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Hike of the Week: Tahoe City to Cinder Cone

August 3, 2011 by  
Filed under Extreme Tahoe

Vistas, Lakes and Wildflowers: Tahoe City to Cinder Cone

Description: Every Saturday during the summer, the Tahoe Rim Trail Association will feature a hike that highlights an amazing vista, a beautiful alpine lake or a meadow blanketed in beautiful wildflowers. All of the hikes begin at 8am. Please register for all TRTA guided public guided hikes by visiting this link.

Tahoe City to Cinder Cone: Join us for a hike that will meet at the Tahoe City North trailhead, and then climb four miles to an incredible view of the Truckee River Canyon, Squaw Valley and Lake Tahoe. This hike also features the remains of the Tahoe Basin’s volcanic past. Join us at 8am on Saturday, August 6th or try this hike on your own. Please register here.

From the Tahoe City North trailhead, you will travel on the newest reroute of the TRT that will wind you up the trail. Note that the first two miles of trail are a bit of a climb, but at least you get the hard part over with first. As you are climbing take some enjoyable breaks as views of Lake Tahoe appear behind the trees. If you enjoy looking at plants, you might notice that Manzanita, Jeffrey pine, and white fir line the trail, as well as the large maple-shaped leaves of Thimbleberry.

Once you are 2.25 miles up the trail, get out your camera for a panoramic shot of Twin Peaks and Squaw Valley. This is where the trail levels out, and you can begin to catch your breath. Stay on the main trail, because you will notice that there are several crossings of the Fiberboard Freeway on this section of the TRT. The Fiberboard Freeway was named after the company that once owned much of the land in the area.

There will be another good view about 3.4 miles from the trailhead. Climb up on the boulders and to enjoy beautiful views of Lake Tahoe and Mt. Watson to the northeast. If you continue on the trail for another half a mile or so, you will discover dark-red volcanic rock known as the Cinder Cone on the right. Tim Hauserman shares in his Official Guide to the Tahoe Rim Trail that “longtime Tahoe locals will tell you that this cinder-cone area was the repository for Tahoe City sewer water before the treatment plant was built in Truckee in the 1970’s.” Hopefully, that will not change your mind from taking this hike. You will know you are at the Cinder Cone, when you see a flat, red surface that lacks plant growth due to the fact that it was impacted by human use.

If you continue past the Cinder Cone just a bit further, you will come to the east rim of the Truckee River canyon. There are terrific views of Alpine Meadows and Ward Canyon. This is a good lunch spot or snack spot. Then you can turn around and head approximately four miles back to the trailhead. If you were to continue on the Tahoe Rim Trail, it would take you to Mt. Watson, down to Watson Lake and finally up to the Brockway Trailhead off of Highway 207. This section of the TRT is 19.2 miles.

Distance / Expected Duration: 8 miles

Difficulty Level: Easy Moderate to Difficult Strenuous Herculean

Starting Elevation: An elevation gain of 1000’ from the Trailhead

Fitness Level and/or Special Skills Necessary: This hike is possible for beginners, because at any point you can turn around and head back to the trailhead.

Water on the Trail: Carry water on this hike. There is a seasonal spring a little over a mile from the trailhead.

Trailhead/s: Tahoe City North – Turn off Hwy 89 onto Fairway Dr. 0.2 mi W of Hwy 28. Roadside and lot parking near Community Center. No facilities.

Parking is at or near Community Center. There are no facilities, but we are 2 minutes from Tahoe City which has everything one needs.

From Incline Village / East Shore of Lake Tahoe / Carson City
Take 50 till hwy. 28.
Then take 28 into Tahoe City.
At the traffic light go straight onto Hwy. 89.
Make a right after the gas stations (0.2 miles after traffic light) onto Fairway Drive.
Go 0.2 miles and park at or near the community center.
From West / South Shore
Take HWY 89 North to Tahoe City.
At the traffic light go left staying on Hwy. 89.
Make a right after the gas stations (0.2 miles after traffic light) onto Fairway Drive.
Go 0.2 miles and park at or near the community center.
From Truckee / Reno / Auburn / Sacramento / San Francisco
Take Hwy 80 (east or west) to exit 185- toward Squaw Valley / Tahoe City / Lake Tahoe
Take HWY 89 South to Tahoe City.
Before the Tahoe City traffic light & the gas stations go left onto Fairway Drive.
Go 0.2 miles and park at or near the community center.

Hike smart this summer!
• Make sure you carry sufficient water and snacks.
• Dress appropriately for the weather. Bring layers of clothing. The weather changes quickly in the Sierra.
• Wear proper footwear. Take care of your feet to prevent blisters and other foot issues.
• Tell someone where you are going, and when you are expected back.
• Carry a cell phone that you can use to call for help, if you get into trouble.
• Pack a simple first-aid kit in your pack.
• Stay within the limits of your ability and let common sense be your guide before and during your adventure.
• Leave no Trace this summer! Follow the LNT 7 principles. Care for our wild places and trails!

Trail Etiquette
• Cyclists yield to hikers and hikers and cyclists yield to equestrians
• Always travel at a safe, controlled speed and alert other trail users as you approach from behind.
• Never approach or harass wildlife or domestic animals on the trail. Please do not feet wild animals. It negative impacts their health and survival.
• Stay on the trail. It’s there for a reason!
• Please do not pick wildflowers. Let everyone enjoy them. Some wildflowers are protected by law, and you could get fined for picking them.

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