An iconic rocky, technical and fun decent, this trail gives advanced riders a satisfyingly long 6 mile downhill. Plunging through towering forests and boulders on the upper sections then giving way to fast, banked turns on the lower sections. Bring your longer-travel bike.
By starting at Heavenly’s Stagecoach Lodge off Kingsbury Grade and riding the TRT to Star Lake, over Freel Peak and onward to Toads you can make this a longer ride of nearly 30 miles, typically called the “Punisher” – or for the super endurance riders start at Mount Rose for the 60+ mile “Uber Punisher”.
Read more about the annual TAMBA Rose to Toads ride here: Rose to Toads
The two most popular ways to ride Toads is to either loop it going up Fountain Place, Armstrong, Rim Trail and then down Toads for about a 20 mile loop. Or you can shuttle up to Big Meadow TRT parking area or Grass Lake Luther Pass spur and ride up from there for a shorter 3 mile climb to the top.
Take Pioneer Trail towards Meyers, turn left onto Oneidas Street, after passing a few houses this turns into a paved forest service road called Fountain Place, follow for about 1/4 mile, there is a large dirt parking lot on your right, this is where the bottom of the trail ends. If you park here you can loop it by riding up the paved Forest Service Road to Armstrong trail. The other option is to ride or shuttle up to Highway 89 and meet up with the Big Meadow trail head. Do not try to ride up Mr Toads trail.
Corral Area Trails, Including Sidewinder, Cedar and Armstrong Connector (South Lake Tahoe)
This area has a high density of trails for all ability levels and serves as the unofficial hub of mountain bike activity in the South Shore. Out here you will find the most legal features including log rides, jumps and rock rolls in South Tahoe including the new jumps, berms, rollers and hips TAMBA and SBTS built in 2014. The trails all run parallel to the Fountain Place paved road so they can be shuttled by car. Or with only moderate climbing involved these trails can keep almost anyone interested for hours. You can find everyone out here having fun from people in body armor and downhill bikes to families testing their kids limits to xc racer types riding intervals. These trails link to Armstong Trail, the Rim Trail, Powerline, Railroad Grade, and this is also where Toads ends.
From town, take Pioneer Trail towards Meyers, turn left onto Oneidas Street, after passing a few houses this turns into a paved forest service road, follow for about 1/2 mile and park in dirt parking lot on the left just past the creek crossing.
Star Lake Connector (South Lake Tahoe)
Brand new for 2011, this trail climbs roughly 1,400 vertical feet over 4 miles to connect High Meadow to Star Lake and the TRT. This is a well built trail fun to both climb or descend. Link in with Cold Creek trail if you are descending down from the TRT and Star Lake. For a longer loop, pedal up this trail and continue on to Freel Peak and then down Armstrong, Connector and Corral – OR reverse this loop. Many good options.
There is no direct vehicular access, however easiest access is from High Meadow Road off of Pioneer Trail. Ride up either the gated dirt road or climb up Cold Creek single track to High Meadow, the new trail can be found off the dirt road on the South end of the meadow.
Monument Trail (South Lake Tahoe)
Brand new for 2014, this trail climbs over 1,000 vertical feet in about 3 miles to connect the top of Cold Creek Trail / High Meadow to Monument Pass and the TRT. The lower half is really fun and flowy, a good climb or descent. The top half is a bit more sandy but a great new options to get up to the Rim Trail. It passes through many old growth Jupiter trees and some cool rock outcroppings. Ride as an out and back or over to Star Lake or over to Van Sickle Trail.
For an awesome “lollipop” ride ride try riding up Cold Creek Trail, then up Star Lake Trail, then north on the Rim Trail and connect into Monument to descend and continue descending back down Cold Creek.
There is no direct vehicular access, however easiest access is from High Meadow Road off of Pioneer Trail. Ride up either the gated dirt road or climb up Cold Creek single track to High Meadow, the trail continues on past the top of Cold Creek trail.
