Tahoe / Truckee Ride Suggestions- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Tahoe / Truckee Ride Suggestions

    Hi fam - planning a trip up to Tahoe in a few weeks for 2 full days of riding. Looking for aggressive UC style trails as well as epic ride suggestions. Have heard of Mr. Toads (likely snowed in still by late June?), and Jackass in Truckee. Any other recommendations? Going to be a kid-free weekend so I would like to plan a few LONG rides to take advantage of the added time. Feel free to DM me if would rather keep trail intel off the interwebs. Cheers.

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    All trails in South Lake Tahoe are open with the exception of a rather large drift at the turnoff to Freel Pass on TRT west of Star Lake. But that is always the case right there. A few drifts on Toads, but all are passable. There are a few drifts heading south from Spooner but all that is open as well.

    I would hit up OTE for a shuttle to Heavenly and ride TRT from there to Star Lake, and Star Lake Connector down to Cold Creek/Powerline. Absolutely ripping.

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    Quote Originally Posted by twowheelmotion View Post
    All trails in South Lake Tahoe are open with the exception of a rather large drift at the turnoff to Freel Pass on TRT west of Star Lake. But that is always the case right there. A few drifts on Toads, but all are passable. There are a few drifts heading south from Spooner but all that is open as well.

    I would hit up OTE for a shuttle to Heavenly and ride TRT from there to Star Lake, and Star Lake Connector down to Cold Creek/Powerline. Absolutely ripping.
    Exceptional. Thank you for the info! Would you recommend staying in Truckee or SLT? Just going to be there for two nights and would rather pick one as base camp.

  4. #4
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    Stay in Truckee, ride Truckee and go north if you want. Spend a day riding down south - I would venture to guess that Truckee is more "open" than SLT - not even sure I should be advocating travel but who knows! Jackass plus the other friends, top of 267ish, shops are happy to share the trail info with you.

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    If I had only 2 days, I'd pick one side of the lake. There's plenty to ride, and driving from/to Truckee to/from south lake takes quite a bit of time.
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    In my opinion south lake if better if you are alone as most the good trails are mapped on Trailforks and easy to navigate. More than enough trails there to last 3 full day of riding.

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    So is it kosher now to go up there? And do I dare mention lodging?

    Asking for a friend

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    Quote Originally Posted by ananth View Post
    So is it kosher now to go up there? And do I dare mention lodging?

    Asking for a friend
    I've been trying so hard to be good and not head up...
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    Im not sure social distancing is a thing anymore...
    I guess we will see in about a week or so if Covid cases spike or not.

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    Well.. my friend is more concerned if the threat of a $1000 fine for lodging is still a thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ananth View Post
    Well.. my friend is more concerned if the threat of a $1000 fine for lodging is still a thing.
    In south lake Tahoe, I believe it still is. Up in Truckee, last I heard, short term rental should reopen mid June.

    Actually, per the town of Truckee:

    Message from Visit Truckee Travel to Truckee, Coming Soon
    Truckee, a Nevada County town, is now preparing for Stage 3 businesses to reopen as soon as Friday, June 12th pending local health official approval. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, our community has been operating with the utmost in safety and precautions and continues to implement the highest standards of cleanliness across industries. Stage 3 would allow for the safe reopening of hotels, lodges, bars, wineries, campgrounds, and fitness centers. Please note that the stay-at-home order is still in place and leisure travel (non-essential travel) to Truckee is prohibited at this time. Travel/lodging for business or essential work is allowed. We look forward to this changing very soon and welcoming you back to Truckee.
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

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    Thanks.. that sounds encouraging!

    Regarding South Lake, they do know there are multi-storey buildings on the other of side of of Stateline that seem to be fully open for business?

    In any case, I'd rather wait a few weeks if it means I have to deal with less BS.

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    State of California seems to be indicating that hotels / short term rentals should be a go by June 12th. I am planning my trip for later in the month.

    https://covid19.ca.gov/pdf/guidance-...ng-rentals.pdf

    Clearly counties will make their own decisions but it feels like momentum is finally shifting towards opening up.

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    That's my buddies bus in the photo. By this weekend, you'll be fine.

