South Lake Tahoe is known is popular for its several beautiful beaches, Heavenly Mountain ski resort, and state parks with popular trails. Here are our recommendations on the best places to run in the South Lake Tahoe area:
Rubicon Trail/Emerald Bay. It’s 6.8 miles from D.L. Bliss State Park to Emerald Bay State Park on this trail alongside the lake, with great views. End your run with a swim at Lester Beach! Big Blue Adventure does a race there every year. This is moderately challenging trail run with ~1,000 feet of elevation gain. Can shorten it to 5 miles by starting/ending at the Vikingsholm parking lot. As an option, you can also run for a stretch along Lester Beach Rd. Route Map.
West Way Bike Path. A paved bike path parallels Emerald Bay Rd. (Highway 89) for 3.5 miles (5.7 km) from West Way to Spring Creek Rd., passing through Camp Richardson. There are some scenic side trips to Pope Beach and Baldwin Beach, the Tallac Historic Site, the Lake Tahoe Visitor Center and Fallen Leaf Lake. Flat, with some nice views. MAP
Powerline Trail. An easily accessible trail run, much of it through pleasant meadows. Access from High Meadow Trailhead Rd., and take High Meadow Trail to the Powerline Trail. It’s 3.7 miles (6 km) north to Price Rd., paralleling Pioneer Trail Rd. Only 200 foot gain. MAP
Roads Around South Lake Tahoe. There are many quiet, residential roads off Rt. 50 in South Lake Tahoe, just west of the ski resort, that don’t have a lot of traffic and are suitable for running. This might be your best option in winter, since they’ll be cleared of snow. Note: hilly.
Bijou Community Park. Location of a skate park and a bike park, there are meandering trails through meadows that can be combined with other spots in the area.
Off-Road Options. There are some decent bike paths in South Lake Tahoe that are good for running, especially since some of the main roads have lots of cars and poor shoulders. Best spots are: along Al Tahoe Blvd., College Dr., and just behind the high school; some nice paths off Kahle Dr. in the Round Mound area, heading toward Nevada Beach.