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Tahoe Rim & Flume Trail via Tahoe Meadows - IMBA EPIC

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.7 (119) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

An awesome, high altitude, IMBA EPIC ride through towering pines with majestic views of the Tahoe area.


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Map Key

24.6

Miles

39.6

KM

80%

Singletrack

8,826' 2,690 m

High

6,321' 1,927 m

Low

1,455' 443 m

Up

3,861' 1,177 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

16%

Max Grade (9°)

Dogs Off-leash

E-Bikes Not Allowed

The TRT section between Hwy 431 and Tunnel Creek Rd is open to mountain bikes only on even days.

Overview

If you were going to do only one ride in Tahoe - this is it.

Much of the ride is easy with a smathering of technical features that will keep even the most advanced rider on their toes. The trail itself ranges from packed sand, loose sand, loamy/rooty forest to granite boulders and steps.

The Tahoe Rim Trail is 168 miles circling Lake Tahoe along the ridges and mountaintops that form the Lake Tahoe Basin in northern Nevada and northern California. Much of the TRT is off limits for mountain bikers and signage alerts you to this. This ride uses only a portion of the TRT that is available to the MTB community. Be aware that this wilderness is habitat for Black Bears and Mountain Lions.

While the TRT portion of the ride is more technical and advanced in sections, the Flume Trail is ideal for the beginner to intermediate rider. Few if any will have the ability to peddle this entire ride without dismounting but nothing is difficult to hike a bike past.

I am being reserved when I say the the views are stunning. Perhaps the phrase "Shock & Awe" is more appropriate. There is a view point at 11.7 miles that will blow your socks off. Take it in, put your socks back on and continue down the trail....there is more to come!

Need to Know

  • A shuttle is required for this ride. There is a commercial service available and easily accessed at the Tunnel Creek Cafe, which is an excellent place to meet up and grab a cup of caffeine, beer or a meal before and after your ride).
  • If riders want to add some mileage and another descent, it's easy to continue on the Incline Flume Trail to end on the Tyrolean Downhill for a ride that totals nearly 30 miles.

Description

Take a shuttle from the Tunnel Creek Cafe parking (where the ride ends) to the drop off at Tahoe Meadows Tahoe Rim Trail trailhead.

A morning start of this ride is often cool - a long sleeve or shell is recommended. There are small light blue and white triangular Tahoe Rim Trail signs guiding your way throughout the ride, though they are few and far between.

At the shuttle drop off point as you face the wilderness with your back to the road, mount up and drop onto the trail to your right. You'll ride a very tight trail through the meadow that is covered in soft, dense vegetation. Be aware of small obstacles hidden from eyesight. A fragmented wooden boardwalk guides you into the the woods. Look for the Tahoe Rim Trail signs directing you up and right onto the TRT after a quarter mile.

After the meadow, you'll encounter a 300' climb beyond which you'll enjoy many small climbs and descents. The trail is semi-technical through this section due to the many rock steps which can be frustrating to many. 9 miles of riding brings you to a four-way intersection.

Continue straight for another 5 miles. In this section you'll encounter a torturous 900' climb with many... no... VERY many obstacles. I recall a theme resonating in my mind..."does this never let up?" Perhaps I am just soft, but I found this part difficult. The climb rewards you with an opening to another meadow with spectacular views at Marlette Peak. Here you find a couple hundred foot diversion to a view point. Enjoy the view of Tahoe & Marlette Lakes. Continue back to the trail and descend 500' to Marlette Lake where you engage the Flume Trail.

Ride Marlette Lake Road around Marlette Lake to the beginning of the Flume Trail. At one point, on the day I rode, the road ran across a short section of lake about a foot deep giving wet tires and brakes that gave cause for difficult opening moves down sandy granite rocks.

After this though, the Flume Trail is enjoyable mostly flat singletrack twisting along a steep mountain side dropping only 40' per mile. There is one very short rock slide area that you'll walk over that has a sign warning you of. Enjoy the ride, have lunch, take in the views. The Flume ends at a 3 mile 1500' descent down Tunnel Creek road to the Tunnel Creek Cafe. (Sure its a road, but the descent is quite fun with its many small dips and drops that can provide a thrill at speed).

It's over, sit back and tip a cold one. You have just ridden one of the best rides you'll ever ride.

Contacts

Shared By:

Markk Knowles with improvements by Sue Hughes

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 119 votes

#1

in Lake Tahoe

#19

Overall
  4.7 from 119 votes
5 Star
78%
4 Star
18%
3 Star
3%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
1%
Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in Lake Tahoe

#1

in Nevada

#19

Overall
1,381 Views Last Month
113,005 Since Jun 18, 2013
Intermediate/Difficult

4%
1%
52%
11%
30%
1%

Photos

Yup, it really looks like that.  For miles.
Jul 12, 2014 near Incline…, NV
Tahoe Flume Trail!
May 4, 2018 near Incline…, NV
Hard to keep your eye on the trail!
Jul 12, 2014 near Incline…, NV
The most amazing views! Loved this trail!
Sep 11, 2017 near Incline…, NV
Take it with speed!
Jul 12, 2014 near Incline…, NV
Wild flowers in August after the huge 2016/2017 snow year.
Aug 18, 2017 near Incline…, NV

Weather


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Check-Ins

Apr 7, 2022
John Hoffman
Nov 29, 2021
Richard North
Oct 11, 2021
Yilong Wang
not the best way to break in a new bike for a first time mountain biker. 25.5mi
Aug 3, 2021
Derrick Sutterman
Jul 14, 2021
Rebecca Bair
Jun 26, 2021
Ryan Lord
May 6, 2021
Mohsin Mir
Apr 18, 2021
Brice Corcoran

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