Riding the Tahoe Rim Trail from Stagecoach Lift to Monument Pass was was the first leg of a tremendous 25.6 mile ride.
The worker in the bike shop recommended I start my ride at Heavenly’s Stagecoach Lift (just off the Kingsbury Highway), take the Tahoe Rim Trail southwest through Armstrong Pass, and eventually end the ride at a place called Big Meadow.
My plan for our stay in Tahoe was to mountain bike every other day, with off days for letting my body recuperate and to spend some quality time with Cindy (we visited some historic sites and learned quite a bit about Lake Tahoe). I also used the off days to make notes on the previous ride, get my bike in tip-top shape, off-load all my photos and videos onto my hard drive, and fully plan the next day’s ride.
- Click the Icons and Tracks for info on land-marks.
- Click the Green or Red balloons for driving directions.
As I rounded the building I came upon 30 beach cruisers all set out in front of the shop. At that point I debated whether I should even bother. I knew getting mountain biking information from workers there was a long shot, as it appeared this shop mainly rented bikes for riding the paved exercise paths following the shores of Lake Tahoe. I wasn’t surprised to find the name of the place was South Shore Bikes. I was also not surprised to see they were open on a Sunday. I am pretty sure they are open every day in the summer … not much bike riding in the winter there.
I asked the girl in front about trails and she immediately handed me a “totally awesome” map, and directed me to a young man in the back of the shop … who told me I “had to try” Mr. Toads Wild Ride. When I told him I did mostly cross country riding he recommended I ride the paved bike path along the shore. When I said I wanted to ride mountain trails he said he had no other recommendations. I returned to the girl in the front, bought the awesome $12 map, and headed back to the laundromat.
With the laundry finished, I told Cindy I wanted to visit a different bike shop to get more ideas for my next two rides. The Wherewolf had told me he’d been pleased with Tahoe Sports, a large shop next to the Heavenly Valley Lifts … right in the middle of a shopping center in the town of Stateline. So we headed into the heart of South Lake Tahoe.
Cindy said she had some small shops she wanted to investigate and I headed into Tahoe Sports Ltd., which I found to be quite large and very busy. Despite the large number of customers I had no problem finding someone to help me. The fellow there took me over to a counter and we laid out my “awesome” map. He asked me what kind of riding I liked and what I’d ridden so far. I informed him I was mostly a cross country rider, but could pretty much ride anything. He explained that most of the good trips involve riding on the Tahoe Rim Trail, a 163 mile singletrack loop through the mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe. When I told him about my Wherewolf excursion he took a pen and drew two rides on my map.
The first followed the Tahoe Rim Trail from the Stagecoach Lift (Heavenly Valley Resort in Nevada) around the southeast side of Monument Peak, past Star Lake, over Freel Peak Pass, and down to Armstrong Pass. From Armstrong Pass I would stay on the TRT all the way to Big Meadow… where Cindy would pick me up, or I could ride back into town.
I told him I appreciated all the time he had spent with me (I have found most bike shop personnel courteous, but many are mainly interested in whether I want to buy something. I don’t think those other people understand the concept of … treat a non buying customer well today and he might return later to buy … maybe even for a large purchase.) After buying a few gel packs, I found Cindy in one of those small shops. After a lunch at the Subway we headed back to camp.
We had spent the past few nights with our 1968 Terry Travel Trailer parked at Camp Richardson, on Emerald Bay Road. That night, after eating a delicious dinner at Izzy’s Burgers Spa (I think we ended up eating three meals there) we returned to camp, where I loaded my Stumpjumper Pro into the Tundra. I wanted to be all ready to go for the next morning.
Monday morning was bright and sunny, but quite cool. After my standard breakfast of Great Grains cereal (with milk and banana) we drove back to and through the towns of South Lake Tahoe and Stateline, heading for the Kingsbury Highway… then the Stagecoach Lift.
Getting onto the Kingsbury Highway was no problem, but finding the Stagecoach trailhead was rather tricky. We did see a sign and turned correctly off the highway … but ended up on a detour (we always seem to run into roadwork at high elevations during the summer). We thought it strange to find no signs showing the way to a ski resort parking area once off the highway.
We drifted into and out of a couple of vacant ski parking lots before Cindy spotted a kiosk above and behind one of them. We parked, walked up the hill… and… low and behold, we had found a trailhead for the Tahoe Rim Trail.
I walked back, got everything loaded into my pack and headed back to the kiosk. Cindy was still reading the literature. She is an avid reader and can spend hours and hours in a visitor center, reading every single piece of information on every placard. The fact that she can recall all this stuff truly amazes me … and frustrates me when playing Jeopardy!
Cindy explained that this piece of trail was a new addition to the existing trail system. We walked up the first couple hundred yards of trail as I found it steep and quite loose, and to share the trail with her. Some parts of the trail were still marked with orange ribbons, to assist workers in building the trail path.
I figured the ropes were out of bounds markers for skiers that had used the mountain earlier in the year. Maybe they had yet to remove them or maybe they just left them up year round.
Farther south and higher up I came across several hikers, many looking grotesquely out of shape.
I think these people had ridden a gondola up and were now supposed to work their way back down toward the Stagecoach Lift. Even though their two mile trip was 100% down hill I had my doubts as to how many of them actually would make it.
The Tahoe Rim Trail just kept me climbing steadily as I approached Monument Pass. Since I was traveling on the eastern side of the eastern-most mountain in Tahoe, the views to the east were phenomenal. Nevada’s Carson Valley looked like a pool table (although a little too brown and patchy) from my perch on the shoulder of Monument Peak. I was quite pleased when I reached Monument Pass and was finally able to travel downhill a bit.
Please click Monument Pass to learn about the rest of this ride.
Click Tahoe Mountain Biking to see an overview of all the rides in this area.