Tahoe City is putting out the welcome mat with a series of captivating events.

Concours d’Elegance. August 9-10th. Get your classic wooden boat fix at one of the best shows in North America. www.laketahoeconcours.com

Shakespeare at Sand Harbor. Watch a hilarious rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, whilst staring out at the lake. Free parking after 5 PM for those attending the show. Through August 25th. www.laketahoeshakespeare.com

Tahoe City’s Farmers Market. A peach just tastes better when you get it fresh from a farmer at a Farmers Market. Eat a peach or whatever else your heart desires at our local Farmers Market every Thursday from 8-1. It’s at the Tahoe Lake School on Grove Street most of August, returning to The Commons Beach from August 29th.

Movies and Music Oh My. Also on The Commons Beach in Tahoe City, you can watch a movie on Wednesday nights or join the throng of locals at a concert on Sunday night.

Tahoe City’s 150th Anniversary. Be there for the August 8th parade along Tahoe City’s Lakeside Trail or the party later that day, or attend a host of events over Labor Day weekend. On September 1st the Judge Vernon Honeymoon Paddle Tour is followed by a town photo and concert on the beach. Locations and details are still being worked out, so for the latest scoop go to www.tahoecity150.com

Lake Tahoe Dance Festival August 14-16th. Live outdoor dance performances at the Gatekeepers Cabin in Tahoe City on Thursday August 15th and Friday, August 16th at 6 pm. The festival organized by the Tahoe City based Tahoe Youth Ballet will also include workshops and classes for students. www.laketahoedancefestival.com

So now then, I don’t want to hear anymore of that “There is nothing to do” coming from the back seat. Get out there and enjoy.

Trails and Vistas 10

The unique art and nature experience known as Trails and Vistas celebrates it’s ten year anniversary on September 7th and 8th atop Donner Summit along the Pacific Crest Trail.

Trails and Vistas combines music, storytelling, dancing and no shortage of whimsy to create a one of a kind experience.

If you haven’t attended a Trails and Vista event you are in for a treat. It’s a slow hike through beautiful natural terrain, with frequent breaks at amazing backdrops, where you watch a dancer perform, a piece of music being played, or marvel at an interesting piece of art. Then you quietly walk on, wondering what interesting and surprising offering you will encounter around the next corner.

Artists this year include Angelika, who sings songs and performs healing chants in ancient Sanskrit and Ian Ethan Case, who plays the double-neck guitar and African Kalimba. Among the host of other dancers and performers, is the Truckee based Inner Rhythms dance group.

The hikes begin every 15 minutes from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 7 and 8. Specialty hikes include family hikes for those with children, meditative hikes for those wanting an especially quiet and spiritual connection (adults only) and leisurely hikes for those who prefer or need a slower pace. Advance purchase is highly recommended (the event has sold out every year). Tickets cost $30 for adults and $10 for children. The art-hike lasts approximately 3 hours.

This year in honor of their 10th Anniversary, Trails and Vistas will also include an evening concert at the Truckee Amphitheatre. Performers include award-winning flutist Ann Licater, double-neck guitarist Ian Ethan Case, the Japanese Drum Group Reno Taiko Tsurunokai, and the forty- piece San Jose State University Symphony Orchestra. Gates open at 5 p.m. and music starts at 6 p.m. on Saturday, September 7. Art hike attendees can take advantage of a 50% discount ($10) for the concert when purchasing art hike and concert tickets together online. For tickets go to trailsandvistas.org.

Or better yet, by reading all the way to the bottom of this blog…you can win two tickets to the 10th Anniversary Concert. Just be one of the first twenty folks to email me at writeonrex@yahoo.comby July 17th saying, ‘I want those tickets’ to enter the contest, and I will randomly select a winner.

By Tim Hauserman

It sneaks up on us Tahoe locals. We are just barely coming to the realization that it is summer when it is Fourth of July, and crowds of folks head to Tahoe to escape the 1000 degree temperatures in the valley…Ok, 100 degrees, but for a mountain boy like me it sure feels like 1000, and a quick dip in our crisp cool lake is just what the doctor ordered.

So what to do over the 4th?

Beach it-Tahoe’s beaches have a wonderful festive air on the 4th of July. The popular state park beaches like Sand Harbor and Bliss while exceptionally beautiful, tend to fill up early and it’s a bummer to drive all the way to one and not be able to park. So find a place closer to your cabin, and enjoy the lake. I can assure you that any beach that is located on the lake, will be looking at the same lake.

Raft it-A few years ago after an excess amount of drunken shenanigans on the Truckee River, the powers that be passed an alcohol ban for rafters around the 4th of July. This year it’s in effect from July 1st to the 7th. Which means take the family, have a beautiful float, save the drinks for later, and enjoy the happy crowd. Perhaps a burger at River Ranch would be just the 4th of July treat you deserve.

Hike it-While some hiking trails, like the Rubicon Trail between Bliss State Park and Emerald Bay, are bound to be crowded on the 4th of July, it’s actually a good day to hike because most folks are doing the BBQ, on the lake, hanging with friends at the cabin thing. I once hiked a 23 mile segment of the Tahoe Rim Trail on the 4th of July and didn’t see anyone until the last few miles. Try the Tahoe Rim Trail from Barker Pass to Twin Peaks, or the Tahoe Rim Trail out of Tahoe City.

Bike it-The bike trail between Tahoe City and Squaw Valley might be slightly zoo like, but mountain biking out of Tahoe City or Burton Creek State Park shouldn’t be too busy. Or just use your bike as your means of transportation and keep one more car off the road.

Firework it- Don’t miss one of our Fireworks Displays. Kings Beach on July 3rd, Tahoe City on July 4th. Get there early, and don’t plan on leaving until well after the show, as it usually takes an hour or more for traffic to clear out. Better yet, walk to the event, and bring your head lamp for a lovely walk back home.