    Martis is firing right now.

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    Upper Big Chief in Truckee. You will not be disappointed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mlloyd007 View Post
    Upper Big Chief in Truckee. You will not be disappointed.
    I rode big Chief but did not enjoy it that much. Definitely worth riding at least once.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zorg View Post
    I rode big Chief but did not enjoy it that much. Definitely worth riding at least once.

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    Really? Both Upper and Lower? I found Upper super fun; Lower was low angle and dragged on and on. Next time I'll drive to the top of Upper and session that a few times.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mlloyd007 View Post
    Really? Both Upper and Lower? I found Upper super fun; Lower was low angle and dragged on and on. Next time I'll drive to the top of Upper and session that a few times.
    Lower is definitely less fun, and overall the trail has its moments. It's just that the trail keeps alternating between flowy and rocky. One moment you're riding at Mach 2, and all of a sudden you're in a rock garden. I couldn't find a good rythm. Just my 2 bits.

    Everyone should ride it at least once, and it's a nice loop with 06.

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  19. #19
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    If one was to make a ride of it out of Northstar, a fun route would be up Village Run, out the XC center trails to the TRT, up to Watson, down Big Chief, back through 3 Bridges (or is 2 Beavers more fun that direction? I can't remember which is which), then up the road back into N*? Any other ideas for ways to connect that don't involve the heinous 700/900 climb?

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKD View Post
    If one was to make a ride of it out of Northstar, a fun route would be up Village Run, out the XC center trails to the TRT, up to Watson, down Big Chief, back through 3 Bridges (or is 2 Beavers more fun that direction? I can't remember which is which), then up the road back into N*? Any other ideas for ways to connect that don't involve the heinous 700/900 climb?
    I would climb up Martis peak and then take that section of TRT all the way down and around towards Big Chief, and then back. No idea what mileage and elevation would be, but that descent off Martis on the TRT is good.

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    That is a good long-ass ride... probably looking 30+ miles and 5k+ vertical
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brah View Post
    That is a good long-ass ride... probably looking 30+ miles and 5k+ vertical
    Yeah, I feel like you'd be pretty knackered by the time you got to Big Chief and not enjoy it as much. I've done the top of Martis/TRT but then cut off the TRT when it's just above Carnelian Bay, and end up down a little trail called Dirk's, which pops you out right at Garwoods. Stash your bike on the beach and sit on the patio with a cold one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nilswalk View Post
    end up down a little trail called Dirk's, which pops you out right at Garwoods. Stash your bike on the beach and sit on the patio with a cold one.
    Dirk's is really fun, I need to connect it up with Garwoods
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    Quote Originally Posted by zorg View Post
    Lower is definitely less fun, and overall the trail has its moments. It's just that the trail keeps alternating between flowy and rocky. One moment you're riding at Mach 2, and all of a sudden you're in a rock garden. I couldn't find a good rythm. Just my 2 bits.

    Everyone should ride it at least once, and it's a nice loop with 06.

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    Best way to hit that up IMO is to park at Squaw and ride Western States-->Wallternate-->TRT->>OTB-->06 Road back up-->Upper Big Chief-->06-->Deer Creek

    You got options to go bigger if you want to stay on the TRT all the way to Watson Lake or climb the Peak if you're feeling frisky.

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    Speaking of Tahoe, would I be giving myself a bad time if I rode Mr. Toad's on my hardtail? (It's all I've got.) I know, back in the day that's what people did, but with all the other good options in the Tahoe area would I be squandering my limited time? I'm running 2.8 inch tires, so a fair bit of cush, and I've enjoyed riding rocky sections of the TRT, as well as Stile Ranch and Rocky Ridge here in Santa Teresa, but if I'd be better off riding elsewhere instead of checking that classic trail off my list, I'll gladly skip it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott M View Post
    Speaking of Tahoe, would I be giving myself a bad time if I rode Mr. Toad's on my hardtail? (It's all I've got.)

