Tahoe Rim Trail

Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, California

Elevation Gain15,017ft
Trailhead Elevation7,890ft
Elevation Min/Max7023/9723ft
Elevation Start/End7890/7890ft

Tahoe Rim Trail

Tahoe Rim Trail is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in California and Nevada. It is within Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, and Van Sickle Bi-State Park. It is 37.4 miles long and begins at 7,890 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 65.1 miles with a total elevation gain of 15,017 feet. The Big Meadow can be seen along the trail. There are also parking, restrooms, and a wood along the trail. This trail connects with the following: Scotts Lake Trail, Approach to Luther Spires, Saxon Creek Trail, Armstrong Pass Trail, Willow Creek, Christmas Valley Trail, Pacific Crest Trail (TRT), Stinger, Freel Peak Use Trail, Van Sickle Trail, Freel Peak, Bp, Castle Rock Trail, Old Stinger Trail and Star Lake Trail.

Tahoe Rim Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

"The completion of the Tahoe Rim Trail has provided hikers, backpackers, equestrians and mountain bikers with a treasure so precious that it's hard to imagine that they?ve gotten along without the TRT for so long. The section described here, running through Nevada along the east and north edges of Lake Tahoe, offers an abundance of some of the most magnificent views anywhere around the lake. No other section of the TRT stays so close to the crest for so long, allowing numerous bird's-eye views of both the Tahoe basin on one side and the Great Basin on the other. Early to midsummer wildflower displays provide an added bonus. You?re apt to encounter a lot fewer people on this section of the TRT as well, especially in comparison to the extremely popular backcountry across the lake. The Carson Range, being east of the Sierra crest, receives half the amount of annual precipitation that falls on the west side of Lake Tahoe, a mere 15 miles away. Combined with the porous volcanic soils common to the range, the lack of groundwater contributes in part to the sparse forest that allows all those views. Trail users along this stretch of the TRT will face long, dry stretches where water may be hard to obtain, especially as the warm season progresses. An overall lack of water isn?t the only concern for backpackers, as decent campsites are also at a premium. These problems aside, a backpack along the Nevada section of the Tahoe Rim Trail is a worthwhile undertaking. With two major highways traversing the range, shortening the route or completing it in sections are viable alternatives. The incomparable views, vibrant wildflower displays, and high potential for solitude provide the necessary ingredients for a fine adventure." Read more
"Lake Tahoe is considered the premier natural wonder in northern Nevada, and this trip to South Camp Peak may provide the quintessential view. Don’t forget your camera, as even the most jaded photographer will be impressed by the vistas from the open slopes along the mile-long traverse of the peak. Getting there does require a 5-mile, 1875-foot climb along a waterless stretch of the Tahoe Rim Trail, but the scenic rewards are definitely worth the effort." Read more
Backpacking California: Mountain, Foothill, Coastal, & Desert Adventures in the Golden State (Wilderness Press)
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"Journey past Lake Tahoe basin’s highest peak (10,881 feet) to the Tahoe areas highest lake (Star Lake at 9100 feet) while enjoying a well-graded, beautiful trail that is not too difficult. Enjoy views of Desolation Wilderness, Lake Tahoe, ancient juniper trees, and a favorite section of the lightly forested Carson Range. For a real treat, head up to Freel Peak and then over to Jobs Peak and Jobs Sister, bagging three of the four highest peaks in the Tahoe basin. Star Lake is a great destination for families with older children. To top it all off, it is almost always less crowded than nearby Desolation Wilderness." Read more
"Views of Lake Tahoe from Snow Valley Peak are stunning. However, you’ll have to journey through 4 miles of dense forest before the lake is revealed in all its glory. A trio of vista points within the first 2.25 miles offers limited views for those who prefer a shorter hike, but they fail to compare to the awesome grandeur at the trip’s climax." Read more

Tahoe Rim Trail Reviews

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The map has a number of errors on it - once we got past that, the trail was very good (errors: the trail starts on the west side of the lift, take the level entrance into the forest after crossing the dirt road and do not go up "a stiff climb along a road for 75 yards or so", there are three lifts you will go under, and California is southwest of Nevada). Smoke obscured the views on the way up the trail which was disappointing, but had blown clear by the time we returned. There are two very good views of Lake Tahoe on this trail and very few people. Also, Star Lake is scenic in its own right. Note: If you are used to hiking up mountains and then back *down* them prepare your self - there is a total elevation loss, but plenty of uphill on the way back "down" the trail.

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Trail Information

Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
Nearby City
Van Sickle Bi-State Park
Spooner Lake Management Area
Local Contacts

Activity Feed

Dec 2018