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Lake Tahoe, CA: Pope-Baldwin to Inspiration Point

This paved 11.4-mile out-and-back travels Lake Tahoe’s mountainous southwest shoreline to an overlook with views across Emerald Bay.

Rating

With several scenic detour options, Pope-Baldwin Bike Path tours the lakeside between Pope Beach, the first of Tahoe’s southwestern sands, and Baldwin Beach. Sierra Nevada Mountains line the western landscape, while the alpine azure of Lake Tahoe teases your eyes to the east. From Camp Richardson, follow the trail west. For an optional side trip, turn left at mile 0.5 onto Fallen Leaf Road where Tahoe’s tallest mountain, Mount Tallac, looms behind the lapping waves of Fallen Leaf Lake. The route continues along the bike path to Baldwin Beach Road (second side trip). Turn right onto the paved access road to Baldwin Beach—a birding and picnicking haven. Retrace your steps back to the Pope-Baldwin path. Continue straight for about a mile, then turn right on CA 89. From here, the route to Inspiration Point climbs 400 feet of elevation along the highway shoulder. Rewarding overlooks of Tahoe make three arduous switchbacks worth the workout. At mile 4.3, pass Emerald Bay Campground. For another optional side trip, turn right into Emerald Bay State Park, a designated underwater park and summertime favorite of scuba divers. Cascade Lake and Tahoe come into view as you climb the narrow road. At mile 6.4, take in the forested lakeshore panorama at Inspiration Point before turning back the way you came.
Mapped by Kari Bodnarchuk

To Trailhead

From South Lake Tahoe: Drive northwest on Tata Lane toward Lake Tahoe Boulevard. In 500 feet, turn right onto Lake Tahoe Boulevard. Turn left onto CA 89 and continue straight for 2.6 miles. Camp Richardson will appear shortly after Jameson Beach Road.

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