Tahoe Rim Trail - Tahoe Meadows to Spooner SummitDistance:
23.1, but you can turn around whenever Difficulty:
Moderate to Strenuous Fees and Permits:
None Map: National Geographic Lake Tahoe Basin Map
The section of the Tahoe Rim Trail from Tahoe Meadows to Spooner Summit is one of the gems of the Tahoe area. It is unlikely that you will be hiking the entire section due to its length (23.1 miles), but the first few miles from Tahoe Meadows offer a great moderate hike with exceptional views of both Lake Tahoe and the Carson Valley. The trailhead is located on the side of route 431 (Mt. Rose Highway) approximately 7.3 miles up from the intersection of routes 89 and 431 in Incline Village. You will most likely see a number of cars parked on the side of the road near the trailhead, if you reach the true top of the pass, you have gone about ¾ of a mile too far. This section of the rim trail is open to mountain bikes on even days of the month and is an excellent ride. If you plan on using the trail on even days, be aware that there may be a large number of bikers. They usually shuttle a car and ride the whole section from north to south.
The trail starts out parallel to the highway for a short distance before continuing into Tahoe Meadow. The meadow is a fragile ecosystem and can be wet off trail, so please stick to the trail. Near the south edge of the meadow you cross Ophir creek and then head slightly uphill through a pine forest. Follow the TRT blazes with the silhouette of the lake; after a short climb the trail will settle in to a rolling up and down with very little net elevation gain or loss. The trail will skirt both sides of a long north-south facing ridge for the next 7.5 miles or so. When the trail is on the east side of the ridge you will be rewarded with postcard views of Lake Tahoe and when the trail switches over to the west, you will have stunning views of the Carson Valley. Follow the trail for as long as you care and then retrace your steps back to the trailhead. This hike is an out and back that can be anywhere from 3 to 15 miles depending on the motivation and fitness level of the group. This is a classic Tahoe hike, so enjoy it!
TMS Recommends Bringing: A hydration backpack to make drinking water easy