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Tahoe Route Question

Old 04-06-12, 04:54 PM
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Red_Leaf24
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Tahoe Route Question

I want to bike around Lake Tahoe, and just drove around the lake. The standard Hwy 28 to 50 to 89 is 99% fine for cycling, but the climb (going clockwise) at Emerald Bay looks like a death wish--no shoulder, tall cliff, lots of tight turns and steep climb.

I checked online but can't find any routes posted. Does anyone have a link to an around the lake route that avoids the deadly road near Emerald Bay?

Thanks!
RL
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Old 04-06-12, 08:23 PM
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3alarmer
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Short answer.......no

My brother in law has a cabin up there, and he's done the
route a couple of times. He uses the road along the lake at
Emerald Bay, and knows of no other that does not take
you so far out of the way that it isn't worth it.

there is something doable on a mountain bike called the
Tahoe Rim Trail (?). I've been on a couple of sections
and those were nice, but I've not done the whole thing,
and it's a few days at least to do the circumference.

Not even sure the whole thing is bikeable.

Lastly, there are a couple of organized rides that are scheduled
every year, so the fact that there are a whole lot of bikes and
that the organizers make some arrangements makes it a little safer.

I'm probably gonna try it with my brother in law this year, but
I gotta agree with you, the road stretch you mention just looks
like there is no margin for error, and I always try to allow myself
an out.

Last edited by 3alarmer; 04-06-12 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 04-06-12, 09:45 PM
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The only way I know of is climbing Emerald Bay grade. An early start to avoid the traffic on that stretch is important.
Bike the West puts on the America's Most Beautiful Ride in June, and Tour De Tahoe in September. The course map is posted on the website.
I have done the America's ride several times, and it is not that bad. I am used to riding the roads around Lake Berryesea during the summer though.
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Old 04-07-12, 07:42 PM
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I have done that stretch several times. It is my buddies regular riding route. We are off it by 09:30 on the southbound leg. Generally go northbound around 13-15:00. never had any problem southbound. Just control your speed northbound at the bottom around the pullouts and parking lots. People come out of nowhere.
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Old 04-07-12, 09:03 PM
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SR-89 is the only paved way through Emerald Bay. If there are unpaved ways, i don't know about them. As long as you don't do EB northbound in the afternoon of a weekend, you should be okay; the rest has wide enough lanes to keep you pretty safe. Even the narrow part (uphill northbound, downhill southbound) isn't very long. Frankly, the stretch on US 50 always scares more.
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Old 04-07-12, 09:12 PM
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Have ridden around the lake a number of times. Just get an early start from South Lake Tahoe and you should be up and over the Emerald Bay climb before there's much traffic.
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Old 04-08-12, 10:57 PM
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Thanks for the responses. Should I be going clockwise, or counterclockwise? I would have started from North shore, but based on the feedback, it sounds like I should start in the South.

Thanks
RL
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Old 04-10-12, 03:41 PM
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Clockwise has the benefit of keeping you on the lake side of the road so you don't have to cross to get to scenic viewpoints and you'll have better views while continuing to ride. From a traffic standpoint I'd suggest starting quite early at the Nevada end of S. Lake Tahoe. That way you avoid the town traffic and hopefully get up and over the Emerald Bay climb before traffic picks up. You'll still hit some traffic in Tahoe City, but that's usually not too bad.
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Old 05-02-12, 12:30 AM
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Will be doing this next week...thanks.
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Old 05-02-12, 08:46 AM
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The locals should tell me if I'm mistaken, but I'm under the impression that there are way, way better rides in the Sierras. I think the road conditions and the speed and volume of traffic would make the Tahoe loop a chore. If you want to do it, do an organized ride when there will be lots of bikes out: https://www.bikethewest.com/
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Old 05-03-12, 11:21 AM
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Clockwise is best as you are on the lake side. You also descend Spooner this way instead of climbing up that, which is quite unpleasant. Frankly, you should start the loop wherever it is convenient. I would not drive around the lake to start at a different point. There are crappy parts on the ride wherever you start. IMO, the "scariest" part of the ride is not Emerald Bay at all. it is the part coming down Highway 50 from Spooner towards SLT. There is a big shoulder, but the traffic is hauling a$$, there are trucks, and the shoulder is peppered with drainage grates that are scary at 50+mph (which you will be doing down this stretch). Emerald Bay is totally fine. most people driving that are doing it slow and easy and a bike is pretty easy to see, slow down for, and give a wide berth too. I did not feel uncomfortable on that stretch at all. The worst part of the ride is basically from Zephyr Cove to the "Y" in SLT. Traffic, stoplights, construction, crappy motels, etc. Best part of the ride is the shoreline from Incline past Sand Harbor, and also around Emerald Bay. Beautiful. As ROJA says, there are much better rides in the area, but the lake ring is a checklist thing so you gotta do it. One and done.
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Old 05-03-12, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by ROJA View Post
The locals should tell me if I'm mistaken, but I'm under the impression that there are way, way better rides in the Sierras. I think the road conditions and the speed and volume of traffic would make the Tahoe loop a chore. If you want to do it, do an organized ride when there will be lots of bikes out: https://www.bikethewest.com/
That's certainly my impression (having been in Truckee for a long, long, long, long long time )..... Markleeville comes to mind..... Donner Summit, Gold Lakes, and others..... Frankly, the Emerald Bay section is the best part imho.... turistas are at least going slow there..... for me, the ride around the lake = STRESS..... for vistas of the lake bring the MTB... for epic road riding hit the surrounding passes.... but then, what do I know .....
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Old 05-03-12, 12:48 PM
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Here's a ride report I did when my brother and I rode around the lake in 2010.

We went clockwise. While Emerald Bay seems scary, cars are generally going slowly. The scariest part I recall was actually leading up to Emerald Bay...before it came into view. The road is fairly twisty and narrow and people are moving along quite quickly.

We started from North Shore, about 5 minutes outside of Tahoe City. We thought about driving down to south shore and getting through Emerald Bay first but decided against it due to the amount of time it would consume.
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Old 05-21-12, 08:29 PM
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im going to be in south lake tahoe june 2nd - june 6th, bringing my bike any of you guys want to go riding or know a smaller ride I could jump on during the week?
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Old 05-21-12, 08:51 PM
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Somebody mentioned the Rim Trail if mountain biking. A magnificent part, I would call a must, is the Flume Trail on the East side of Tahoe. It starts at Spooner Lake (central east side) and ends in Incline Village. The views above the Sand Harbor area are to die for.

https://www.theflumetrail.com/

Road biking around the lake must be great as well but I would chose a weekday and probably off season. It can be very busy traffic wise and is definitely a clockwise ride. I don't think the Emerald Bay climb will be the most difficult, the Incline Village to highway 50 climb is much longer.
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Old 05-21-12, 09:21 PM
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sorry road, and I like climbing the lake sounds fun would like to get in any decent climbs in the area on a 50+ loop if anyone wants to go or knows a small group I can join in on let me know. I saw that it just so happens that americas most beautiful ride is on june 3rd that would be perfect except it is closed... I couldnt find any group rides at the shops listed for road just a bunch of mountain rides if anyone is from the area it would be of help
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