The Fantastic Tahoe Rim Trail
By Alan LeStourgeon
Like most good things, you must wait, and The Tahoe Rim Trail proves it. The loop trail was not completed until September 2001. The 164-mile loop trail encircles glorious Lake Tahoe in all its splendor and passes through National Forest, state parks and several wilderness areas. The lake covers a surface area of 191 square miles, with 71 miles of shoreline snuggled among the Sierra Nevada mountains on the border of California and Nevada. The rim trail offers spectacular views of the alpine lake shimmering up to the sky.
The trail opens usually in mid-June, when the snow has melted off, and closes again in late October. The trail design takes into account the hiker, mountain biker and equestrian. The goal during construction was to not exceed an average grade of 10 percent. Mountain biking is permitted on half of the trail. The loop can be accessed from anywhere around the lake or surrounding cities.
Most of the trail winds along the ridge tops offering views of nature at its finest. The peaks that surround Lake Tahoe, and upon which the trail rests, consist of granite rock covered with a wide variety of trees from mighty Aspen and Cedar to White Fur and Ponderosa Pine. Saunter past meadows of wild flowers- golden yellow Mountain Mule Ears and firecracker red Indian Paintbrush.
Rise past flowing mountain streams and don't forget to look out over the incredible Tahoe Basin in all its brilliance. Hundreds of small lakes rest peacefully at higher elevations above Lake Tahoe. You can walk under trees, through meadows or above the tree line rising close to 11,000 feet at points. Be on the lookout for bears- the trail meanders through their country.
Triangular light blue trail markers planted along the trail help hikers found their way, but the signs don't always last the winter, so be prepared with map and compass. Camping areas abound in some areas of the trail, while in other areas, like Desolation Wilderness, no designated camping areas are permitted. In some areas, campfire and camping permits must be obtained.
The trail can be accessed from the Sierra Nevada and Carson Range spur. Whether for a day hike or much longer, the Tahoe Rim Trail caters to all levels.
You can visit the official Tahoe Rim Trail web Site at TahoeRimTrail.org.
Alan LeStourgeon operates a vacation rental web site where you can find comfortable cabin rentals, recreational and hiking vacation information and information on Lake Tahoe.
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