New multi-use trail opens at Lake Tahoe

The Lily Lake trail opened on June 30 with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Provided / Anthony Cupaiuolo

A new trail that recently opened is destined to become one of Lake Tahoe’s most iconic.

The new 2.1-mile multi-use trail provides access to Fallen Leaf Lake and Desolation Wilderness for non-motorized users and features stunning views of each, along with Lake Tahoe.

The trail was completed by the US Forest Service and the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association using about 4,000 volunteer hours and contributions from Tahoe Fund donors, including the Mathman family, and a triple match from Vail Resorts’ EpicPromise guest donation program at Northstar, Heavenly and Kirkwood.

The trail officially opened on June 30.

The Lily Lake trail offers spectacular views of Fallen Leaf Lake and Lake Tahoe.
Provided / Nils Miller

“The opening of the Lily Lake Trail has been a long time coming, and we are so grateful to all of our partners, including the Tahoe Fund, USFS and TRPA staff, as well as the crew leaders and volunteers who helped make it happen,” said Patrick Parsel, TAMBA trails director. “It truly wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. As we work toward our goal of building trail connections around the lake, the partnerships involved in this project demonstrate what can be accomplished when we work together.”

Designed to connect to the newly built trail system on Angora Ridge, the Lily Lake Trail offers stunning, unmatched views of Desolation Wilderness, Fallen Leaf Lake and Lake Tahoe. The trail was created to reduce traffic on narrow roads and offer new access to hikers and mountain bikers who want a car-free way to enjoy Fallen Leaf Lake, Glen Alpine Springs and Desolation Wilderness. The Lily Lake trail has an elevation change of 800 feet and features mosaic-like rock work, including aspects unique to the Tahoe trail repertoire — slickrock, boulder traverses, and an expansive view of Fallen Leaf Lake on the edge of a 75-foot cliff.

The trail connects the Angora Lakes parking area to the Glen Alpine trailhead parking area near Lily Lake.

Construction started in 2018, however due to the challenges of building through dense vegetation and unforgiving talus, professional engineering and building crews were required to complete the work.

The USFS cut the top quarter mile of trail through a scree field, and TAMBA crews and volunteers, led by crew leader Scott Brown, were responsible for the intricate, technical rock work that was required. Crews removed approximately nine tons of rock from the trail, and moved roughly three tons of rock to make tread. The trail features some of the only slick rock riding in Tahoe to create a technical, physical ride with some of the best views around the lake.

“On behalf of the Tahoe Fund, we are thrilled to have been part of this project by bringing together partners who bridged the $75,000 funding gap required to build this gorgeous trail,” said Tahoe Fund CEO Amy Berry. “The Lily Lake Trail is part of the larger vision the USFS and TAMBA have long held to create non-motorized regional connectivity, and it’s exciting that it’s now open for people to enjoy.”

“At Vail Resorts, we’re proud to partner with organizations like Tahoe Fund through the Vail Resorts EpicPromise community investment program,” said Deirdra Walsh, vice president and general manager of Northstar. “Their focus on sustainable recreation allows the region’s unparalleled trail systems to expand, and we can enjoy new adventures on the Lily Lake Trail for the days to come.”

The Lily Lake trail is 2.1 miles long.
Provided / Crew Stover, Tahoe Fund
A view from the Lily Lake trail.
Provided / Anthony Cupaiuolo


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