Lake Tahoe, CA: Squaw Bike Trail

Experience Tahoe scenery without Tahoe crowds on this 12-mile riverside out-and-pack path which passes under rugged crags en route to the lake shore.
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Experience Tahoe scenery without Tahoe crowds on this 12-mile riverside out-and-pack path which passes under rugged crags en route to the lake shore.

A short distance from the Resort at Squaw Creek, the multi-use Squaw Bike Trail slices through Squaw Valley along the Truckee River as it heads out to western shore of Lake Tahoe. The path is well-paved, making it suitable for hiking and biking alike.

From the trailhead, head southeast along the deep-blue Truckee River passing statuesque evergreens and riverside marshlands. Wide granite boulders line the river and you may spot deer or fox along the shores as well.

After the trail winds past Bear Creek on the right, the 7000-foot Thunder Cliff and Twin Crags appear on the left. Continue along the cliff faces until you reach Lake Tahoe Park. Snow Valley Peak and Genoa Peak can be seen across the lake. From the park, you can see the entire span of the eastern shore from Crystal Bay to South Lake Tahoe. Soak in the views before backtracking to the trailhead or the resort’s bike rental shop.
-Mapped by Kari Bodnarchuk

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 19.1

Waypoints

SQT001

Location: 39.2052498, -120.2076797

Bike Rental at the Resort at Squaw Valley: To get to the bike path trailhead, head down Squaw Valley Road and cross CA-89.

SQT002

Location: 39.2046165, -120.1993332

Trailhead: Jump on the bike path at the junction of CA-89 and Squaw Valley Road. The path soon crosses the Truckee River and then follows its winding waters out to Tahoe City.

Note: Bike rentals are available at the Resort at Squaw Valley--see waypoint 1.]

SQT003

Location: 39.1971321, -120.1987534

The trail climbs uphill overlooking the river and passes under the CA-89 bridge before continuing a gradual ascent.

SQT004

Location: 39.1936836, -120.1968155

Just after a Z-shaped bend in the river, the path turns away from the Truckee and is flanked by grassy meadows--this is a good spot to look for deer and other wildlife. Ahead, there is an easy climb up to a great viewpoint overlooking the crystal-clear, jade-colored river.

Continue on the path for several more miles; when it ends, turn right onto the road, turn right at the next intersection, and head to Lake Tahoe Park (several hundred yards up on the left).

SQT005

Location: 39.1869316, -120.1952972

Caution: Cross Alpine Meadows Road (traffic pulling in and out).

SQT006

Location: 39.1670837, -120.1433334

Just past the covered bridge over the dam, Lake Tahoe Park has picnic tables that overlook the lake. Enjoy the views before backtracking back to Squaw.

Truckee River

Location: 39.193283, -120.1959229

© Kari Bodnarchuk

Truckee River Dam

Location: 39.1670525, -120.1441455

© Kari Bodnarchuk

Side view of the dam

Location: 39.1670857, -120.1441669

© Kari Bodnarchuk

Cruising

Location: 39.196875, -120.1996994

© Kari Bodnarchuk