Tahoe’s Monument Trail offers technical fun, views
If you go
What: Monument Pass Ride
When: 9 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 12
Where: Bijou Community Park
Riding up to High Meadow on a mountain bike takes a little gusto. Starting from Pioneer Trail in South Lake Tahoe, the popular Cold Creek Trail leading to the meadow is just up, up, up. After pedaling for about 45 minutes, coming around a bend in the trail and being able to count the remaining vertical can be equal parts motivating and gut-punching. But the reason for the effort becomes clear when one pedals past the last set of pine trees and a series of high alpine peaks come into view behind the crystal-clear Cold Creek and the high-altitude meadow.
The U.S. Forest Service and volunteers from the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association have been working on the trails surrounding High Meadow for the past several years and will celebrate the completion of work on the latest trail during a free ride this weekend. The approximately three-mile Monument Trail was completed in August and connects High Meadow, at 7,850 feet, to the Tahoe Rim Trail at Monument Pass, around 8,900 feet. The trail took shape out of a rarely used and chronically eroding access road, said Garrett Villanueva, an assistant forest engineer with the Forest Service.
Construction of the trail took about 2.5 years to complete and features both technical aspects and flowing downhills.
“I think that the outcome is a very high-quality trail that will last for a long time,” Villanueva said Tuesday.
“It’s definitely got some challenging aspects to it. It’s not Mr. Toad’s-technical,” Villanueva added, referring to the South Shore’s experts-only Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride trail.
The Monument Trail takes riders over some unique granite features and features plenty of scenery, especially this time of year.
“The aspen trees should be peaking right now,” said Ben Fish, president of the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association, which helped with the trail and is organizing Sunday’s ride.
The approximately 25-mile ride on Sunday will include about 3,500 feet of elevation gain. The ride will go from Bijou Community Park to Cold Creek Trail to Star Lake Trail and follow the Tahoe Rim Trail before connecting to the new Monument Trail and dropping back down to the Cold Creek and Bijou Park.
The free ride will take about three and a half hours and will conclude with a barbecue at Bijou Park, Fish said.
About 50 people attended a similar ride when the Star Lake Trail opened, Fish said. Recent snow should make the trail a joy to ride this weekend, Fish said.
“The trails are probably in the best condition all season now,” Fish said.