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Judit ridingFlume Trail Loop


Distance: 20.8 miles
Elevation gain: 1700 ft.
Total descent: 1700 ft.
Duration: 4:25 h.
Date: 5/26/2014

The Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) is composed by different trails that can be connected. These trails are mainly single tracks, with beautiful views over Lake Tahoe and very well maintained. However, for a single day ride, they have a problem: if you don’t have a shuttle, expect a fairly hard day. Nevertheless, there are a few loops that don’t require shuttle. The Flume trail, arguably the most famous trail in Tahoe, can be done out and back from the Spooner Lake Park, so you don’t need a shuttle. Another option is to arrange a shuttle at the Tunnel Creek Café in Incline Village that will take you to the Tahoe Meadows. We did the first option, which includes a relentless climb of 1200 ft. over 3.6 miles.

This route is near these other routes:

Spooner Summit to Heavenly Trail
Painted Rock Trail

Description of the route:

Judit ridingDrive to the Spooner Lake Park and park you vehicle there ($10 fee). Find the trailhead towards the North end of the parking lot. After a short descent on a fire road, the terrain flattens and then goes uphill, still on a fire road. At mile 4 (and 1200 ft. of elevation gain) you reach the end of the climb and highest point of the route. A fast downhill will take you to the Marlette Lake. Take the time to visit the chimney remaining on the little peninsula at the end of the downhill (mile 4.8).


Sand Point ViewGo around the lake, still on a fire road and reach the Flume trail head at mile 6.1, right after riding a short stretch over the lake shore. The first section of the Flume trail is very technical but after a few yards it becomes flat and very easy. The trail traverses a steep slope and those afraid of heights may be scared on a couple of stretches where you have to walk you bike to go over some boulders. However, 99% of the trail is wide enough to ride without being afraid of riding off the trail and down the slope.

The views are great throughout the ride but around mile 8.7 there is a particularly spectacular view of the beaches down at the Sand Point. The blue waters and the golden sand form a postcard scene.

Cèsar ridingAt mile 10.4 you reach the end of the Flume trail. One option here is to turn right and climb to the Twin Lakes and then join the TRT back to the Spooner Lake. The ranger at the Spooner Lake Park discouraged us of that option, since the TRT has some North shady aspect in that area and was probably covered by hard snow. If you have a second car, and you left it at the Incline Village, you would proceed to ride the Tunnel Creek Rd down to the village. We turned around and backtracked our ride to the car. The downhill from the high point to the car was exhilarating.

Flume Trail Profile
Flume Trail Profile.

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