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  1. #1
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    Good loop starting at/near Big Meadow

    My wife and I are riding around Carson this weekend. What would be a good > 20 mile loop out of Big Meadow? We are more XC oriented but have no problem with technical. Fit and ready to climb. Toad's is an obvious choice but what else? Looking at maps some end but being more out and back. Thanks in advance.

    Ian

  2. #2
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    Good loop starting at/near Big Meadow

    Out and back to the PCT on the Big Meadow Trail. Side trips to Scott's Lake and Dardanelles Lake are worth the time.
    On the way back, take the turn off for Christmas Valley for a fun, long downhill. It's a grunt to climb out at the end, but the climb is paved and goes quick. You can also park at the bottom of Christmas Valley and start your ride with the paved climb.
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  3. #3
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    I lost a lot of my gps tracks, a variation of above that makes more of a loop, is to start riding towards Toads a couple miles starting from the Big Meadows parking area. Take the grass lake trail on the right, there is a small stream crossing shortly after you turn. Take this back to 89 and go left up the pavement to the summit, there is a pullout on the right just before the summit sign with the elevation on it. Near the boulders take an old paved trail, watching very closely for a trail on your right in around 200 feet. Take this trail (Not on any maps) until it dumps out onto a fireroad, go right and do the short climb up to Scott Lake. You can then drop the Scott lake trail back down to the TRT, then go left to xmas valley trail. Extend with out and backs to the PCT & or Dardanelles. Ride the road back up to Big Meadows from the bottom of x-mas, once back at 89, just cross the road and take the back way into the Big meadows parking. And Brewtality is right, best to park at the bottom of x-mas vally trail, nice to end on a downhill
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  4. #4
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    Thanks,
    Got a link to a map? This is off the TRT or TAMBA's.

    Ian

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    You should try and pick up the Tahoe adventure map when you get into town. None of these trails are on the Tamba map.
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  6. #6
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    Great. Thanks for the help!

  7. #7
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    Do that ride TBC described - you can add a loop up old Meyers Grade to Echo and down Hawley Grade as a bonus... about 30 miles exactly.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Good loop starting at/near Big Meadow-bigmeadowride.jpg  

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  8. #8
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    These might help

    Quote Originally Posted by TahoeBC View Post
    ...start riding towards Toads a couple miles starting from the Big Meadows parking area. Take the grass lake trail on the right, there is a small stream crossing shortly after you turn. Take this back to 89 and go left up the pavement to the summit, there is a pullout on the right just before the summit sign with the elevation on it. Near the boulders take an old paved trail, watching very closely for a trail on your right in around 200 feet. Take this trail (Not on any maps) until it dumps out onto a fireroad, go right and do the short climb up to Scott Lake. You can then drop the Scott lake trail back down to the TRT, then go left to xmas valley trail. Extend with out and backs to the PCT & or Dardanelles. Ride the road back up to Big Meadows from the bottom of x-mas, once back at 89, just cross the road and take the back way into the Big meadows parking. And Brewtality is right, best to park at the bottom of x-mas vally trail, nice to end on a downhill
    Here are two GPS tracks that include much of what TahoeBC speaks of. The stream crossing is almost exactly 2 miles up the TRT toward Toads. Both tracks go by Scotts Lake. This track includes an out and back from Big Meadow to Dardanelles Lake and this track includes an out and back to the PCT.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wherewolf View Post
    Here are two GPS tracks that include much of what TahoeBC speaks of. The stream crossing is almost exactly 2 miles up the TRT toward Toads. Both tracks go by Scotts Lake. This track includes an out and back from Big Meadow to Dardanelles Lake and this track includes an out and back to the PCT.
    Thanks to all for the info.
    How would that compare to say an out and back to Star Lake. Another loop described is the Cold Creek, Star, Monument, Van Sickle loop which sounds great, nice and high, but requires a SLT start.

    Ian

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    That "cattle trail" is a nice one... very pretty.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brah View Post
    That "cattle trail" is a nice one... very pretty.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by pistonbully View Post
    How would that compare to say an out and back to Star Lake. Another loop described is the Cold Creek, Star, Monument, Van Sickle loop which sounds great....
    Never done them that way. Here is a 29 mile loop starting from Oneidas over Armstrong Pass, to Scotts Lake, up TRT from Big Meadow, and back over Armstrong Pass. I like both going up and coming down Armstrong. This track adds 5 miles to that as an out and back to Dardanells Lake. I suppose you could do something like this as a loop starting from Big Meadow too. But TahoeBC's first suggestion would have much less climbing.

  13. #13
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    If you include Christmas tree valley, don't ride the road back up. It's a fabulous climb on its own.

