As my buddy and I headed back home, I got a call about “the best ride I’ve ever done”. A few emails later and it sounded like the optimal available activity in our backyard was the same thing local riders have been stoked on for the last few weeks. Still stubborn, I contemplated a trip north to find some good snow. That is until one more email snapped me out of my snow focused daze and caused me to hop back on my bike; “our world class mountain biking is world class, right now!”
There’s certainly some snow to be pedaled through on sheltered high elevation trails, but man the riding really is all time right now. I’ve never been one to turn to mountain biking like some skiers who swear by it as their main activity beyond skiing. Don’t get me wrong, I love to ride, but I have a tough time committing to it when there’s so much good rock around as well as waves a few hours away (sometimes right here on the Lake). But once in a while it clicks, and I recognize why so many are as passionate as they are about mountain biking.
From Hole-In-The-Ground in the north, to Mr. Toad’s in the south, and really all points in between Tahoe has some of the best mountain biking in the lower 48. I took my multiple friends advice and headed out for the East Shore the other day just to see how good it really was. Options are endless on this side of the Lake, and it sounded like the Chimney Beach Trail would be a good choice.
There are so many opportunities for epic riding if you start a mountain biking mission from Mt. Rose Meadows-just plan ahead for how you want to get back to your car (shuttle with friends, pay for a shuttle, hitch hike). After several miles of amazingly diverse riding with views of the Lake and neighboring Valley that are tough to beat you come to a junction. Here you can hop on the infamous Flume Trail and either ride it out or quickly bail down the Tunnel Creek trail. You can also continue on the Tahoe Rim Trail or Red House Flume trail. Both have several variations off their main tracks. If you make it to the end of Marlette Lake, head up hill to the top of the downhill that passes underneath Snow Valley Peak and bust a right. A few hundred more vertical will bring you to the top of the Chimney Beach trail.
There are a few tricky sections of snow here and there, but the most difficult part of the downhill right now is hitting the brakes. Due to the moisture in the usually dry, often times sandy conditions that exists in this zone of Tahoe, currently the dirt is riding extraordinary. Grippy, smooth, fast, the feeling of flight is somewhat attainable on portions of this trail where you can let go and flow with the course. I would recommend being dialed with your breaks though, as I almost slammed a few boulders and trees because it was just too much fun to go as fast as possible. Most local classics are in primo shape right now, so better go with what we’re given and get a few more first-rate rides in before the weather takes the turn that’ll makes the brown gold turn to white.