Cold Creek Trail (South Lake Tahoe)
Reworked and rebuilt between 2009 and 2010 this trail follows alongside its name sake Cold Creek from for nearly 1,400 vertical feet over roughly 5 miles. The lower few miles are suitable for beginner to intermediates and as you get higher the level of technical riding increases. Amazing rock work on the upper portions make for a super fun downhill ride through aspens, ferns and past small waterfalls.
Park at the trail head at the end of High Meadow Road off of Pioneer Trail or park at the water substation just past Sierra House School on Pioneer Trail. This is also very logical continuation of a ride on Powerlines Trail.
Christmas Valley Trail (South Lake Tahoe)
Moderately technical ride that links part of the TRT with rocky terrain that includes both a technically demanding climb and decent. To expand on the loop you can link 3 different out and back options to scenic high alpine lakes (Scott’s Lake, Round Lake, and Dardanelles Lake).
Take Highway 89 from Meyers towards Luther Pass, turn right onto Portal Drive and then left on South Upper Truckee Road, follow to the parking area and bottom trail head just across the Truckee River. Or you can start at the Big Meadow TRT trailhead off Highway 89.
The Bench, TRT (Stateline, NV to Spooner Summit)
This section of the Tahoe Rim Trail starts high and takes you above tree line, with spectacular lake views along the way. Intermediate and Advanced riders will enjoy how this trail has just enough rocks to keep things interesting but very rideable. This ride is typically done as an out and back from either Spooner Summit or Kingsbury Grade. There is a big wooden bench with arguably some of the best views of Lake Tahoe halfway between Spooner and Kingsbury, hence the name of the trail.
Take Kingsbury Grade / State Route 207 in Stateline, NV towards the top, turn left onto North Benjamin Street, keep following until the very end where you will see a large parking area and Tahoe Rim Trail sign and trail head. Or start from the TRT trailhead on the South side of Highway 50 at Spooner Summit.
Powerline Trail (South Lake Tahoe)
Smooth rolling single track takes you from town near Heavenly Cal Base up and along the forest above the neighborhoods of South Lake Tahoe. Very suitable for beginners to intermediates — and everyone can use it to connect to other trails, such as Corral, Cedar and Cold Creek. Easily accessible from many points in town. West of High Meadow road this turns into a dirt road that meets Fountain Place and the Corral area.
Head to the top of Ski Run Blvd and take a right onto Saddle Road, this dead ends after about a block, there is limited on street parking. Another access area is the High Meadow trail head, turn up High Meadows Road off Pioneer Trail and drive on the dirt road until the gate, you will see a map kiosk here.
Flume Trail (East Shore, NV)
A Tahoe classic, with breathtaking views over Lake Tahoe’s Eastern Shore. See for yourself why this trail is so frequently photographed for magazines. Relatively smooth trail, fun for intermediate riders and beginners ready for a strenuous ride. Professional shuttle services available, or consider including the Tahoe Rim Trail to make it a loop ride back to your car or as an out and back going both directions on the Flume trail. Another option includes starting at Mount Rose Summit at the Tahoe Meadows trailhead and riding down to the Flume Trail.
Spooner Lake State Park is located at the intersection of Highway 50 and Highway 28 on the east shore.
Chimney Beach Trail (Incline Village, NV)
Bottom of the trail has a paved parking lot on the mountain side of Highway 28, near the entrance to the Thunderbird Lodge.
Tahoe Meadows, TRT (Incline Village, NV)
This is a really fun and scenic section of the Rim Trail open to bikes on even numbered days. You start at over 9,000 feet in elevation and drop down gradually over about 8 miles until reaching Tunnel Creek Road and the intersection of the Rim Trail. From here you can either take the Flume or continue on the TRT where the ride turns more tricky with some climbing to Snow Peak. This is recommended as a point to point, although it is not unheard of to ride back up to Mount Rose as an out and back.
TRT trail head is at Mount Rose Summit with a large paved parking lot and rest room.
Carson Valley Area Trails – See the Carson Valley Trails Association
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Click the image above to download our free PDF map that a couple of us with TAMBA created of South Shore trails. The two pages show all legal trails between the new Van Sickle Trail to Toads. Descriptions, distances, and elevation are included. Download a copy and think of it as a member benefit. If you use this map and are not currently a TAMBA member, please think about becoming one!