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Level: Intermediate
Length: 20 mi (32.2 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Out & Back
Elevation: +630/ -607 ft
Total: 161 riders

Mountain Biking Emigrant Trail

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#24 of 1,003 mountain bike trails in California
#450 in the world

With its mellow rolling singletrack, the out-and-back ride on the Emigrant Trail is a good choice for novice and intermediate riders. Emigrant is also one of the first trails to shed the winter snow, so it also makes a good early season warm-up.The singletrack starts off paralleling the north side of Prosser Creek, but soon turns uphill to the left to cross a dirt road. Follow the singletrack all the way to Stampede Reservoir. Along the way you will cross a number of dirt roads, but the main crossings are marked and the way across the minor ones are pretty obvious. This is an out-and-back ride, all singletrack, mostly rolling hills, and not very technical.

First added by dppaladino on Apr 30, 2005. Last updated Apr 30, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
As you drive to the trailhead on CA-89, you will pass the Donner Encampment historical site. You can ride from the historical site parking area, but the most popular trailhead is just past the Prosser Creek bridge on CA-89, north of Truckee. If you reach Hobart Mills Road, you've gone too far.
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Emigrant Trail Trail map

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Trail checkins

Dillon Osleger (on Oct 10, 2019)
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Trail conditions

Good (on Aug 9, 2017)
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Rider questions

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  • Josh Harrison

    Good trail for beginners. Climbs are all pretty short. Nothing technical, but just enough rocks here and there so that it is still mountain biking. It drys out early season so it is one of the first trails that one can ride up in the Jeffrey pines each year. It is fun, but if you like carving turns, tech, or downhill then you will probably be a bit bored. There is a bit of trail across the road too...also you can access the mtb and moto trail called "Animal" across the street that has a nice, rowdier downhill. In general this is a fun one to ride a few times in early season to get back into shape.

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  • asparks65

    great trail with plenty of mileage if you do an out-and-back. Super nice single track with enough rocks and roots to keep you on your toes. Plenty of wildlife to view also. Reservoirs are pretty in June.

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  • Joesilvestri

    So most reviews rate this a beginner trail. Ang I agree it's not overly technical, but the climbs are constant, there are plenty of rocky sections, fitness is a must

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  • dirtgabe

    Easy rolling singletrack, very smooth u can almost ride a cross bike. Road whole thing in middle chainring and recommend u bring lots of water because of the warm weather and altitude.

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  • knanier

    Good ride for the area. Some elevation gain, but doable for beginners.

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  • bakerdoug20

    Rode this trail yesterday. Started from the Prosser Creek Bridge. The trail was well marked and well maintained. Some good flowy sections of singletrack. Not super challenging, minimal climbing, but some good fast power sections.

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  • Sierradirtslayer   ✓ supporter

    Good first Tahoe trail ride of the year. Typically melts off quicker than all the others. A couple rocky sections, not much. Some mellow climbing and a few downed trees. Someone stacked logs to make the downed trees ridable. Fun to power through after work.

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  • markridesjudy

    I have a deep affection for the Emigrant Trail because it was here I developed a love for mountain biking (and later road biking as well). What can I say, this is a good and moderately challenging trail. Great uphill and downhill areas as well as open valley areas for blazing trails. Absolutely, stunning scenery and geography as well.

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  • dbalunis

    This is a great trail for a family single-track introduction. We rode the trail while camping at Stampede Reservoir – a first time single-track experience for some of the family members - everyone enjoyed it. Nothing too technical, but sufficiently interesting to keep the more experienced family members entertained. I highly recommended to anyone in a like situation, or anyone looking for a scenic low-key but fun ride.

    BTW, coming from the Stampede Reservoir side, the trailhead is on the right immediately past to the turnoff to the boat ramp.

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  • spackler

    Very fun ride. Terrain is rolling so you never climb for more than 1/4 to a 1/2 mile at a time, but on the down side you only get 1/4 to 1/2 mile downhills. As of today (10-20-07) the trail is great shape with just the right amount of moisture to increase traction. This should take a bit over 2 hrs. round trip to Stampede Lake and back from the turn-out by Prosser Creek. Earlier the better as the dog walkers come out around lunch time it seems. It is very easy to follow. Just stay on the well travelled singletrack with the no dirt bike signs every few hundred yards and you can't miss it. During weekends and peak tourist season it can get busy, but most of those types turn around within the first mile or so, leaving only fairly experienced riders going the full distance. Just a friendly reminder if you do not ride in higher elevations often.... you have to ride back on what you just rode out on, and this trail has longer downhill sections on the way out.

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  • Juan_Gear

    It was time to start my end of summer treks to the Sierra, which usually starts with a few trips to Lake Alpine. Decided to try this instead and was not disappointed; it was a great training ride at just under 24 miles. Just under 2.5 hours with the single speed, trail is not well marked, so keep to the single track and tire tracks and you should be fine. I love riding at the edge of tree line and will be back* Review edited 8/18/2007

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  • Valerie

    Great fun - but very crowded

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  • zhongchien

    Fairly standard trail, good as training, not much fun, as there are no fast downhill sections, berms, drops, jumps, or actually anything technical.

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  • Doug_Houston

    Great trail for beginners and might be ideal for a family outing. Smooth single track with modest elevation changes and very few technical sections. Lots of fun and one of the most perfect single-spped treks around.

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  • southtahoeman

    as of 5-3-06, the trail is dried out for the most part, a few creek crossings. lots of up and down. 3-4 hour ride

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  • xtrsmith

    I lost my front teeth on this trail and had to drive back to LA that way, but this is a dope ride. Nice and fast. Go singlespeed if you're a monster.

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