Sunday, August 31, 2008

Flume Trail

Yesterday I rode the Flume Trail and it was great. In fact, it was one of the most spectacular mountain bike rides I have ever done. I found it by looking at a tail map I bought recently. The start of the trail was at Spooner Lake. According to the map, this is about 10 miles from Incline Village.

I decided I would ride along Highway 28 to Spooner Lake and then take the trail back. This was a bit of a mistake. The ride along 28 isn't fun. There is too much traffic and the altitude gain is close to 1,000 feet along route 28 between Incline Village and Spooner lake. It didn't help that I was expecting a 10 mile ride along Highway 28 and it was closer to 13.

At any rate, I finally made it to Spooner Lake. The sign above shows the distances from Spooner Lake. The 4.5 miles to Marlette Lake are almost all uphill, and pretty steep in parts. I was ready for some downhill riding by the time I got to the lake. Luckily it was almost all downhill from there.

Marlette Lake, as viewed from the head of the Flume Trail.

Head of the Flume Trail.

I'm not sure why the trail's historic, except for the fact that the sign says so. It was incredibly windy when I got to this point. I was glad to be heading downhill. Going uphill into the wind would be pretty difficult at this point.

Lake Tahoe View

Sand Harbor

The view from the trail was really amazing. My photos don't do it justice. It's difficult to get the perspective correct. I'm about 2,000 feet above the lake at this point.

Flume Trail Corner

The photo above gives you an idea of the beauty of this trail. You can also see how sandy the trail can get at certain points. The rocks are a brilliant white color, especially when contrasted against the blue water of Lake Tahoe.

At points along the trail I was reminded of Mykonos and Santorini. The brilliant whites and blues along with amazing views. The wind through the pine trees is also reminiscent of Greece.

The Flume Trail decends less than 100 feet during the entire run. At the end of the trail, there is a hair raising descent that takes you back to 28 at Hidden Beach or to Incline Village at the Ponderosa Ranch.

If you're interested in avoiding the ride along 28, I would recommend trying the Flume Trail Shuttle. Simply park at Spooner Lake and make it to Ponderosa Ranch at the end of Tunnel Creek Road between 1pm and 5pm. The shuttle leaves every hour on the hour and only costs $12. Parking at Spooner Lake is $6 per car or $2 if you bike in. For more details on the the ride, the shuttle and Spooner Lake, see Flume Trail Mountain Bikes.

For a slideshow of these photos (and a few more), click here.