Why the Tahoe Rim Trail?
Thursday, June 17, 2021 10:51 pm

With summer approaching, so too does my next thru-hike: The 171-mile Tahoe Rim Trail, located in the mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe, in California and Nevada.

I first became aware of the Tahoe Rim Trail during my thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018. At the time, I didn’t really expect I was going to hike it, unless I ran out of other trails to hike.

But after events conspired to delay for a second year my Continental Divide Trail hike, the opportunity arose to do a “short” (couple of weeks) hike this summer with my partner, while she was in-between teaching semesters.

And after going through a long list of possible hikes, the Tahoe Rim Trail rose to the top.

The Tahoe Rim Trail

The Tahoe Rim Trail follows the mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe, North America’s largest alpine lake, and the largest lake by volume in the United States after the Great Lakes. Lake Tahoe is also the second deepest lake in the U.S., after Oregon’s Crater Lake.

First envisioned in 1981, trail construction began in 1984, and was completed in 2001, under the stewardship of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association. 96 miles of the Tahoe Rim Trail are designated as a National Recreation Trail, and another 50 overlap with the Pacific Crest Trail.

Why the Tahoe Rim Trail?

I’ve already hiked a portion of the Tahoe Rim Trail, the overlap with the PCT on the southwest side of the lake. So to an extent, I have some idea of what to expect: beautiful scenery.

I hiked along that section of trail for parts of five days, and it was some of the most scenic and memorable hiking I did on the Pacific Crest Trail. The Desolation Wilderness was simply stunning — the view from Dicks Pass remains one of my favorites — and I even titled a post “Lake Tahoe is Beautiful”. So I’m quite looking forward to revisiting the area.

All things considered, at 171 miles, it’s not a very long trail, but it fits within our time window, and seems like it should have fairly manageable resupply logistics.

It’s also “almost flat”, with an average elevation change of about 330 ft/mile. That’s great, since the last hiking I did was over six months ago, so I’m rather out of trail shape.

And it fits in with my theme of hiking short trails adjacent to long trails I’ve hiked. My three prior “off-year” hikes overlapped or were adjacent to the Appalachian Trail; now, the Pacific Crest Trail will have its turn.

This coming weekend, my partner and I will be heading out to begin our next hike, and my sixth long-distance hike. As usual, you can follow along right here on longstride.net, or on Facebook, or Twitter. See you out there!

Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe
Tahoe Rim Trail, 2021