Lake Tahoe’s Mountain Biking Guide – 4 Of Our Favorite Trails To Ride

By: Alex Silgalis

Did you know mountain biking started in California? Yup! As the sport gained popularity in the late 70’s, these rowdy riders began to embrace biking at Lake Tahoe. While the original “pedal pushers” rode iron steeds weighing in at close to 50 pounds with little to no shocks, we’re now very fortunate that technology has made the sport more welcoming AND enjoyable. If you’re looking to crank up the volume in the adrenaline category, consider trying one of these Lake Tahoe mountain bike trails.

Powerline – First Timer’s Perfect Intro

Mountain Biking in Tahoe

Distance: 12 miles (out & back)
Elevation Gain: 700 feet

When picking your first trail to try, there’s a few things to consider: Is it easy to navigate? Smooth for the most part? Great scenic views? Powerline ticks all these boxes and then some. Starting just off of Ski Run Boulevard, it parallels Pioneer Trail, winding through a well maintained pine forest with epic vistas for much of the ride. With some easy banked turns, a few gradual climbs, and two seasonal stream crossings, it gives beginners a taste of what to expect if you get into mountain biking.

Sidewinder / Corral – Switchbacks & Banked Turns

Corral Trail Lake Tahoe
Corral Trail Lake Tahoe | Photo: @trailpeek

Distance: Varies
Elevation Gain: Varies (up to 1,300 feet)

For those with a bit more experience in the saddle, and who are seeking more of a challenge on the south shore, head over to the Corral trail network. You’ll find an assortment of singletrack routes to sink your tires into like Corral, Sidewinder, and Incense Cedar. If you want to make it an even longer ride, pedal to the top of Armstrong Pass which leads to a whopping decent of more than 2,000 vertical feet.

Angora Ridge Trail – Nature and Vista

Angora Ridge Trail Lake Tahoe
Angora Ridge Trail Lake Tahoe | Photo: @brandonbible

Distance: 2.4 miles (out & back)

Elevation Gain:  570 feet

As most visitors flock to Emerald Bay or hike up Mt. Tallac, a less frequented area is the Angora Ridge region and a newer trail that was first opened back in 2017 thanks to a partnership between the USFS, TAMBA, and many volunteers. Following the Angora Ridgeline, which was carved out by the last glacial period, this trail provides amazing views of Fallen Leaf, Mt. Tallac, and Desolation Wilderness set amongst the conifers in a quiet setting. While it has an elevation gain of around 500 feet, due to the rocky nature of the soil, the “downhill” segment will keep you alert and can make you feel like you’re pedaling both ways.

Saxon Creek – THE Tahoe MTB Trail

Mr. Toads/Saxon Creek Bike Trail Lake Tahoe
Mr. Toads/Saxon Creek Bike Trail Lake Tahoe | Photo: @tequilagrapefruit

Distance: Varies (9 miles downhill)
Elevation Descent:  2,300 feet

We couldn’t have a list of mountain biking trails without including the trail that mountain biking enthusiasts include on their bucket lists. Aptly named “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride”, this expert & mostly downhill route can be accessed via a Luther Pass shuttle or done as a larger loop from Armstrong Pass. Once you get to it, you better be geared up because it’s going to throw everything at you like an extreme theme park. Words cannot do it justice. Try it if you dare. And remember, there’s no shame to walk the “crazy stuff” because it’s better to survive and ride again tomorrow then end up injured and stuck indoors.

Our Lake Tahoe Mountain Bike Trail guide showcases a taste of everything from the easy to the extreme. For more information on mountain biking in the region or to help the local community expand the trail network, visit the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association. Don’t own a mountain bike? No problem! Check out our bike rental page to get geared up and on your way into the mountains.

Looking for gentle rides for the whole family? Check out our Family Friendly Bike Rides post.

Related Resources:
9 Favorite MTN Bike Trails in South Lake Tahoe & Why

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