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North Lake Tahoe on Two Wheels – Taking Tahoe By Bicycle

North Lake Tahoe is a truly special place. Few other regions in the world boast consistent bluebird skies and every kind of sport you could probably think of. Even fewer offer them pretty much all year round, inviting you to the thrill of an adventure from mountainside to lakeside all in the course of a day. 

Among those sports is biking, which comes in a number of forms from fat tire biking in the winter, to mountain and road biking in the spring, summer and fall. 

Riding a bike is more and more fun with every mile you pedal. In Tahoe, the experience is elevated to something unmatched, thanks to the region’s stunning beauty and ideal climate. 

North Lake Tahoe has easy rental options and trails for all skill levels, so you can pick and choose the adventure that’s perfect for you. To help you get started, we’ve put together this quick guide that’ll walk you through everything you’ll need to think about as you get ready to embark on your two-wheeled trip. Check it out! 

No Bike? No Problem! You Can Rent One—and Take a Tour

Explore an entirely new facet of North Lake Tahoe as you traverse its peaks and valleys by bicycle. Photo courtesy of Lefrak photography.

Good news: you don’t have to haul a bike up to North Lake Tahoe to enjoy an amazing biking experience. Throughout the region, there are plenty of vendors willing to loan their wheels to you, and provide you with insider information about how to navigate Tahoe’s breathtaking trails. 

We maintain a database of local bike shops, some of which provide rentals. You can explore the local bike shops by clicking here. Vendors like Olympic Bike Shop and Flume Trail Mountain Bikes can help outfit you with the right bike for your adventuring needs, recommend cycling locations for all ability levels, and even provide bike services like tune-ups or repairs. You can also rent e-bikes (electric bicycles), which are quickly growing in popularity (please note: not all trails in Tahoe are suitable for ebike usage; only those trails that are cleared for motor vehicle usage are e-bike eligible). 

Speaking of tours, these are really the best way for beginners (and long-time cyclists alike) to familiarize themselves with the region in a safe, expertly managed way. In addition to the vendors listed above, vendors like the Tahoe Adventure Company and Tahoe Trips & Trails provide specialized tours. 

First, Find a Place to Park

Any and all physical activity in the North Lake Tahoe region should be preceded by a hearty meal to keep your energy levels up. Make sure to bring plenty of water with you as well. Photo courtesy of Martis Valley Grille.

Before you hit the road on two wheels, it’s a good idea to find safe parking for your vehicle. If you’re staying at one of North Lake Tahoe’s resorts or lodging properties and bicycling directly from there, you’ve probably already got this covered. But if you aren’t cycling directly from your home base, you’ll need to have an idea of where you can stow your vehicle while you zip around the mountain. 

In order to manage demand and ensure community safety, North Lake Tahoe offers a number of paid and free parking places throughout the region. We ask that you stick to using those rather than inventing any parking spots of your own, as unmanaged parking (for example: on the shoulder of a busy road) can contribute to dangerous driving conditions as well as traffic collisions. 

To spare yourself some of the guesswork in finding parking, we encourage you to follow signage designating parking areas near the trailheads of your liking. You can also take advantage of online tools like the Tahoe Rim Trail Parking Locator and Trail Link to get along. 

Stay Nourished and Hydrated

Depending on the time of year, it can get pretty hot up here in our mountain paradise. Even when the temps aren’t so high, biking can be a highly strenuous activity—which is great for your physical fitness, but requires that you be mindful about your exertion and nutrition. 

At least an hour before hitting the road, we encourage you to eat a substantial meal that will serve as fuel for your excursion. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of restaurants throughout the region—and the majority of them now offer bites to go, making your chow-down that much more convenient. 

While we’re here, we’ll remind you of the importance of staying hydrated. Drinking plenty of water is important all the time, but especially when you’re sweating a lot from traversing one of the world’s most epic mountain ranges. For that reason, we urge you to bring a refillable water bottle with you, and to drink our delicious Tahoe Tap

Remember These Critical Safety Tips, and Take Advantage of Tahoe Resources

As you explore North Lake Tahoe by bicycle, we encourage you to take the following safety guidelines to heart: 

  • When there is a bike path available, please get on it! 
  • Be aware of the nearest repair shops before you go on a ride, in case of emergency. 
  • Bring a cell phone. 
  • Use proper hand signals and follow road traffic rules at all times. 
  • Do not mountain bike alone. 
  • Always bring extra clothingwater and food
  • Bring tools and an extra tire. 
  • Leave no trace and respect wildlife. 
  • Ride only on designated open trails and roads. 
  • Refrain from operating a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or other substances. 

You can also find these tips on our Lake Tahoe Biking Resources page, which you should bookmark and explore prior to your adventure. 

Pick a Trail, and Share It 

North Lake Tahoe is home to many trails of varying length, topography and difficulty. You can learn more about these trails by consulting local experts (like the ones you’ll find at bike shops), as well as consulting with online communities like AllTrails to get perspectives from other people who’ve explored the region. Please make sure to check if bike usage is permitted on a trail in advance of your trip. 

When you’re exploring Tahoe’s trails—like the Tahoe Rim Trail and the Tahoe East Shore Trail—we urge you to be mindful and courteous of other Tahoe adventurers. Make sure to provide sufficient space to other travelers, to maintain a reasonably cautious speed, and to be aware of how to contact emergency services just in case the need arises. Your caution and courtesy will make a world of difference for you and your fellow Tahoe community members, so we thank you in advance for practicing both. 

Perhaps most importantly of all, we hope that you’ll have fun as you get outdoors and reconnect with nature. We look forward to welcoming you to our mountain paradise and hope to see you on the trails soon. 

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