The Lake Tahoe area has seen the addition of many great trails over the last six years. Another trail is about to join this rapidly expanding inventory. Work is nearing completion on the new Kingsbury Stinger trail. The hope is that this trail will officially be completed sometime this fall, although there is a chance that it might not officially open until 2017. This is yet another project built through the cooperation of the US Forest Service and the Tahoe Area Mountain Bike Association (TAMBA).
There has been a long history of bootleg downhill trails built near the ridge top of Kingsbury grade on the Nevada side of the lake. The Forest Service spent a chunk of their scarce resources decommissioning some of these illegal trails in 2004 and again in 2009. This was an expense and labor that would have been better spent building new trails.
One of the foundations of the rebirth of TAMBA in 2010 was to get these trails rebuilt and officially included in the Tahoe Basin trail inventory. Once completed, this trail will be another success in the ongoing partnership between the Forest Service and TAMBA.
The Kingsbury Stinger is officially a reroute of an existing trail and will increase the trail’s length from the current 2.6 miles to over 4.5 miles. The Stinger starts from the Tahoe Rim Trail at almost 8,000ft and finishes in a neighborhood above Highway 50 at around 6,600ft. The trail is multi-use and is also open to motorcycles.
While the trail is wider than standard singletrack in order to accommodate motorized travel, this will also make the descent easier for intermediate riders. However, there are a number of technical rock features that more advanced riders will also appreciate. These features will have easier ride arounds for less advanced riders. Stinger is also being built for better sustainability and erosion control versus the old fall line version that it replaces. The trail also features some great views of Lake Tahoe.
While the Forest Service has been doing the heavy lifting, and in some cases, blasting, much of the work has been done by TAMBA volunteers. Already this summer there have been over a half dozen trail days on the Stinger, with several more scheduled through the fall.
One recent hiccup to the fall opening timeline was an accident on another volunteer trail project in the Tahoe Basin. A volunteer working with the Tahoe Rim Trail Association was seriously injured when he was hit by a tree and fell down a steep slope onto rocks. The man sustained multiple traumatic injuries and had to be airlifted out by helicopter. Because of this accident, all volunteer trail projects on Forest Service land in the Tahoe Basin where put on hold pending a safety review. Fortunately, after a one week shutdown, the safety hold has been removed.
There will be several more volunteer trail projects this fall. The next scheduled project is on September 21. Keep tabs on the TAMBA website for details on this and any future projects. You are welcome to bring your bike to test ride the trail afterwards. Of course, as with any volunteer trail project with the Forest Service, long pants, long sleeves, and sturdy shoes are required. Hard hats are also required–some will be provided, but bike helmets are acceptable.