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5 Trail and Beverage Pairings to Try in North Lake Tahoe

Last updated: January 2022

Sometimes, what you need is a full day of adventure—food, drinks, and sport to get your heart pumping. That is exactly what you will find with on one of North Lake Tahoe’s Ale Trail hikes or rides. With a thriving craft beer scene cropping up in the region, any one of these watering holes offer the perfect pairing of refreshing beer and human powered sports.

We’ve rounded up a list of our favorite trails and nearby pubs, restaurants, and breweries serving up cold beers and tasty bites for a post-adventure treat. Give these 5 adventures a try this fall.

Shirley Canyon Hike & PlumpJack Café

If you’re looking for an intermediate level adventure, try the Shirley Canyon Hike. The trail is about a 2.5 mile excursion to Shirley Lake, making this the perfect half-day hike with large granite boulders and exquisite views of Squaw Valley. Once you make it up to Shirley Lake, you can head back down the mountain for happy hour, or continue up 1 mile to High Camp. If you do continue up the mountain to High Camp, there is a shuttle back down with breathtaking, panoramic views of Squaw Valley.

Bring Fido along for the hike and enjoy a drink after on the dog-friendly outdoor patio at Plumpjack Café. Their seasonally-curated menu uses fresh and local finds. Try out a fragrant bowl of Lavender Onion Soup served along with their selection of craft beer and house cocktails and wonder why life can’t always be this good.

If you’re inclined to try a more relaxed spot, an amble down the road will land you at Auld Dubliner Irish Pub. This cottage bar, with its wood interior and cozy decor is the ideal location for a laid-back night with friends. Sit down for traditional Irish fare or a mouthwatering hamburger which—along with a refreshing brew—will fill your belly and warm your soul.

Brockway Summit to Backyard BBQ

Photo Credit: Jeff Freeman

This moderate hike spans 3 miles and ends with a breathtaking panoramic view of Lake Tahoe. There are various starting points that allow hikers to extend or shorten the hike for their specific challenge levels. Note: if you’re planning on going in the cooler seasons, you might want to bring a pair of ski poles along to keep from slipping.

Stop off afterward at the Backyard BBQ and Bar at The Ritz CarltonThis year-round back patio offers guests a casual dining experience with a “brews, blues, and BBQ.” The restaurant specializes in locally sourced St. Louis-style smoked ribs, brisket, and pulled pork sandwiches. Traditional sides with a twist, saloon-inspired cocktails, and local craft beers are served up in this relaxing outdoor venue.

Tahoe Rim Trail & Tahoe Mountain Brewing Co.

Photo Credit: Big Blue Adventure

This classic North Lake Tahoe trail is a fan favorite. With sweeping views of the lake, sustained climbs and winding descents, this 20-mile stretch is perfect for experienced mountain bikers, and the views are well worth the work. If you get tired along the way, Watson Lake provides a quick pit stop with gorgeous views from the high meadow and wildflowers peppering the view.

Take a break after at Tahoe Mountain Brewing Co. This local favorite offers something for every palate with their wide selection of year-round and seasonal brews. Hungry? This brewpub also offers American dishes and a friendly, warm atmosphere.

Flume Trail & Tunnel Creek Cafe

Photo Credit: Ryan Salm Photography

This iconic, moderate bike ride takes cyclists through approximately 14 miles of gorgeous and open views of eastern Lake Tahoe. Bring your own bicycle or pick up a rental for the day, zip through the trail, then consider heading back down using the shuttle (free to those who rent a bike). Once the shuttle takes you back down, treats in the form of a gift shop and café await.

Stop for gifts and then grab a big bite at the Tunnel Creek Café for a cozy end to a long bike ride. Conveniently tucked right at the end of the Flume Trail the rustic mountain café offers a variety of beers on tap, classic café meals and espressos. The simple and casual café is a local hub where you can be sure to meet some friendly faces.

Tyrolean Downhill & Mountain High Sandwich Co.

Photo Credit: Bartkowski Photography

This easy–to–moderate bike trail is exhilarating, with nearly 2,000 feet of descent. If you’re looking for a fun, zippy ride, this trail is for you. More experienced riders can find jumps and berms to take your biking adventures to the next level.

Rehydrate at Mountain High Sandwich Co. with beers, ciders, or fresh cold-pressed juices after wrapping up the trail. Choose a classic or custom sandwich, and wash it down with a brew for a laid-back Tahoe experience. Vegetarian and vegan eaters—rejoice! You too can enjoy variety of options for meat and dairy free sandwiches.

With year-round opportunities for adventure in the North Lake Tahoe area, there are plenty of outdoor activities to partake in.

Check out the interactive Ale Trail map for other trails and excursions. Cheers, and stay hydrated!