The Tahoe Rim Trail

Tahoe City to Brockway Summit (19.2 miles)
By Tim Hauserman
Alpine Meadows
Looking west towards Alpine Meadows, Squaw Valley and the Pacific Crest (Photo © Tim Hauserman)

Excerpted from The Tahoe Rim Trail by Tim Hauserman

This section is strenuous. It is long and requires a good deal of climbing, and can be quite hot in the summer when it is also mostly waterless. During the first 2 miles, sharp rocks on the trail might be hard on the feet.

Best Seasons
While portions of the trail at lower elevations can be utilized from late May to early November, higher elevation areas keep the snow until later. The snow melts first along the first several miles north of Tahoe City.

This section includes a pleasant open forest with a wide variety of plants. Much of the area has been extensively logged over the years, so you will see mostly smaller, newer growth trees. Views of the lake are found in several locations. You can also enjoy mountain views of Twin Peaks, Alpine Meadows, and Squaw Valley from several places along the trail. Watson Lake, while not the most beautiful lake along the Tahoe Rim Trail, is a pleasant shallow lake nestled among the trees you will find two-thirds of the way through your hike.

Heads Up!
This is a long stretch and water is in short supply. No year-round water sources exist except for Watson Lake located 12.5 miles from Tahoe City and 6.7 miles from Brockway Summit. Watson Lake is shallow and has water that does not look enticing to drink. (These days, you should treat water from even the most sparkling lakes.) A stream east of Watson Lake may be available in the early season. Bring lots of water if you're hiking this section! With many road crossings and much off-highway-vehicle (OHV) use, don't be surprised to hear or see cars close to the trail. For mountain bikers, the rocky terrain can be challenging, even frustrating. This section is not recommended for beginner riders.

Getting There
Tahoe City to Brockway
From the Tahoe City "Y" at the intersection of Highways 89 and 28, go 0.2 mile west on Highway 89 toward Truckee. Just past a gas station (a Chevron at the time this book is published), turn right on Fairway Drive. Drive another 0.2 mile to a parking lot and the Fairway Community Center on the right. If this parking lot is full, you can park (weekends only) at the Tahoe City Public Utility District offices about 0.1 mile back toward Highway 89. Your trailhead is across the street from the center.

Brockway to Tahoe City
From the intersection of Highway 28 and Highway 267 in Kings Beach, drive 2.75 miles north on Highway 267 to the TRT trailhead. Look carefully—it is easy to miss. Parking is available at the road pullout on the left, at 0.5 mile before Brockway Summit. The trail starts right at the downhill edge of the parking area. If you plan on mountain biking this section, it is best to head south from Brockway Summit toward Tahoe City, although either direction will challenge you with steep, rocky terrain that includes technically challenging sections.

Article © Wilderness Press. All rights reserved.


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