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Tahoe Mountain Biking for Newbies

Tahoe Van Sickle Trail

Checking the brakes on the Van Sickle trail. Photo by Chris Baus.

It looks like the Tahoe snow is holding off for a while longer, so there is still time and sunshine enough to tackle a few more of the lake's mountain bike trails. More challenging trails like the Flume Trail and portions of the Tahoe Rim Trail like Mr Toad's Wild Ride may put off some new mountain biking fans, but one fairly new trail, the Van Sickle Trail, is a nice introduction to mountain biking at the lake.

The 3.5 mile Van Sickle Trail was built to connect Stateline to the Tahoe Rim Trail. It has its own parking lot and restroom facilities at the Van Sickle Bi-State Park. During the ride you will cross from Nevada into California and back again. The trail can be ridden up or down from Stateline or the Tahoe Rim Trail and has an elevation change of around 1,300 feet. The top of the trail is nearly 8,000 feet with views of the East Shore.

The trail does have some technical difficulties like granite rocks and boulders, tight corners and switchbacks and some elevation gain or loss (depending on which way you are heading). However the trail can be accessed from behind the Harrah's Casino in Stateline and has some great views of the lake, the casinos and some time spent in the trees and by a small waterfall. The trail is well taken care of and is funded in part by the Tahoe Fund. If you are interested in more Tahoe mountain bike trails, the Tahoe Area Mountain Bike Association has trail maps, building parties and special events throughout the year.