7 - 8
FATMAP difficulty grade
The Tahoe Rim Trail encircles Lake Tahoe in a 165-mile loop.
It roughly follows the crest of the mountains that drain into the lake, thereby providing a complete tour of this giant, crystal-blue water body from all angles.
In addition to views of the lake, there are of course panoramas of the surrounding Sierra Nevada and Carson mountain ranges, alpine forests, glacial basins, and snowmelt streams. Along its length, the trail crosses or nears several roads where trailheads are located.
These trailheads conveniently divide the loop into distinct segments, allowing for section hikes of day or multi-day length, as well as resupply points for long-distance trekkers.
Camping is available at designated campgrounds or dispersed backcountry camping along the trail.
Where you start or finish does not necessarily matter, but the sections are typically numbered 1-8 beginning at the trail’s lowest elevation at the Truckee River.
Section 8, therefore, ends at the same point to complete the loop. This first section travels northeast from Tahoe City to Highway 267 at Brockway Summit.
The trailhead is near the lake’s outlet, where the Truckee River begins.
Upon leaving town, great views open up almost right away as the trail climbs through patches of trees and clearings of manzanita on the rim of the river canyon.
When the trail turns away from the canyon, it climbs steadily among slopes of old cinder cone volcanoes and solidified lava flows, dotted with greenery and flanked by conifer forest.
The trail continues through rolling terrain, in and out of shady groves and flowery meadows, reaching an overlook of Lake Tahoe at Lava Cliffs, then passing the calm water of Watson Lake en route to the road at Brockway Summit. This 20-mile section provides a friendly introduction to the trail.
The initial ascent from Tahoe City is somewhat steep, but the elevation gain is not dramatic.
The rest consists of short ups and downs with interesting but somewhat subdued scenery—merely a preview of what is to come. Sources: https://tahoerimtrail.org/maps-trail-info/ https://tahoerimtrail.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/MapBroch_TC_to_BS.pdf https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tahoe_Rim_Trail