3 - 4
FATMAP difficulty grade
Tunnel Creek is a simple hike with big rewards in the form of views over Lake Tahoe, forest scenery, and access to other destinations higher in the mountains.
Hike Tunnel Creek Trail as a destination all its own, or as part of the journey to the Flume Trail, Twin Lakes, or the Tahoe Rim Trail. Beginning from Tunnel Creek Station in Incline Village, walk a short paved stretch of Tunnel Creek Road until it turns to dirt, and keep going.
Views are limited at first, as the trail stays rather flat and parallel to the highway below.
A sign for Tunnel Creek Trail marks the start of the more interesting part.
The trail narrows somewhat and turns steeply uphill, soon gaining great views over the lake.
Find an especially good vantage from a boulder outcrop known as Monkey Rock early on the trail. Keep going up for better and better views through broad clearings in the pine, juniper, fir, and aspen tree forest.
The steep gradient soon lessens to a gentle uphill contour of the mountainside.
Signs along the way give useful information on the landscape and history, and beautiful rest spots are abundant where you can catch your breath and take it all in. Where Tunnel Creek Trail meets Flume Trail, you have the choices of turning around to finish the hike or to continue farther.
Flume is mostly popular with mountain bikers, but it's open to hikers as well.
A bit farther along Tunnel Creek Trail comes the junction with Tahoe Rim Trail.
A short jaunt south along Tahoe Rim gets you to Twin Lakes—two picturesque ponds surrounded by lush conifer forest.
They make a great place to dip your feet on a hot day before starting the journey back down. Sources: https://robinpenning.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/ready-set-let-the-hiking-season-begin-tunnel-creek-trail/