16 Jul 2014
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!