  14. #14
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    The problem with an out and back to star lake are the switchbacks heading up to Freel pass, there fun going down but generally pretty tough to ride up this time of year, maybe the recent thunderstorms have helped a bit, but plan on doing some hike a biking up there. Your also going over two pretty high passes twice, one way is tough for a lot of folks. Bring lots of water and possibly a water filter.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by pistonbully View Post
    Another loop described is the Cold Creek, Star, Monument, Van Sickle loop which sounds great, nice and high, but requires a SLT start.

    Ian
    Yes a SLT start, but a great ride. I just wish Cold Creek was a little more "user friendly" going up. Nice trail tho. Someone mentioned you could bail off it to the right partway up and grind the rest on service road up to High Meadow, then hit Star. I may try that next time. I did an up/back to Freel on this trip.
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  16. #16
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    Thanks.
    So one last question. How about the TRT up to Armstrong pass. The maps show a trail the drops down to a jeep road returning to 89 and the start of the cattle trail. Is that 1 mile down just a hike a bike until the jeep trail?Name:  armstrongtohope.PNG
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    Looks like it could make a nice loop

  17. #17
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    you mean return back the way we descended?

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    Quote Originally Posted by pistonbully View Post
    Thanks.
    So one last question. How about the TRT up to Armstrong pass. The maps show a trail the drops down to a jeep road returning to 89 and the start of the cattle trail. Is that 1 mile down just a hike a bike until the jeep trail?
    Looks like it could make a nice loop
    I do that all the time but as an out and back loop from Armstrong Pass. I've already posted those tracks. Going down the other side of Armstrong Pass to the fireroad and Hwy 89 there is a relatively short bit of technical stuff I don't ride. But everybody else I've ridden with makes all of it. On the photo below mile 22 to about 32 is the TRT climb from Big Meadow trailhead to Armstrong Pass. Mile 4 to about mile 15 is Hwy 89 to Big Meadow TRT. I've never heard the Cattle Trail name but on some parts it is barely a trail.


  19. #19
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    Thanks
    So when the fireroad ends you go right up 89 and look for the left on to the trail to Scott's?

    The climb up from big meadow to Armstrong looks like mostly a steady climb.

    Ian

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by pistonbully View Post
    Thanks
    So when the fireroad ends you go right up 89 and look for the left on to the trail to Scott's?
    The fireroad ends at 89. Go directly across, slightly left, and there is a short section of pavement and a few boulders to weave through. You then go down a sandy pine cone strewn section for a few hundred yards until you hit some old pavement being reclaimed by nature. Turn right and stay on that old pavement for perhaps a half mile. When you see the yellow "no snow mobiles" sign look for the faint trail a few yards before it on the left. Both are barley visible in the photo below. I have enough time so I made you a map of the section from Hwy 89 to Big Meadow.


  21. #21
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    Again thanks to all for the info. We did the TRT to Armstrong pass and down to Scotts Lake loop. Great ride though cattle creek is pretty lumpy in the middle.

  22. #22
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    Must have passed each other in opposite directions. I took mileage readings to key spots for you but obviously they are no longer needed. TRT out to PCT has suffered from some obviously major storms recently. Huge areas of big rock, debris and mud have been moved around and a huge gully was formed by what must have been a massive river.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by TahoeBC View Post
    I lost a lot of my gps tracks, a variation of above that makes more of a loop, is to start riding towards Toads a couple miles starting from the Big Meadows parking area. Take the grass lake trail on the right, there is a small stream crossing shortly after you turn. Take this back to 89 and go left up the pavement to the summit, there is a pullout on the right just before the summit sign with the elevation on it. Near the boulders take an old paved trail, watching very closely for a trail on your right in around 200 feet. Take this trail (Not on any maps) until it dumps out onto a fireroad, go right and do the short climb up to Scott Lake. You can then drop the Scott lake trail back down to the TRT, then go left to xmas valley trail. Extend with out and backs to the PCT & or Dardanelles. Ride the road back up to Big Meadows from the bottom of x-mas, once back at 89, just cross the road and take the back way into the Big meadows parking. And Brewtality is right, best to park at the bottom of x-mas vally trail, nice to end on a downhill
    About how many miles is this loop if you ride out and back to the PCT and ride Christmas Valley?
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Widgeontrail View Post
    About how many miles is this loop if you ride out and back to the PCT and ride Christmas Valley?

    This is the loop TBC prescribed for us when we visited Tahoe the first time last year. I'm not familiar with Tahoe, so I'm not sure how close it is to the above route description, but it should be fairly close since I recognize a few names. Thought I'd post as a reference. The photos taken on this ride can be found here. I remember it being gorgeous.
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  25. #25
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    Mudworm has it, they extended a bit doing an out an back on the TRT past the grass lake trail, so it would be shorter mileage and vert wise tha the stats she posted.
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