    Can't be any worse than riding Big Chief on a hardtail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott M View Post
    Speaking of Tahoe, would I be giving myself a bad time if I rode Mr. Toad's on my hardtail? (It's all I've got.) I know, back in the day that's what people did, but with all the other good options in the Tahoe area would I be squandering my limited time? I'm running 2.8 inch tires, so a fair bit of cush, and I've enjoyed riding rocky sections of the TRT, as well as Stile Ranch and Rocky Ridge here in Santa Teresa, but if I'd be better off riding elsewhere instead of checking that classic trail off my list, I'll gladly skip it.
    Yes, itd be good. Better than Truckee since the rocks over there are more jagged in my opinion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by powpig View Post
    Best way to hit that up IMO is to park at Squaw and ride Western States-->Wallternate-->TRT->>OTB-->06 Road back up-->Upper Big Chief-->06-->Deer Creek

    You got options to go bigger if you want to stay on the TRT all the way to Watson Lake or climb the Peak if you're feeling frisky.
    That sounds fun!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott M View Post
    Speaking of Tahoe, would I be giving myself a bad time if I rode Mr. Toad's on my hardtail? (It's all I've got.) I know, back in the day that's what people did, but with all the other good options in the Tahoe area would I be squandering my limited time? I'm running 2.8 inch tires, so a fair bit of cush, and I've enjoyed riding rocky sections of the TRT, as well as Stile Ranch and Rocky Ridge here in Santa Teresa, but if I'd be better off riding elsewhere instead of checking that classic trail off my list, I'll gladly skip it.
    I'd rent a dualie, wherever you go.
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott M View Post
    Speaking of Tahoe, would I be giving myself a bad time if I rode Mr. Toad's on my hardtail? (It's all I've got.) I know, back in the day that's what people did, but with all the other good options in the Tahoe area would I be squandering my limited time? I'm running 2.8 inch tires, so a fair bit of cush, and I've enjoyed riding rocky sections of the TRT, as well as Stile Ranch and Rocky Ridge here in Santa Teresa, but if I'd be better off riding elsewhere instead of checking that classic trail off my list, I'll gladly skip it.
    I think if all I had was a HT, I'd prefer to ride down Armstrong, but that's just me - for me the joy of Toads is pinning it and personally I could not do that on a HT

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBoardman View Post
    I would climb up Martis peak and then take that section of TRT all the way down and around towards Big Chief, and then back. No idea what mileage and elevation would be, but that descent off Martis on the TRT is good.
    Martis and Big Chief in one day would be . . . a very big day out.

    Currently thinking about shortcutting some of the TRT by going up Village Run to the XC trails (Tryumph, for you N* downhillers) then connecting with the Fiberboard to where it connects with the TRT near Watson Lake. Then on to Big Chief and back into N* via 2 Beavers and the Martis Camp perimeter trail (or sucking it up and doing the 700/900 climb to get in some bonus DH on the way back home).

    I know N* is more or less closed until later this summer, but has anyone poached the park yet? Not looking for anything wild, just wondering if the connections down from mid-mountain are in good shape.

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    Surprised no one has mentioned Tyrolian yet. Good shuttle ride and a fun DH trail, other than all the washboard sections haha

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    Quote Originally Posted by nilswalk View Post
    Yeah, I feel like you'd be pretty knackered by the time you got to Big Chief and not enjoy it as much. I've done the top of Martis/TRT but then cut off the TRT when it's just above Carnelian Bay, and end up down a little trail called Dirk's, which pops you out right at Garwoods. Stash your bike on the beach and sit on the patio with a cold one.
    I rode from Garwoods to Baldy (above Martis) and back via Hello Kitty (parallel to Grinder and Pickup Sticks) today. Its just over 26 miles and 4500 ft of climbing.
    Hello Kitty is a newer trail with more flow than Grinder and ends at the bottom of Dirks.

    If somebody wants to do TRT from Martis and then Big Chief, I think a shuttle is the best bet for most people.

    While the descent to 267 is really good, avoid weekends as theres just too many hikers.


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    Quote Originally Posted by jonesjus View Post
    Hello Kitty is a newer trail with more flow than Grinder and ends at the bottom of Dirks.
    Duly noted! Haven't ridden that area for a few years now. Thanks for the tip!

