Notes from the Tahoe Rim Trail " first steps |

Notes from the Tahoe Rim Trail " first steps

For as long as I can remember, the outdoors has been in my blood.

From childhood hikes and visits to national parks, to riding with the UC Davis cycling team and scuba diving around the world, finding my way into nature is a critical part of my life.

For that reason, over the next two weeks I will not report the latest development from Truckee Town Hall or from the Sierra Sun office at all ” I’ll be reporting from the Tahoe Rim Trail.

Part of a 15-person Tahoe Rim Trail Association-led team, we will start from Brockway Summit and walk clockwise around the lake over 15 days, covering 165 miles of trail ranging from 6,240 to 10,338 feet in elevation ” before finishing the trek at Brockway Summit again.

So why the rim trail?

Well, basically for the same reasons that it was made.

The trail started as an idea of a Forest Service Recreation Officer named Glenn Hampton in 1978, said Erin Casey, associate director of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association.

“He thought with the beauty of the lake, utilizing the rim would be an amazing opportunity,” Casey said. “There are so many things you can see from the rim trail you couldn’t otherwise see.”

She said Hampton’s idea matured as he wrote a master’s thesis about the trail, using the venerable Appalachian Trail, which stretches over 2,000 miles from Georgia to Maine, as a model.

In 1981, Hampton started the nonprofit trail association with $25,000, beginning the long trail-building project in South Lake Tahoe, Casey said.

Constructed primarily by volunteers, the route overlapped 50 miles of another of the country’s grand trails ” the 2,650-mile Mexico to Canada Pacific Crest Trail along Tahoe’s western rim.

The final “golden spike” section of the Tahoe Rim Trail, between Brockway Summit and Tahoe Meadows, was completed in 2001, Casey said.

A trail association’s work is never done, with maintenance and new work necessary year in and year out.

Summer use and winter weather take a toll on the path every year, so crews must go out to maintain the trail, and the Tahoe Rim Trail Association relies on the help of volunteers to get the work done, Casey said.

“We have to continue to maintain the trail; hundreds of trees fall across the trail every year,” Casey said. “But we will also be creating a new connection at Kingsbury Grade (a roughly four-mile stretch were users must take to the road), and we are planning a 15- to 18-mile Reno to Rim Trail.”

The Tahoe Rim Trail Association is always looking for volunteers, so contact them at (775) 298-0012, or by e-mail at

For those interested in spending time in the backcountry while pitching in, the association is planning two camps, one on Aug. 10-12, and the other Aug. 31-Sept 3 with hikes, maintenance projects and camping.

Contact Michael Alvino at (757) 298-0239 or e-mail for more information on the Back Country Camps.

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