California Dreamin': Two Great Tahoe Trails – by Nick CisikOnce Daylight Saving Time has hit and the days start becoming longer, it is impossible to avoid thinking about the sun-splashed weeks of warmth that define summers in the Tahoe Basin. With a daily average high of just around seventy-five degrees and a cool mountain breeze to keep things fresh, any Tahoe outdoors(wo)man finds him/herself in a state of daily bliss. The only dilemma presenting itself during this time of year is how to spend each day, the options seemingly limitless. With a virtual smorgasbord of outdoor activity, one can run, bike, swim, paddle, swing, surf (wind) or ski(water), to her heart's content in perfect weather. I, myself, am a tennis enthusiast, but always love to get on a path to join the healthy community of runners, bikers, and hikers that are out there "getting after it" regularly. This summer I plan on taking full advantage of two trails that are both family-friendly and visually rewarding. They are the Truckee River Legacy Trail and the Incline Flume Trail, the latter stretching along the ridge lines above Lake Tahoe itself.
The Truckee River Legacy Trail, a paved path winding its way through the southern banks of the Truckee River, is a locals' recreational mainstay. Alive with friendly Truckee inhabitants and visitors alike, you always see smiling family faces taking in all the natural beauty that abounds throughout the Legacy Trail experience. The trail is a Class 1 Bikeway and Multi-Use Trail, meaning runners, bikers, in-line skaters, and those in wheelchairs are all welcome. As is the goal of the Town of Truckee's Trails & Bikeways Master Plan, the Legacy Trail encourages alternative modes of transportation in and around the town of Truckee. The trail can be picked up on East River Street (off of Brockway Road) at the Truckee River Regional Park. It extends 4.4 miles to the east ending at Glenshire Drive's Riverview Sports Park.
The second path I plan on traveling down this summer is the Incline Flume Trail, now an official Forest Service trail. This means that up until recently it was not outfitted with any proper, way-finding and interpretive signage nor was it given the necessary funding for any required reconstruction and maintenance work. That has changed. Thanks to the efforts of the Tahoe Fund, these much-needed accoutrement have been added, making for an even safer ride or hike along the Incline Flume Trail. Pick it up on Mt. Rose Highway (HWY 431). Take route 431 up from Tahoe Boulevard in Incline. When you pass the always-awe-inspiring Lake Tahoe vista point around the initial big turn, keep your eyes open for a small dirt parking area on your right (this is just a few hundred yards past the viewpoint). If that area is full, you will find ample parking in the lot across the highway. The trail, starting on the east end of the dirt parking area, will take you through quintessential Tahoe meadows filled with firs and pines as well as stone-scattered outcroppings, all along sandy dirt paths of softness.
No matter what your skill level, these two options are great starting points for summer family fun in Tahoe. All that is required is a high level of love for the outdoors and a desire to be in them. Here's to this summer being another memorable one in beautiful Lake Tahoe, California!