The Flume trail is a famous trail high above Lake Tahoe with incredible views. It came to be after it was realized that the path once used by an old flume to carry water slowly down hill also could be used for a great hike or bike ride. Over the years, it has been improved and maintained for the purposes of hiking and biking.
The trip most people take is about 14 miles one way, 9 miles of actual Flume Trail; most people opt for a shuttle back to where they start. There is a shuttle operation and bike rental shop near Spooner lake, which is where most people begin. You will pay a few dollars to enter and park with your bike. If you opt for the shuttle, expect another fee for the ride back. Most people start at Spooner Lake so they can get the climb over with in order to enjoy the gentle 9 mile down slope of the Flume itself.
Starting at Spooner, you will climb for 4-5 miles and about 1100 feet. The climb may be a challenge for some, but the rewards are worth it. Shortly after the summit you will coast down to Marlette Lake (a pristine lake surrounded by mountains that is used as a fish hatchery). This is a terrific spot to take a break and/or eat lunch. The trail will then take you along Marlette's edge and to the start of the Flume.
The Flume Trail starts about 1600 feet above Tahoe, with incredible views as you cruise along the mountain side. In many places, there are long, steep slopes off the trail, so it is imperative that if you are on your bike you are in control and stay on the path. If you are confident and in control, you will enjoy incredible views while enjoying the mellow descent down to lake level. When you reach Tunnel Creek, you can follow signs to where the shuttle service will pick you up near Hidden Beach.
Maps and more information are available at Spooner Lake. Note that during high snow years, the trail may not open until the snow melts sometime in early summer.
Nevada State Park Near Spooner Lake
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