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South Lake Tahoe Mountain Biking Trails

With the conveniences afforded to visitors in the city of South Lake Tahoe in combination with so many good trails around, a mountain bike trip here is usually a pretty good idea. We have listed a few of our southern shore favorite trails below:

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
The south shore’s most famous trail features quick downhill sections, fast banks and dense trees. Although it used to be a relatively unknown off-highway vehicle trail named Saxon Creek Trail, and article was written about it in a magazine many years ago that jumpstarted its popularity. It has seen some wear and tear since then, but it is still a quick and exciting 4+ miles that drops 2,200 vertical feet.

The trailhead for Saxon Creek Trail is found by riding up the Tahoe Rim Trail that starts at the Big Meadow trailhead (parking for this is located off of Highway 89 near Luther Pass Grade). The sign for toads trail (Saxon Creek Trail) is located about 3 miles in.
After this point it’s almost all downhill with a lot of technical features. The trail does fork at one point, and a left turn will bring you to the Oneidas Street exit while a right turn will put you at Hwy 89 south of the Hwy 89/Hwy 50 junction.

If you want to start at the bottom of the trail, take Highway 50 S. into the town of Myers and take a left at the stoplight onto Pioneer Trail. After 3/4 mile take a right onto Oneidis Street. Go past the residential area and the bottom of the trail will be found at the turnoff after a forest service gate.

Twin Peaks
This short ride is a steep 1-2 mile climb up to a mountain peak
with nice views of Lake Tahoe at the top. It is a good ride for those looking for a quick trip in the South Lake Tahoe area. The trail is open 9AM to 7PM every day and can be accessed 2 miles from the “Y” on Lake Tahoe Boulevard. Note that off-highway vehicles also use this trail.

Rim Trail from Heavenly Stagecoach
This 18+ mile ride begins adjacent to the Stagecoach Ski Lift on the Nevada side of Heavenly Mountain Resort and continues all the way to the Big Meadows parking lot south of the city of Meyers. It also passes through Freel Peak, which is the highest peak in the Lake Tahoe basin at 10,881 feet. The trailhead starts 1/8 mile up the Stagecoach run. One car is likely needed at each end of the trail.

Note that mountain bikes are not allowed between Armstrong Pass north to Fountain Place, and are also not allowed from Star Lake north until High Meadows as this is private property. This is a moderate to strenuous ride and covers more than 2,000 feet of vertical change.

Genoa Peak
This moderate 8 to 12 mile ride along a Crestline affords fantastic views of Lake Tahoe on one side and Carson Valley on the other. A few loops and tangents break off the main road allowing for some diversions such as a trip over to Genoa Peak at 9,150 feet. Total elevation change on this ride is a little over 1,000 feet.

To access this trail, take SR 207 up Kingsbury Grade from South Lake Tahoe to North Benjamin Road (left). This road turns into Andria Drive and at the end of it is the parking location. Then take Genoa Peak Road 14N32.

Kirkwood Ski Resort
One of few ski resorts in Lake Tahoe offering lift access for hauling mountain bikes, Kirkwood offers a wide selection of trails in addition to the obvious convenience of not having to climb every trail. Downhillers will be satisfied with the technical features and speed of the trails here, something very familiar to the local skiers and snowboarders who call Kirkwood’s steeps home during the winter.

For trail maps, see the Kirkwood website or any of their shops on the mountain. Season passes are also available for summer-long lift access. A wide variety of mountain bikes are stocked at the rental shop.

Note that many, many other trails exist on the south shore and surrounding areas. For more information and details on further trails, check out many of the guide books available on the topic.