Description: We will describe the
ride by section, starting from the South Shore and traveling in a
the "Y" in South Lake Tahoe, head north on highway 89 toward
Emerald Bay. After a couple of miles, you will see the beginning of
the South Shore Bike Trail that runs parallel with the road, minus
the cars! After three miles, the bike trail ends and you continue
on the road. The road climbs past Cascade Stables then makes the steep
climb through four hairpin turns up to the ridge between Emerald Bay
and Cascade Lake. A fine lookout (Inspiration Point) exists just a
bit further on. After a short steep descent into Emerald Bay, you
climb again along the north side of Emerald Bay. Fantastic views are
had all along this stretch. The road now turns north again and continues
to climb for a mile or so where you pass the entrance to D. L. Bliss
State Park. There is a fine beach here, but it is all downhill to
the water...and, of course, all uphill back to the road! After you
top out, be prepared for several miles of thrilling downhill to Rubicon
and Meeks Bays. Meeks Bay has a small store and another fine beach
to sit and watch the lake.
Bay to Carnelian Bay: (Go
Meeks Bay, the road climbs a bit (nothing too long or steep) and continues
north through some fine Red Fir Forest and past Sugar Pine Point State
Park (a nice campground). The Erman Mansion is in the day use area
on the lake side of the road and is an interesting historical building
with a beautiful lawn and a dock. The campground is on the west side
of the road (water available) a mile or so past the day use area.
From Sugar Pine Point State Park to Tahoe City there is a bike trail
that you may or may not want to use. It meanders about a bit and adds
a few more miles and many road crossings making it somewhat inconvenient.
Most serious riders stick to the road. The section heading into Tahoe
City can get very crowded in the summer. Tahoe City has many places
to stop for lunch or a cold drink. For riders wanting to extend the
tour, you can take Highway 89 north to Truckee from Tahoe City, then
come back to Tahoe on Highway 267 (Brockway Summit) . This adds about
20 miles and 1500 feet more climbing to the ride. There is also a
bike trail for a few more miles from Tahoe City heading over toward
Carnelian Bay. Three or four miles out of Tahoe City you will climb
a short, steep hill up to Dollar Point, followed by a short, steep
descent! The road from Dollar Point to Carnelian Bay is most flat
with some short uphill and downhill sections.
Bay to Sand Harbor: (Go
east now on Highway 28 (North Shore Blvd), you pass the exclusive
(gated) communities of Agate Bay and Tahoe Vista, arriving at Kings
Beach after a five or six miles. If you opted for the extended route,
this is where Highway 267 from Truckee intersects Highway 28. Just
a couple miles east of Kings Beach, you pass the state line into Nevada.
You will know you are there when you see the CalNeva Hotel and Casino
flashing an invitation for you to come lose some money. From the state
line, continue east on 28 keeping an eye open for a right turn down
a short hill onto Lakeshore Drive. This road gets you off the main
highway for a few miles and allows you to gawk at some of the most
expensive houses in Tahoe. Lakeshore Drive intersects Highway 28 again
just past Incline Village where the road turns south. After three
miles or so, you will come to Sand Harbor, part of the Lake Tahoe
Nevada State Park (water available in summer).
Harbor to Zephyr Cove:
(Go to profile)
Leaving Sand Harbor, prepare for the toughest climb on the ride
as the road ascends steadily for nine mile (1700;) to Spooner Summit.
Of course, the slow riding gives you plenty of time to enjoy the fine
scenery as the road climbs through a beautiful Red Fir Forest. There
are some fine beaches along this stretch of shore, including Tahoe's
only nude beach...just look for all the cars parked along the road!
From Spooner Summit, turn right onto US 50 and enjoy the four mile
downhill with gorgeous views of the Lake Tahoe. On the way you will
pass Glenbrook, home to the rich and famous. The stretch of road from
Glenbrook to Zephyr Cove includes many more fine views of the lake,
but as you continue south, road congestoin increases. You can find
everything you need in Zephyr Cove including water, food, and a campground.
Cove to South Lake Tahoe "Y": (Go
From Zephyr Cove you climb a short hill, descend then climb another
short hill to Round Hill where you can even find a Safeway ( a clear
sign that you are approaching civilization). Proceding south on Highway
50 you will pass Kinsbury Grade (207) which takes you out of the basin
and down into the Carson Valley.
[If you are looking to seriously increase the mileage, ride over
Kingsbury Grade, down into the Carson Valley and turn right onto Foothill
Blvd. Follow this out to where it intersects Highway 88, take a right
and head up past Markleeville and up to Hope Valley. Turn right onto
Highway 89, climb over Luther Pass and continue down back into the
Tahoe Basin. Finally, turn right onto Highway 50 and back to the "Y"
and your start!]
From Kingsbury Grade, you will soon pass the Casino Corridor which
on a summer weekend may redefine "congestion" for you...cars,
busses, pedestrians, and even horse and buggies will be sharing the
road with you. Continue throung town for another seven miles back
to the "Y" and where you started. Alternatively, you could
turn left on Pioneer Trail (at the 7-11/Subway corner just past the
casinos) and take this less crowded, more scenic route. This road
will dump you out onto Highway 50 after about ten mile. Turn right
onto US 50 and ride back to the "Y" and your car. This variation
adds about five miles to the ride.
This ride can be dangerous in heavy traffic. During the summer, especially
on weekends, there are lots of angry drivers out there who resent
your prescence. Add to those freaks the "lets rent an RV and
go to Tahoe" set and you need to exercise extreme caution, especially
around Emerald Bay, Tahoe City, and South Lake Tahoe.