Tahoe unmasked: A high-energy escape to the Sierra | Travel

Once reaching the end of Flume Trail, all that remained to stay injury free was a three-mile, 1,500 feet descent to the finish line.

That trip-starter mountain bike ride was merely a precursor for my Tahoe getaway grand finale — a 73.86-mile, 6.5-hour bike ride circumnavigating Lake Tahoe. It had been six years since my previous lake bike journey, which explains why I was sucking more wind navigating the 4,476 feet elevation gain.

With my hydration pack fully loaded, a couple of energy bars, banana and some nuts, I hit the road clockwise (closer to the lake) starting at Kings Beach and within minutes, entered Nevada at the legendary Cal-Neva Lodge (closed for renovations since 2013), once owned by Frank Sinatra.

From there, the Tour de Tahoe continued past Incline Village, Glenbrook, back to California at Stateline on the South Shore where I instantly detoured off the traffic-jammed Lake Tahoe Boulevard (Highway 50) onto side streets and a fairly new (4-5 years old) bike trail through a forested area where I came within photo-opportunity viewing of a mama grizzly and two cubs. After a quick stop, off I went.

That perfectly timed adrenaline rush proved to be the extra boost needed to push me up the most difficult — and scenic – section of the ride with the an 800 feet uphill, switchback road that, at one point, yields a 12% grade. But the reward is an A+ view of Emerald Bay.

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