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General Information: Hiking on the east side of Lake Tahoe one gets a completely differenct feel than hiking in Desolation Wilderness on the South and West Shores. Here, fir and pine forest dominate the senses, combined with occasional grand vistas of Lake Tahoe. No stark, open, rocky beauty here, rather soft forest light. The hiking is on the wide, well maintained Tahoe Rim Trail and includes only moderate uphill climbing with peaceful, uncrowded trails. The entire section from Kingsbury to Spooner is a long 13 miles, but an out & back hike, especially from the Kingsbury end is very pleasant.

 

Where To Start/End: We favor the Kingsbury start as it has the nicer forest, better views, and less steep climbing. The trail starts near the top of Kingsbury Grade (Nevada State Route 207) which intersects Highway 50 just north of the Stateline casinos. Make a left turn from Kingsbury Grade onto North Benjamin and follow this to the end of the road. You will see a parking area and sign board for the Tahoe Rim Trail. Start your hike here. If you are hiking the entire trail, the trail ends at Spooner Summit near the elevation sign. There is a parking area on the south side of the highway.

Trail Description: This hike is on a section of the newly completed Tahoe Rim Trail which circumnavigates Lake Tahoe. The trail is wide and well graded in most areas.

It starts in Pine and Red Fir forest typical of the Tahoe Sierra. Along the way, you'll get lots of filtered views of Lake Tahoe, and in some places, grand vistas open towards the Lake and the Crystal Range beyond. You will pass several fire roads along the way, but stay on the Tahoe Rim Trail which is always a single track and usually marked with the blue Rim Trail marker. At about 6 miles, the trail will turn away from the lake and flatten. Ahead and slightly to the east you'll see above you an open, treeless slope. You'll cross another fire road and just when you start to think the climbing is over, you'll begin to ascend, first gently, then more steeply over rocky terrain until you realize, "I'm going to the top of that slope!" And you'll be correct. The trail tops out at an elevation of 8750 feet on a wind swept slope with a large bench cut from whole logs on which to sit, eat a snack, and enjoy some of the best views Tahoe has to offer. You are now 7 mile into the wilderness and, if you choose to continue, have 6 miles and nearly 1600 feet of descent to look forward to! The hike down towards Spooner is less interesting and includes an area of old forest fire and lots of manzanita slopes. The trail is at first rocky and uneven but after a mile or so, turns into a fairly smooth path. Still, it is steep and requires caution. Again the trail will intersect several fire roads (as well as an old fire!) but the trail always picks up again just across the road. The trail finishes in the Tahoe Rim Trail parking lot where, hopefully, you parked your shuttle car!

Enironmental Concerns: We know the experts say small forest fires are necessary for good forest health, but they sure ruin the beauty and feel of a hike. Please be especially careful about fire in this area.

Advisory: There is no water on this section of the trail and it can be a hot and thirsty hike so be sure to bring lots of water. This trail is used not only by hikers, but mountain bikers and equestrians as well. Hikers should move off the trail and let both mountain bikers and horses pass.

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