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 (  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!


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

Have you spent a fun week in Tahoe rafting, mountain biking and hanging out on the beach and are now itching to get on your road bike? Drive 25 miles north of Truckee to the Sierra Valley, one of the best places to road bike in these parts. If it’s the flats that you want you can pedal through bird sanctuary’s and ranch country on lightly used country roads. It will be no surprise that the popular metric century ride based in Sierraville every June is called the Tour De Manure. You could also get in some climbing by riding over the forested Yuba Pass and then down the gently winding descent to Bassets, where you can climb again up the Gold Lake highway past the astoundingly awesome Sierra Buttes and a series of charming little lakes. Or how about heading up the steep pull out of Portola to Lake Davis, or through a narrow canyon of lofty volcanic crags to Frenchman’s Reservoir? It’s all good riding any time, but if you have to pick a day, go Friday.

Last Friday I joined a Tahoe-Truckee based road biking group in the Sierra Valley. The Sierra Valley Farmers Market, is held at Gary Romano’s Farm every summer Friday between 10:30 and 2 pm, just a mile south of Beckworth. Our group parked near the market at 9 am, then rode 40 miles over the two hefty climbs up Gold Mountain and to Davis Lake. We arrived back at the market at 12:30, famished and tired. We found delicious peaches, succulent multi-colored peppers, tomatoes that melt in your mouth, and the always refreshing Tahoe Teas. Unfortunately, what we didn’t find were any of the sumptuous sandwiches prepared by a local bakery that I’d been dreaming about for the last ten miles of the ride, because those puppies were all sold out by the time we showed up. So ride harder or shorter if you do not want this calamity to happen to you.

Once you’ve fallen in love with the good riding to be had in the Sierra Valley, you can come back for much more by signing up for the Sierra Valley Gran Fondo to be held on September 21st. There are four different ride lengths from 33 miles to 160 miles. For information or to register go to