Analysing terrain data
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The exposure grade describes the potential consequences of falling or slipping off the path.
Low Exposure: The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.
Medium Exposure: The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.
High Exposure: Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.
Extreme Exposure: Some trail sections are extremely exposed where falling will almost certainly result in serious injury or death.
Not to be confused with the nearby swim spot on Lake Tahoe called Chimney Beach, the Chimney Beach Trail leads away from the lake, up into the mountains to a large alpine reservoir called Marlette Lake.
The lake is located along the scenic and historic Flume Trail, and was in fact created for the purpose of supplying water to the logging flume in the late 1800s.
Signs around the lake tell more about its history, and you can even find a chimney—all that’s left of an old cabin—on a prominent spit of land called Chimney Point on the lake. Multiple trails and dirt roads converge around Marlette Lake.
The Chimney Beach Trail accesses its southwest shore, but you can also connect with other trails and viewpoints on the shoreline or higher in the mountains. From Chimney Beach Trailhead along NV-28, the trail heads steeply upward through pine woodland that gives way to fir, aspen, and a forest floor of ferns as you get higher in elevation.
The trail eventually reaches the top of a sunny ridge where a fantastic view awaits—down to Lake Tahoe on one side and Marlette Lake on the other.
From there, take a short downhill to meet with the Marlette Lake Trail and follow it to the water. Find Chimney Point on the southeast shore, which is a short detour from the route mapped here.
To get to the dam and the junction with Flume Trail, follow the wide path along the lake’s southwest shore (mapped).
You can catch another glimpse of Lake Tahoe from atop the small earthen dam, but walk a little ways north on the Flume Trail and you’ll find a better view. An unsigned, somewhat overgrown connector trail links Chimney Beach Trail with Flume Trail at the dam on Marlette Lake.
If hiking the loop clockwise, find this trail about 2 miles from the start of the hike.
If going counterclockwise (as mapped), look for it just after starting on Flume Trail from the dam.