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    Okay, so all of this advice has been super helpful. My current plan (please let me know if any comments!)

    Day one morning: ride the Tahoe Triple Crown route (https://tahoemtbfestival.com/meyers-triple-crown/)

    Afternoon: drive to truckee, easy shuttle lap or two (Tyrolian? any others?)

    Day two morning: Rboardman's recommended route of Martis + Big Chief

    Day two afternoon: drive to downieville on the way home, afternoon shuttle down the classic route.

    Thoughts? (aside from it being a lot of climbing, I am okay with climbing a bunch so long as the descents are epic!!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Endubro45 View Post
    Okay, so all of this advice has been super helpful. My current plan (please let me know if any comments!)

    Day one morning: ride the Tahoe Triple Crown route (https://tahoemtbfestival.com/meyers-triple-crown/)

    Afternoon: drive to truckee, easy shuttle lap or two (Tyrolian? any others?)

    Day two morning: Rboardman's recommended route of Martis + Big Chief

    Day two afternoon: drive to downieville on the way home, afternoon shuttle down the classic route.

    Thoughts? (aside from it being a lot of climbing, I am okay with climbing a bunch so long as the descents are epic!!)
    Sounds great but not sure you will have enough hours in the day to pull it off. South Lake Tahoe to Truckee is about an hour's trip plus whatever you'll need to properly stage the shuttle runs. Truckee to Downieville is about a 1.5 hours drive and again, whatever time you need to pack up from Martis + Big Chief (which by the way, is mostly 1 way trip so you have to figure out how to get back to your car) and the time needed on the Downieville end to park and get ready and jump on a shuttle.

    If you pull it off, though, that would be epic!

  38. #38
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    Subscribed. Truckee, North Lake was my greatest discovery last. Jackass, Watson, near Big Chief were legit.

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    If TRT/Martis to Big Chief is in the plan, there's ground water flowing across the TRT just before Watson Lake. I use it every time a Steripen is a lot lighter than a couple liters of water, and it's a logical place to take a break.

    It's possible to loop TRT/M and BC using the Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway and some off-menu roads. 7-11 store just before you hop on the TPB to take the edge off the 40-mi loop. Also a market in Glenshire a few miles east.

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    If I can tack on to this thread - same geo, different needs. Planning to stay on donner lake with wife and kids (6.5,8.5) in August. Looking for the following rides:

    1) quick 1 hr morning ride(s) for me - maybe donner rim trail or JPs?

    2) long shuttle ride (mostly blue, some easier black) for me - thinking mt watson to big chief. thinking I need a pro shuttle as my minivan might not get me there!

    3) family ride - my wife will want super chill - thinking emigrant?

    4) short limited cimbing with 6.5 yo - he is game to try small jumps and small tech challenges. he likes top of UCSC for reference. optional challenges for me would be fun. jackass? or we may just do truckee bike park.

    any edits or alternatives to above? I considered hole in the ground for #2, but the tech doesnt seem like the fun kind of tech to me (e.g., stairs)

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    If you are in Truckee, there was this one really fun out and back singletrack ride I did probably a decade back, its off 89 (but from 80 I believe 267 is the highway listed most prominently on the off ramp). You'd take that offramp and head north (right from Reno, left from Sac) and go down a few miles.

    I think this link is the location, it has a small dirt area, and it was near a creek. https://www.google.com/maps/@39.3957...m1!1e3!5m1!1e3

    That is what I got.

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    Quote Originally Posted by garcia View Post
    If you are in Truckee, there was this one really fun out and back singletrack ride I did probably a decade back, its off 89 (but from 80 I believe 267 is the highway listed most prominently on the off ramp). You'd take that offramp and head north (right from Reno, left from Sac) and go down a few miles.

    I think this link is the location, it has a small dirt area, and it was near a creek. https://www.google.com/maps/@39.3957...m1!1e3!5m1!1e3

    That is what I got.
    That is Emigrant Trail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shmadge View Post
    If I can tack on to this thread - same geo, different needs. Planning to stay on donner lake with wife and kids (6.5,8.5) in August. Looking for the following rides:

    1) quick 1 hr morning ride(s) for me - maybe donner rim trail or JPs?

