Lake Tahoe's famouse Flume Trail!
What happens when you cut a log flume directly into a cliff but then remove it in leau of a singletrack trail? Mountain bikers rejoice. Lake Tahoe's Flume Trail has gained the statewide and national attention of the mountain biking community due to its uniqueness. We're talking a handlebar-wide trail with a vertical cliff on one side and and a 300 foot drop on the other side. If you're a mountain biker looking for an adrenaline fix, here's your shot!
The flume trail is a singletrack mountain biking trail, which means it is very narrow and somewhat technical but not something that requires extreme amounts of experience. This was one of my first experiences with a technical mountain biking trail and I've been hooked ever since. This is because the views of Lake Tahoe are phenomenal and its one of the most thrilling trails I've ridden.
The Spooner Lake parking lot serves as your starting point and you will have to climb about 1000ft in 5 miles on the North Canyon Trail to see anything spectacular. This inital climb is not entirely strenuous, but it can be a bit of a heartbreaker. The reward at the top is great- the sparkling and clear Marlette Lake is a serene place to stop for a snack or lunch.
|Looking into the Nevada Desert
The trail forks at Marlette Lake and you will take a left to reach the Flume Trail. A flatter 1.6 mile section will take you to the actual Flume. This is the best part of the trail! I found it difficult to focus with all the stunning views of Lake Tahoe. Be sure to stop when you can just to take it all in. Most mountain bikers will be headed in the direction that you are, but keep your head up in case somebody is heading the wrong direction; the trail isn't wide enough to handle two bikes.
The actual flume trail is about 4.5 miles and at the end you have a choice of going back the way you came or making a loop. I prefer making a loop; its safer to keep the flume trail going one way and the view of Nevada are great from the loop. So, at the end of the Flume Trail, take a right at a small connector trail that will bring you to the Tahoe Rim Trail. This is a more difficult trail- switchbacks and large boulders, so be prepared. The Tahoe Rim Trail will climb about a thousand feet in 2.5 miles, flatten out, and in another 2.5 miles you come to a crossroad. Take a right at this crossroad and in about 2 miles you are back at Marlettle Lake. From hear, just take the north canyon back to your car. Enjoy!
How do I get there?
Located on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe, the Flume Trail can be accessed easily from South Lake Tahoe. If you're coming from the Sacramento area, you would pretty much take highway 50 east all the way to South Lake Tahoe. From South Lake Tahoe, you will continue on highway 50 about 15 miles into Nevada. At the junction of highway 28 and 50, you make a left and within a half a mile you will park at Spooner Lake
If you are coming from north of Sacramento- Roseville, Rocklin, Auburn ect, take highway 80 east to Truckee. Take highway 267 south toward the ski resorts and follow it for about 10 miles. At the junction of 267 and 28, turn left and head across the stateline towards Incline Village. From the junction, it is about 17 miles to Spooner lake.