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Tags:
Level: Advanced
Length: 13 mi (20.9 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Other
Elevation: +503/892 ft
Total: 38 riders
 

Mountain Biking Tahoe Rim Trail: Spooner Summit to Kingsbury Grade

⚠ Heads up: Trail access may be temporarily restricted due to COVID-19.
*****   Add a review
#873 of 1123 mountain bike trails in California
#1412 in the world

(amateur rider review): From Spooner Summit to "the bench" at the summit is mostly singletrack dirt, about 1300' of climb, none of it steep enough to be technical, but hard work. As you get higher, there are more rocks to jump, and loose scree on the top. The top offers an incredible, unobstructed view of Lake Tahoe. From "the bench" south go Kingsbury Grade is more technical with lots of trail fun, narrow slots, rock steps to jump down, and boulders to roll over. There are a few spots where the step is 1' - 2' or several in a row around sharp corners. Rock jumping potential is similar to TRT from Tahoe Meadows to Funnel Creek Road. Many people seem to prefer starting from Kingsbury Grade, riding to the summit, and back out the same way.

Before you go
  • No Drinking water
  • No E-bikes permitted
  • No Fat biking allowed in winter
  • No Fee required
  • No Lift service
  • No Night riding allowed
  • No Pump track
  • No Restrooms
Getting there
From South Lake Tahoe, take highway 50 east/north 14 miles into Nevada. After passing Spooner Lake and highway 28 on the left, Spooner Summit is about a half mile further. The Tahoe Rim Trail crosses highway 50 here. There is a parking loop and trail marker. Marked with a pin in this Google Map: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&mrt=all&ie=UTF8&msa=0&ll=39.103873,-119.896116&spn=0.013521,0.013261&t=h&z=16&msid=101211166210918646780.0004556aad453957f76b3
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Tahoe Rim Trail: Spooner Summit to Kingsbury Grade Trail map

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Trail conditions

Good (Nov 6, 2018)
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Reviews

  • chrisfroelich
    *****

    Great trail for those with good lungs. Elevation is mostly between 7500' and 8200' with a top elevation of 8400'. Combine that with some moderate climbs and it can test your fitness. If your going to shuttle, I prefer starting on the Spooner side and ending at Kingsbury parking lot. The trail seems directional to me when it comes to the technical aspects. As an intermediate rider, I can ride from Spooner to Kingsbury without bailing on all but a few features. From Kingsbury to Spooner, I have to get off my bike a couple dozen times. Weird, but true. You do give up descending about 3-4 miles of tasty flow that is on the North end when you ride this direction but that section is quite popular with hikers which interfere with the Zen like ride anyways. When you start at Spooner, be ready for some climbing to start. It's not beastly in grade, but it's fairly relentless. When you see the "bench" (literally, a log bench overlooking the lake), rest, hydrate, eat your Goo and enjoy the view for a moment. Then continue on my friends for incredible single track goodness. It's really a beautiful stretch of track. Stretches of flow, some shorter climbs, rocks, trees, views, exposure.... It's all here. Enough to keep your rapt attention, but nothing you need to be a pro or expert to finish.

    Now, if I'm not going to shuttle, I prefer to start my out and back on the other side. I go from Kingsbury to the "bench" and then turn around. That's the section with most of the fun and you don't start off with a killer climb that way. In fact, you lose it altogether. Along with the corresponding downhill, I know. But honestly, if I'm looking for flow trail after a climb there's better alternatives very close by (aka. Coral trail). Another bonus is that, except for the 0.5 miles from the parking lot to the TRT proper, this doesn't seem like a popular spot with hikers. Probably because the trailhead isn't on a major US highway.

    They have also recently completed the Sierra Canyon Trail that starts about 5 miles along the trail from Kingsbury. If you can, do it! After the best 5 miles on the regular trail, turn East at the trail marker for 9 miles of downhill pleasure. You drop about 4000' into the town of Genoa and then it's only a 15 minute drive to shuttle back up to Kingsbury. It's about 40 minutes to shuttle to Spooner from Genoa.

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  • abegold
    ***

    Get your lungs ready for 8000'. This ride is all about riding in the pines and the cool Tahoe weather.* Review edited 6/14/2011

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  • Sierradirtslayer
    *****

    Fun flowy trail. Started from Spooner summit and climbed for 5 miles, tiring climb to start. After bench, long stretches of Rocky down. Ended up going all the way to Kingsbury as a last second desicion and came all the way back. Coming back from Kingsbury was a slow techinical climb. Lots of fun to climb up steep rocks. Lots of drop potential. Overall fun trail, nice 5 mile downhill from bench back to spooner trailhead.

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