The beginning of this beautiful section of the Tahoe Rim Trail is at 8700′ above the Sheep Flats (aka Tahoe Meadows) on the Mt. Rose Highway above Incline Village.

Our shuttle from the Flume Trail Bike shop next to Tunnel Creek Cafe in Incline Village to the Tahoe Rim Trail on the Mt. Rose Highway is available on even days only. Visit our Shuttle page for details. This shuttle gives access to many great loops in the back country. Below we describe a few.

It is often quite cool in the morning at the shuttle drop off site so bring a wind shell to start the ride. The first part of the trail from the trailhead parallels the highway and then descends through the meadows, over the bridge and briefly joins the Ophir Creek trail. Look for Tahoe Rim Trail signs directing you up and right onto the TRT after a quarter mile. If you stay on the Ophir creek trail you will end up at Davis Creek park in Washoe Valley. It is a very rough, rocky trail and a long way back to your car.

After a 265′ climb out of the meadows (the biggest climb until you reach the Tunnel Creek road) you begin to contour your way to the Tunnel Creek road. There are many great vistas of Lake Tahoe as well as Washoe Lake in Nevada. The contrast between the Tahoe basin and the Great basin is startling.

There are many small climbs and descents along the route toward the Tunnel Creek road in the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park. This section is moderately technical due to the many solo rock steps. Lofting your front wheel over the steps is a very useful skill to have in your quiver. Riders new to technical terrain will find this part of the trail frustrating. Think like a cyclocross rider if need be. Keep your bike moving even if you are not riding it!
At about 9 miles you will come to the Tunnel Creek Road (8000′).

From here you have many choices.

Quickest is to descend Tunnel Creek Road just over three miles back to our bike shop and cafe in Incline Village and where your car is parked. The total distance is about 12 miles.

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Some other useful data for this ride:

  • Starting elevation in Tahoe Meadows on the Mt. Rose Highway: 8740′
  • First climb: 265′ total climbing, 2 miles
  • Tunnel Creek road: 8.77 miles
  • Total distance and finish elevation at Flume Trail Bikes and our Café in Incline: about 12 miles, 6320′

The most popular option from the Tunnel Creek Road is to continue on the Tahoe Rim Trail over Marlette Peak – @900’ climbing and descend to Marlette Lake. Ride around Marlette to the Flume and follow it to Tunnel Creek. Then descend to the bike shop and cafe to your car. This is about a 24 mile ride.

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Some other useful data for this ride:

  • Starting elevation in Tahoe Meadows on the Mt. Rose Highway: 8740′
  • First climb: 265′ total climbing, 2 miles
  • Tunnel Creek road: 8.77 miles
  • Marlette Overlook: 12 miles
  • Marlette Lake: 15 miles
  • Tunnel Creek Road at the end of the flume: 21 miles
  • Total distance and finish elevation at Flume Trail Bikes and our Café in Incline: about 24 miles, 6320′
  • View the virtual ride at MTB Project.

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