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General Information: This little used gem is the West Shore's answer to the Flume Trail. It includes hard climbing with majestic views across Lake Tahoe as well as of the Tahoe backcountry. The descent into Ward Creek is difficult but fun. The length, vertical gain, and technical descent in many places makes this an advanced+ ride.

 

Where To Start: This is a loop ride that begins on a single track trail located just south (100 ft) of Ward Creek on the west side of Highway 89. Ward Creek is about 0.5 miles south of Sunnyside and 3 miles north of Homewood on Lake Tahoe's West Shore. Park either at the county park just north of Ward Creek or along Highway 89 (be mindful of parking restrictions)

Trail Description: The trail begins as a single track that heads west along the south shore of Ward Creek. The trail branches twice early on at 0.3 miles and 1.5 miles. In both cases, you want to stay left as the right branch takes you down to Ward Creek. After the second branch the trail begins to climb in earnest and continues to do so for the next 5 miles. The trail is in good shape and is rideable the entire way. The trail gently switchbacks up the ridge toward Stanford Rock passing through pine and fir forest. In several areas, grand vistas of Lake Tahoe will open before you and beckon you to stop (as will the constant climbing!) As you round the ridge and turn more west, views of the backcountry abound. The trail continues up and up until you top out on Stanford Rock at 8473' and 6.7 miles from the trailhead. From here you have a tremendous view of Ward Creek Canyon and Twin Peaks. A trail continues on to Twin Peaks for the hardy. For the rest of us, begin a steep descent until you reach the trail junction marked with a wood post. Take a right into Ward Canyon and begin a killer 6 mile descent through sparse forest and meadowland full of mules ear, lupine, and hoards of other beautiful flora. Parts of the descent are very technical and need caution. The single track eventually crosses Ward Creek and turns into a double track which intersects Ward Canyon Rd. Turn right onto the paved road and finish the 2.5 miles of descent to Highway 89. Turn right onto the bike path and follow this 0.75 miles back to Ward Creek and your car.

Environmental Concerns: Once again, try to minimize erosion by staying on the trail. Walk bikes around wet areas instead of making a new path. On the descent, reduce skidding by keeping your speed under control. STAY ON THE TRAIL!

Advisory: This ride is completely on government land, but comes close to many private areas. The property owners on either side of the trail can be very protective of their property so please stay off their land.

 
 

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