A camping trip to Lake Tahoe isn't complete without a bike ride on at least one of Tahoe's many biking paths. There are paved trails, single track, lift-accessed bike resorts and cycling routes. But that's not all, Lake Tahoe's bike trails offer scenic vistas with unparalleled mountain and lake views.
Tahoe has it all for bicyclists and there's most likely a number of trails near your campground. Whether you are a leisurely rider renting a bike for the first time, or an experienced mountain biker looking for a challenging downhill trail, Lake Tahoe has a biking option for you.
Lake Tahoe Mountain Biking
Lake Tahoe is not only a destination for boating and camping, it is also a mountain biking mecca. The problem with mountain biking in Tahoe isn't finding a trail to ride; there are so many trails it's difficult to choose just one. Here's a list of a few of the best:
- Best Easy Tahoe Mountain Biking Trail: The General Creek Loop heads out of the campground at Sugar Pine State Park. It is an easy mountain bike trail that follows the 1960 Olympic Cross Country skiing track. For a more strenuous and longer loop continue up the steep single track to Lily Pond. Make sure to bring some cash if you plan to drive to the trailhead; there's a fee to park Sugar Pine State Park.
- Best Intermediate Tahoe Mountain Biking Trail: The well-known and scenic Flume Trail leaves Spooner Lake and descends more than 1,500 ft to the northern lakeshore, but there is also an easier and shorter out-and-back route. The trail is so picturesque, I recommend allowing for extra time to snap a few photos. A car shuttle is the best option for this ride. If you don't have an extra vehicle, Spooner Lake Outdoor Company offers shuttles to the trailhead. The Spooner Lake trailhead requires a fee to park, so if you are looking to save money, park at the bottom and take the shuttle up.
- Best Tahoe Mountain Biking Resort: The bike park at Northstar at Tahoe is famous for its lift-accessed and challenging downhill mountain biking. Downhillers travel from around the area to ride these extreme trails. A daily ticket is required to ride the chairlift, but if you plan to just ride the cross-country trails, access is free.
Paved Biking Paths in Lake Tahoe
Tahoe biking paths are excellent for leisurely rides around Lake Tahoe and great for family biking. While bicycling in Tahoe may seem extreme, the paved bike paths are enjoyable for beginners and novices. Although not one paved path circles the entire lake, there are many different sections of the paved bike paths:
- The Camp Richardson area in South Lake Tahoe has a great section of the bike path. The trail meanders north and south and does not have any major elevation gain or loss, making for a leisurely trail.
- The section of path between Tahoe City and Edwin Z'berg Natural Preserve near Sugar Pine State Park is a favorite. The day picnic areas at the state park make it a great destination or ending point.
- On the north side of the lake, a shorter section of the paved bike path winds around Incline Village and King's Beach, though much of the lakefront area is private. This is the best area for biking, shopping and eating, so bring a bike lock if you plan to stop in town.
Lake Tahoe Bike Rentals
If you don't own a bike or prefer not travel with one, Lake Tahoe has plenty of rental options for you. Most bike shops have a free Tahoe biking map compliments of the Lake Tahoe Bicycling Coalition, a variety of bicycle options and price ranges; and there's a bike shop in just about every town.
- The Village Ski Loft bike shop in Incline Village in North Lake Tahoe has the best deals on mountain bikes, road bikes, kid’s bikes and adult cruisers. Helmets are included in rentals and car-racks are available. If you are planning on mountain biking, consider renting elbow and knee pads also.
- The Mountain Sports Center at Camp Richardson in South Lake Tahoe offers hourly and daily rates on bike rentals. Adult cruisers, mountain bikes, tandem bikes, children's bikes and trailers are available.
- West Shore Sports in Homewood on the west shore of Lake Tahoe has an adult and kids bike rental combo, doggie trailers, road bikes and mountain bikes for rental.