Get pumped at Truckee’s Bike Park |

Get pumped at Truckee’s Bike Park

Mark McLaughlin
Special to Lake Tahoe Action
A mountain biker hits a jump at Truckee's bike park. The park is part of a long history of community improvement in the town.
Mark McLaughlin | Lake Tahoe Action

Now that most of us are starting to put away our winter boards and breaking out the bicycles, a visit to Truckee’s super cool bike park is perfect for sharpening those cycling skills that often come in handy in the backcountry.

Truckee’s bike park, located off Joerger Drive near the airport, features a brand-new pump track that is a fun and easy way to learn better mountain bike handling for all types of conditions. Chock-full of banked turns, undulating rollers and a variety of jumps, the track is perfect for a quick afternoon workout or an all-day jam.

Putting together a bike park is full of challenges and Truckee’s success is the result of tremendous community involvement, financially, and with a lot of volunteer sweat equity. Various nonprofit organizations supported the project from the beginning, along with individuals and local businesses.

An extensive irrigation system keeps down the dust and stabilizes the various terrain features. The family friendly park is free and open to all ages and abilities. On April 30 there will be a fundraising party for the bike park at the Bar of America in Truckee.

The residents of Truckee have a long history of coming together to improve their community. One of the first to galvanize Truckee residents around a common goal was Charles McGlashan; an attorney, teacher and leading businessman, who proposed in the late 19th century that part of the economic future for Truckee and Lake Tahoe would be based on winter sports.

In 1894 he constructed a 45-foot tall, cone-shaped wooden frame on the hill near his house above town. He wrapped the towering structure with chicken wire, and when temperatures fell below freezing he sprayed water on it until it eventually resembled a gigantic icicle. His neighbors had no idea what McGlashan was up to and rumors abounded.

At local town hall meetings he proposed the community build a “spacious ice palace, illuminated during the day by a transparent roof of thin ice, but supported by thick walls of ice surrounding a large skating rink.”

It wasn’t long before McGlashan’s dream snowballed into what became Truckee’s famous Winter Carnival, a major tourist attraction for snow lovers in California and Nevada. It was the first ice carnival in the West with bands playing music, concessions and more, and it led to summer events that continued the party year round.

Three months before his death on January 6, 1931, Charles McGlashan wrote: “Now, in my eighty-fourth year, it is well known that I was the acknowledged leader of Truckee Winter Sports. I have always believed that the vast snowfields of the Truckee Basin, situated on a transcontinental railroad in sunny California, would annually attract tens of thousands of visitors.”

McGlashan was right on the money.

Tahoe historian Mark McLaughlin is a nationally published author and professional speaker. His award-winning books are available at stores or at Mark can be reached at Check out Mark’s blog at

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