    2) long shuttle ride (mostly blue, some easier black) for me - thinking mt watson to big chief. thinking I need a pro shuttle as my minivan might not get me there!

    3) family ride - my wife will want super chill - thinking emigrant?

    4) short limited cimbing with 6.5 yo - he is game to try small jumps and small tech challenges. he likes top of UCSC for reference. optional challenges for me would be fun. jackass? or we may just do truckee bike park.

    any edits or alternatives to above? I considered hole in the ground for #2, but the tech doesnt seem like the fun kind of tech to me (e.g., stairs)
    1. Yes, if you're staying on Donner Lake, do JPs
    2. Yep, Mt Watson to Big Chief would be sweet. You should be able to get the minivan all the way to Watson Lake. You can enter the asphalt fibreboard freeway from 267. You'll have to climb Mt Watson to access the single track up there but it would be worth it! Recommended route:Watson Peak to TRT to top of Fire and Ice, ride road to OTB, down OTB to 06, 06 to Upper Big Chief
    3. Emigrant is great. There's also some fun easy singletrack in the Tahoe XC area. Paige Meadows in Tahoe City is also good.
    4. Find the whoops trail in the Tahoe XC center. You'll have fun "whoops" without the traffic on Jackass

    Optional Rides
    Long ride - Watson Peak to TRT to Fire and Ice to TRT Pained Rock to Walternates to Western States
    Longish ride - Stanford rock
    Longish ride - Out and back TRT to Martis Peak

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    Quote Originally Posted by sfmtber View Post
    1. Yes, if you're staying on Donner Lake, do JPs
    And if you're going to do JP's, you've got Jackass and other superfun trails in that vicinity.
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    Thanks! Looks awesome. I did your optional ridge (fire and ice, painted rock) a couple years ago and it was perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by sfmtber View Post
    1. Yes, if you're staying on Donner Lake, do JPs
    2. Yep, Mt Watson to Big Chief would be sweet. You should be able to get the minivan all the way to Watson Lake. You can enter the asphalt fibreboard freeway from 267. You'll have to climb Mt Watson to access the single track up there but it would be worth it! Recommended route:Watson Peak to TRT to top of Fire and Ice, ride road to OTB, down OTB to 06, 06 to Upper Big Chief
    3. Emigrant is great. There's also some fun easy singletrack in the Tahoe XC area. Paige Meadows in Tahoe City is also good.
    4. Find the whoops trail in the Tahoe XC center. You'll have fun "whoops" without the traffic on Jackass

    Optional Rides
    Long ride - Watson Peak to TRT to Fire and Ice to TRT Pained Rock to Walternates to Western States
    Longish ride - Stanford rock
    Longish ride - Out and back TRT to Martis Peak

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Full Belly Deli was the business each time!!!
    As an FYI to people planning on heading up to Truckee from out of town:

    FBD isn't allowing customers inside, so the front of the line is at the normal double door entrance. Burger Me is doing the same, as are a bunch of other food spots I'm sure. So when you arrive expect to see a larger crowd than normal outside.

    I would *highly* suggest calling ahead and paying over the phone. Then when you arrive to get your sandwich you wont have to wait in any of the lines, or linger around any of the crowd or even talk to anyone. You just walk up to the door and grab the bag with your name on it and head elsewhere to eat.

    I just grabbed a sandwich from there around 11:15am today (Friday) and when I arrived there was a line of 10-12 people waiting to order plus another ~10 people sitting around waiting for their food. No distancing and no masks in sight. You'd only actually know Covid-19 is a thing because nobody is allowed inside.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brah View Post
    And if you're going to do JP's, you've got Jackass and other superfun trails in that vicinity.
    +1 to this. Jackass is a really fun trail that you can do a few laps on in a short amount of time.

  48. #48
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    Emigrant will be blazing hot in August. For the ultra-chill I'd pick Tahoe XC where there's more shade. You can put a route together on Trailforks. The lower trails are all super-buff.

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    Thinking about doing a midweek mon-thurs trip next week (jackass, toads, road ride around the lake) and don't know my way around. Is anyone going to be up there and want to link up?

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