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Tahoe Rim Trail - Spooner Summit South to the Bench


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TollerMom

“Embrace the solitude and beauty that are the essence of the Tahoe Rim Trail.” The Tahoe Rim Trail is one of the world’s premier trails. It passes through two states (California and Nevada), six counties, one state park, three National Forests, and three Wilderness areas. This spectacular trail is 165 miles of single-track multiuse trail, winding peak to peak around Lake Tahoe. It is a trail that offers something for everyone! Hiking and horseback riding are allowed on all portions of the trail, while mountain biking is allowed on the trail with the exception of the wilderness areas, the section that is in the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park, and on the sections of trail that overlap with the Pacific Crest Trail.

To quote from the TRT website...Truly, a 'Trail like No Other'.

Last Saturday, the weather was perfect and I was jones-ing for a good hike. Much of the hiking in the higher country in and around Lake Tahoe is still snowed under, but reports are coming in that the snow is melting off in some areas. My friend and I decided to hike a portion of the Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) out and back. We chose the section from Spooner Summit (Hwy 50) heading south towards Kingsbury North. We were headed to the 'Bench' and back. We stated up about 8:30 am, winding our way up along the switch backs.

Keeping an eye open for Lions and Tigers and Bears..OH MY! And discussing what we should do if we saw one...and trying to figure out how to attach the pepper spray to the front of our pack as opposed to fumbling around in our pack to find the little cannister. And finally wondering if pepper spray will really ward off an attack anyway. The rebirth of the forest, as see from the old burn and the prolific new growth, gave us pause.

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We walked past natures Christmas Tree Farms...literally.

I can't recall seeing horizontal moss before.

About 3.75 miles into the hike we began to see snow on the trail at about 8500 feet.

And this is why my little Camelbak day pack weighs 16 pounds on any given day. Who would have thought I would have need to don Yak Traks on an 80 degree day. We hiked about another half mile or so through snow drifts so large they covered the forest floor and the trail.

Were it not for the trail runner who blazed tracks ahead of us, and the occasional marker in the trees (which we didn't see until we were headed back down) we'd have lost the trail for sure. After leaving the snowy forest for the more exposed areas, we caught our first glimpse of the lake and we knew we were nearly to the 'Bench'.

Aptly named, the Bench is just that. An old, carved log fashioned into a bench, a memorial to a long time Tahoe resident.

The views from the bench are spectacular!

All in all, we ended up hiking 12 miles. The white lines show our path of travel. We think it will be at least a couple more weeks of warm weather before the snow melts enough to have a fairly visible trail though the upper most part of the forest. We did take a side route going back to the car because we are just COMPELLED to wander down a path less travelled when we come upon a road/curve-in-the-trail.

We would have also probably gotten back to the car a tad earlier but I have discovered.....

...I am also COMPELLED to wander off trail...

and read every sign nailed to a tree in the forest!

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tmountainnut

nice report. i have never been to the tahoe area, but i would like to see it someday. hopefully i can come and hike the rim someday, or do some skiing.

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TollerMom

nice report. i have never been to the tahoe area, but i would like to see it someday. hopefully i can come and hike the rim someday, or do some skiing.

There is spectacular hiking in the Tahoe area. Aside from the Tahoe Rim Trail, which I have only hiked a very small portion, great hikes abound in the Desolation Wilderness and in the Mokulumne Wilderness. The latter two are accessible usually in June. The skiing in Tahoe is also plentiful with about a dozen ski resorts!

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  • Premium Member

Awesome report! Over the last few weeks I have been finding out about the TRT. Any sections that are particular favs?

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TollerMom

Awesome report! Over the last few weeks I have been finding out about the TRT. Any sections that are particular favs?

I haven't hiked but a small portion of it...but I do those over and over. The section above is done in one day because it's the shortest. We did in and back. Have gone from Kinsgsbury to Spooner also. The views are incredible though. Most are 20 plus miles and I can't go that far in one day.

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Aaron Zagrodnick

Looks like a great hike, the TRT has been on my list for a while. Definitely a lot more snow than here - We've been snowless at 8500' for quite a while!

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