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Marlette Lake

General Information: The Flume Trail is one of Lake Tahoe's premier mountain bike rides. It has been featured in mountain biking magazines and deserves all the attention it gets! Of course, the trade off is that this ride can get pretty crowded on summer weekends. You'll get a good workout getting up to Marlette Lake from Spooner Lake, but once on the Flume, the views will quickly erase any memory of the climb.

Where To Start/End: Drive to Spooner Summit turning onto highway 28 near the top. Less than a mile on the right will be the Nevada State Park.Pay the $5 per vehicle parking fee or if you're cheap like us, park outside the State Park and ride in. Follow the signs to Marlette Lake. Many people shuttle a car to avoid nine miles of uphill road riding back to their cars. The ride ends at the intersection of Tunnel Creek Rd and Highway 28 just north of Sand Harbour and south of Incline Village. Parking along Highway 28 is severely restricted so you'll have to park north or south of where Tunnel Creek Rd. hits 28. Alternatively, you can pay $10 per rider to be chauffeured back to Spooner!

Trail Description: There are several variation to the Flume Trail. By far the most popular is the one-way Spooner-Marlette-Flume-Tunnel Creek ride. This ride is 13 miles long, climbing 1200 feet and descending 1800 feet.

Click here for a trail map and profile.

The other variations all require significant more climbing, pushing them into the Advanced category. Regardless of which ride you choose, you will start with a stiff climb from Spooner Lake to Marlette Lake. The good news for you intermediate riders is that once you reach Marlette, you're done! The trail to Marlette Lake is also very scenic, winding its way through Aspen trees, crossing small streams, and generally giving you lots of things to look at to take your mind off the climbing. Most intermediate riders walk the last half mile to the pass overlooking Marlette don't sweat it. Once at the pass, follow the rutted road down

to Marlette Lake, a great place for a rest stop, picnic, or cardiac arrest. Turn left (south) when you reach the lake and follow the road which then turns north along the western shore of Marlette. In the spring when the lake is high, the trail dead-ends into the outlet and you must carry your bike over some boulders to continue. Follow this trail (you may need to walk some of this) until it crosses the stream flowing out of Marlette Lake. This is the start of the Flume Trail proper. The most scenic part of the ride is only 4 or 5 miles long, so be sure to stop and enjoy the fabulous views of Lake Tahoe along this stretch. The trail heads north along the edge of the mountain and gets a little narrow and exposed in some places. You must carry your bike across several rock slides. The trail is, however, well within the ability of intermediate mountain bikers. Eventually, the trail turns east and heads away from Lake Tahoe where it intersects Tunnel Creek Rd. Turning left onto this steep, sandy road takes you down to Highway 28 and the finish.

Twin Lakes Variation: An advanced variation of this ride turns right (uphill) onto Tunnel Creek Rd., follows the signs to Twin Lakes, then takes the Rim Trail south to the Hobart/Marlette Rd. Turn right onto this road and follow it back to Marlette Lake. Climb back to the pass and then down the same road you climbed up to get to Marlette Lake earlier. This variation adds 9 miles and 1000 feet of climbing to the ride.

Franktown Variation: Another advanced alternative is to continue on Tunnel Creek past the Twin Peaks turn-off on towards Franktown Creek. Follow the Red House Flume towards Hobart Reservoir, turning onto the Hobart/Marlette Rd. and climbing back to Marlette Lake. This ride takes you down to about 6800 feet and requires you to climb back to nearly 8500 feet before descending to Marlette Lake. This 25 mile loop gains more than 2500 feet!

Environmental Concerns: The main concern on the Flume is the shear volume of use. It is imperative that we follow good back-country ettiquete including packing out all that you bring in. Avoid widening the trail by riding around downed trees or seeking out drier areas to ride.

Advisory: This trail is used not only by mountain bikers, but hikers as well. Equestrians are not allowed on the Flume Proper, but may be encountered elsewhere. The Park Service has set speed limits for mountain bikes on the trail, so please adhere to the requirements.


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NOTICE: While the information on this site is thought to be accurate and reliable, it is offered only as a guide and cannot replace sound personal judgement.

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