Easy Mountain Bike Trails: North Lake Tahoe

Looking out across the meadow.| Priya Hutner

Editor’s Note: Read Priya’s feature on Easy Mountain Biking Trails in Truckee at TheTahoeWeekly.com. Due to ongoing fire danger and forest closures, she will explore South Shore trails next summer.

There are some days when a cruisy bike ride in the woods is just what the doctor ordered, and the Tahoe Sierra is known for its stellar mountain-bike terrain with trails for every type of rider. Tahoe’s mountain-biking trails offer challenging uphill ascents, technical terrain, big winding single-tracks and white-knuckle descents. Along the way, the gently rolling trails provide an opportunity to explore the forests and enjoy the beautiful environment that makes Tahoe one of the most spectacular places in the country.

There is something extraordinary about riding a bike on dirt in the woods away from busy roads. Immersing in nature is a top priority for most people who live and visit this area — and it’s healthy, too.

The trail to the meadow. | Priya Hutner

There is something extraordinary about riding a bike on dirt in the woods away from busy roads. Immersing in nature is a top priority for most people who live and visit this area — and it’s healthy, too.

Read Priya’s feature on Easy Trails in Truckee

On a beautiful fall Sunday morning, my friend Lauren Kok and I set out for a mountain-bike ride to Page Meadows. Neither of us had ridden the Page Meadows loop and it is designated easy. We accessed the trail on Rawhide Drive off Granlibakken Road in Tahoe City. We parked at the end of the road where the trailhead starts. Once on our bikes, we started a steady but gentle climb up a fire road. The forest was gorgeous and offered a nice amount of shade from the sun. The fire road eventually turned into a single track. The trail wasn’t technical and had few rocky sections. We wondered if this is why it was designated easy.

The Trails
Antone Meadows Loop | 3.2 miles RT
Blackwood Canyon | 4 miles RT
Page Meadows | 5 miles RT
Tahoe XC Loop | 3.4 miles RT
Ward Creek Trail | 1.4 miles RT

As we climbed, there were only a handful of people hiking and biking. Along the trail, there are several signs for Page Meadows. The last sign had two arrows, one pointed right and the other left. We took the right trail. The trail dipped a bit deeper into the woods until the meadow appeared on our left. The meadow opened up, the grasses in the meadow were yellowing, letting us know that fall had arrived.

Selfies on the ride. | Priya Hutner

We rode around the meadow and hit a fork on the far side of the meadow. It was here that we took the left trail. The trail brought us back to the Rawhide Trail for a fun downhill through the forest and back to the car. Our ride was 5 miles and took us about 55 minutes with a few stops to take photos. There are several trails to explore in this area, including the trail that connects to the Tahoe Rim Trail.

Here are a few other easy mountain bike trails to enjoy.

Lauren Kok at Page Meadows. | Priya Hutner

Burton Creek State Park
Colleague and fellow writer Tim Hauserman also suggested mountain biking at Tahoe City Cross Country Ski area. Those trails offer different skill levels, including several single-track trails perfect for a leisurely ride. The Tahoe XC Loop trail is 3.4 miles, perfect for beginners. Tim also recommended the Antone Meadows Loop, which is 3.2 miles and ambles through Burton Creek State Park and rolls through the forest and around Antone Meadows. There are numerous optional little side trails, as well, to explore.

West Shore
Ward Creek Trail is a 1.4-mile trail in Ward Creek Park near Timberland off Highway 89. This trail is an easy rolling trail that offers a gentle ride along the creek.

Blackwood Canyon on the West Shore offers trails that are good for beginner and intermediate riding. The trailhead is located at Highway 89 and Blackwood Canyon Road about 4 miles south of Tahoe City. The 4-mile roundtrip trail into Blackwood Canyon offers views of open meadows and an aspen grove, making this a perfect fall ride.

Explore new trails
Many of the beautiful things about mountain biking are that you can always go as far as you like, take your time and go at your own pace. Building stamina and endurance are keys to riding but enjoying and having fun are just as important. There are hundreds of trails to ride in Tahoe and you can find descriptions for many at TheTahoeWeekly.com. You can also use apps to track your rides and keep from getting lost. Strava, Trailforks, MBT Project, AllTrails and MapMyRide are just some of the apps available that are extremely helpful.

It is beneficial to ride with friends if you’re not familiar with the area. If the terrain is tricky, remember it’s fine to get off and walk your bike. Know yourself and your limits. While it is fun to explore unknown trails, it’s important to do some research and to explore the level of difficulty of trails you embark on.