Lake Tahoe, CA

Tahoe Area Trail Running Options

Flickr. Used with permission

The Lake Tahoe area is a trail runner’s dream, with hundreds of miles of trails for every conceivable ability. There are TONS of resources for trail running/hiking in Tahoe. Our focus is on easy-to-moderate trail running options, rather than the challenging or super technical. Since there are so many options in this large geographic area, the guide below is a quick summary of each, with links for more details. PRO TIP: the mountainsides are famous for wildflowers, especially the majestic lupine.

Burton Creek State Park. 2,000 acres of trails, accessed from the Tahoe Cross Country Center. Trail running for every ability on a great network of dirt roads and paths. Can do loops anywhere from a mile or two up to 10-15 miles. Beautiful in spring with wildflowers. Park Info and Trail Map.

Tahoe Rim Trail. Also a very popular hiking trail, this 170 mile loop has everything from gentle meadows to some steeper climbs. There are some gentler, ‘runnable’ sections, and others that are very steep and technical and ONLY for experienced trail runners. This excellent web site has detailed information on trail sections, interactive maps, etc.

Waddle Ranch Preserve. OK, no jokes about waddling rather than running. These are some gentler, wider trails here that are lovely for running, featuring some lovely meadows. The Elizabethtown Meadows Trail is a treat.

Martis Valley Trail. Near the Truckee/Tahoe airport, this popular 4.1 mile loop trail winds through meadows and has great views of the Sierra and Carson ranges. Accessible from the Martis Creek Wildlife Area.  Info.

Castle Valley. Something for everyone in this extensive trail system at Donner Summit. Only 15 minutes from Truckee, take Castle Valley Rd. off I-80. One popular loop is the 3.6 mile (5.7 km) Castle Valley Loop Trail.

Squaw Valley Trails. This popular ski resort embraces trail running in summer. Something for everyone here. Ride the Aerial Tram in summer get save some elevation and get you to some easy-to-moderate trails that are popular for mountain biking and running. This link has good info on walking/hiking in summer, and an app that can be downloaded. Check out Olympic Village, the Olympic Museum, and other Olympic sites from the 1964 Winter Games that Squaw Valley hosted.


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