someone mountain biking an advanced trail in lake tahoe

Advanced Bike Trails in Lake Tahoe: Our Favorites

September 14, 2023

You’re dreaming of heading downhill fast – and we’re here to help!

Lake Tahoe mountain biking is known to be great for all levels, but seasoned mountain bikers can feel particularly at home on our more advanced trails. It’s not hard to find intense climbs, long trails, thrilling switchbacks and technical routes just a short drive away from the shore of Lake Tahoe. 

If you’re building your Lake Tahoe mountain biking hit list, you need to consider where your home base will be. Lake Tahoe is a big place, so considering the different areas of the lake while making your plans can cut down on driving and streamline your biking adventure. 

As longtime enthusiasts of all things Lake Tahoe biking, we’ve compiled our favorite paths for advanced mountain biking in each area around the lake. 

Here are our favorite advanced mountain biking routes near Lake Tahoe!

a mountain break tire rolling through rocks on a trail

Top 3 North Lake Tahoe Advanced Biking Trails

The Flume Trail

  • Trail Type: mildly technical
  • Distance: 27 miles

Easily the most popular and challenging trail in this part of Lake Tahoe. If you do any route during your trip, it should be this one. The Flume Trail is a bike-friendly part of the much larger Tahoe Rim Trail that offers mildly technical portions suitable for beginner and intermediate bikers (if they hop off and bike hike for some of the steeper sections). If walking your bike for portions seems annoying, all will be fixed when you see the jaw-dropping views at multiple areas of the trail. Keep in mind: this trail requires a shuttle! Make plans for the shuttle beforehand to streamline the riding experience. 

popular flume bike trail with large boulders next to Lake Tahoe

Painted Rock Loop

  • Trail Type: mildly technical
  • Distance: 18.4 Miles

If you can’t get enough of the trail and want your ride to last forever (but still need to head home at a reasonable hour), the Painted Rock Loop is a great option. This path is connected to the Tahoe Rim Trail system near the northwest section of the lake. A significant challenge for even very fit cyclists, the climb is long, but the views are worth it. The trail is not technical, but the long inclines and confusing trail system make it more suitable for advanced bikers. You’ll see mountain and lake views and beautiful trails at multiple peak moments.

someone holding up their mountain bike while on the painted rock loop trail

Sawtooth Ridge Trail

  • Trail Type: mildly technical
  • Distance: 10.5 miles

Near North Tahoe in the neighboring town of Truckee, you’ll find this gem – the Sawtooth Ridge Trail. The smooth, undulating single track makes for a very welcoming trail, but the length of the loop makes it best for intermediate bikers. There are a few rock gardens to traverse, some climbs to achieve, and some views to enjoy before you take the fun and easy serpentine downhill ride back to the start of the loop.

Top 5 South Lake Tahoe Advanced Biking Trails

Corral (with Sidewinder option)

  • Trail Type: singletrack
  • Distance: 9.2 miles

Sidewinder and Corral tracks are fantastic routes for your intro to South Lake Tahoe mountain biking. You can find these tracks a short drive from South Lake Tahoe, and it is well worth the drive – this track is known to be easy-going and fun. The uphill climb on the fire trail is smooth but pretty tough, and shuttles are available to cut down on the hill climbing. The downhill is a local favorite that will be as fun your 100th time as it is your first. 

The Bench

  • Trail Type: singletrack
  • Distance: 13 miles

The Bench Trail is on the southeast side of Lake Tahoe, just a few miles from the shore. This is another bike-friendly section of the Tahoe Rim Trail, so you can expect to see others on the trail as you pedal. Bikers love this more advanced biking trail for its length and stunning lake views. There can be some larger rocks to walk over, but overall, the trail is a lovely ride. 

a view from the bench overlooking north lake tahoe

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride – Meyers

  • Trail Type: singletrack
  • Distance: 20 miles

One of the most popular advanced mountain biking trails near Lake Tahoe, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride is a top-rated technical biking trail in the state. You need to pay your dues with 3200′ vertical feet of climbing involved, but the downhill makes the excursion perfect for adrenaline junkies. And the best part is once you get to the top. You have uninterrupted downhill fun for the rest of the ride! This downhill is technical and should only be enjoyed by advanced or plucky intermediate bikers. 

mountain bike wheel

Monument Pass and Cold Creek

  • Trail Type: singletrack
  • Distance: 10.2

Monument Pass and Cold Creek trail has many little hidden gem sights to spy as you pedal, from waterfalls to trout ponds and rock climbing spots. With its not-too-long-not-too-short length, Monument Pass and Cold Creek trail is also popular for hikers, so keep an eye out as you go around turns. 

Hole in the Ground

  • Trail Type: point-to-point
  • Distance: 11.2

Hole in the Ground is a point-to-point near Soda Springs, CA, can be rocky and steep, so if you see a moderate rating anywhere, take that with a grain of salt – most bikers find it quite challenging. You’ll ride past boulders, snow melt, overturned trees, and more that may require hopping off your bike and hiking a while. But once you finish the climb, the downhill is a fantastic time. 

bike shoes and mountain bike

Top 3 Bike Trails Near Lake Tahoe

Tahoe Pyramid Bikeway

  • Trail Type: semi-paved
  • Distance: 49.6

While this bike path is projected to be about 50 miles, it still has some paving to do before it’s completed. The Tahoe Pyramid Bikeway is a planned bikeway connecting Lake Tahoe to Pyramid Lake. While some sections still need work, the bikeway is largely usable, and you can get some serious miles between the two lakes. This pathway is mostly flat and great for bikers who want an excellent distance workout.

South Yuba Trail

  • Trail Type: out-and-back
  • Distance: 15.1 miles

The South Yuba Trail is a singletrack experience with inconsistent ups and downs instead of sustained climbs – perfect for those tired of long bouts of uphill. This gorgeous trail is not incredibly popular, so you can get some trail fun without needing to share too much. The downfall of this trail (no pun intended) is that it is known for having fallen trees covering the course, so expect to have to navigate around these. Also, thanks to its proximity to the creek and lack of people, bring bug spray. 

Donner Lake Rim Trail

  • Trail Type: out-and-back
  • Distance: 15.1 miles

Looking for a mountain biking wonderland? Head to Donner Lake. The Donner Lake Rim Trail is excellent for groups with various biking levels because multiple trails in this area range from intermediate to difficult. These trails can have snow a large portion of the year, but there are so many course options that you can turn around and find another trail if you run into any barriers!

Get Prepared for Lake Tahoe Biking

There are so many fun advanced biking trails in Lake Tahoe. While you may have your setup for the extensive hill shredding, make sure you have what you need for some easy cycling around town as well! Big Blue Bike Rentals can hook you up with quality cruisers, e-bikes and kid’s bikes for an amazing trip. From helmets to bike trailers to bike locks, you will have everything you need to have a fantastic time in the saddle!

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