Emigrant can be one of the first trails to shed the winter snow, so it makes a good early season warm-up. It's also a great longer ride that beginners and intermediates can tackle.
Need to Know
This may be Truckee's most popular trail. It's used by dog walkers, flower-peepers, and bikers of all abilities. Cut other users some slack, and don't ride like you're the only one here. Uphill riders get the right-of-way, even if you're crushing the KOM (on the area's easiest trail, Punter). Seriously, don't be a jerk: leave the Strava at home for this one.
Often described as "easy," that's probably because -- unlike most Truckee and Tahoe area trails -- no matter where you jump into it, Emigrant doesn't start with an hour of climbing right out of the car. But riders of all abilities can be found here because there's really something for everyone: lots of smooth rolling singletrack, short but punchy climbs, swoopy turns and drops to practice not braking, log ride-overs and rails here and there, as much distance as you can handle, lovely meadows, forest, and a lake at the far end. Choose one of many parking areas and ride the segment(s) that match your available time and energy.
There are several options to start this ride. Many folks will start at the Donner Camp Picnic Site (insert joke here) off 89 just north of Truckee. Options exist to start off Alder Creek Road or Shussing Way for some fun downhill-trending singletrack before crossing 89 to get to the Donner Camp parking lot. These sections of the ride also provide access into the extensive Tahoe-Donner trail system
: 60 miles of trails across 3,500 acres.
From Donner Camp, the singletrack heads generally north, paralleling the highway on a fun, sinuous line. Late in the season, you may be able to cross Prosser Creek at the Prosser Creek Ford , but it's best to ride to the 89 and over a short road bridge. Then you'll head southeast, parallel the north side of the creek, and soon turn uphill to cross a dirt road. Follow the singletrack all the way to Stampede Reservoir. Along the way you'll cross a number of dirt roads and the occasional small paved one, but the main crossings are marked and the way across the minor ones are pretty obvious.
This is typically an out-and-back ride, all singletrack, with great meadow and long distance views. Although there are no prolonged climbs, there are no prolonged descents. You'll feel a great burn regardless of your ability, which should dictate your turn-around point.
Shared By: Dan Oakland