The largest alpine lake in North America, Lake Tahoe is a popular recreation destination visited by nearly 3 million people annually. In summer, it’s a haven for its beaches, freshwater lake activities, and hiking, while in winter, skiers flock to the numerous resorts to enjoy the 400+ inches of annual snowfall. By June, once the snow clears, Lake Tahoe is a mecca for trail running. For road running, it’s important to know the best spots, since many of the main roads are generally not safe for running, due to heavy traffic and small shoulders. Straddling the California and Nevada borders, the area is divided into South Lake Tahoe, anchored by South Lake Tahoe and Emerald Bay, and North Lake Tahoe, anchored by Tahoe City, Truckee, and Incline Village. Special thanks to Miles at Alpenglow Sports for his guidance on Lake Tahoe running!
There are several off-road, multi-use paths in Lake Tahoe that are great for running: the West Shore Trail, Truckee River Trail and the Truckee Legacy Trail. In Tahoe City, there’s some nice running around the marina and golf course. On the north/east side, the spectacular East Shore multi-use path will open in the spring if 2019. There are also some nice bike paths in South Lake Tahoe. The 7-mile loop around Donner Lake is also a treat. We’ve also researched some of the nicest spots for easy-to-moderate trail running, featuring some of the Tahoe area’s famous meadows.
A few notes about running in Tahoe. Be aware that the base altitude is at 6200 feet and that outside of the areas right along the lake, the terrain is generally hilly. Also know that some of the prettiest roads right along the lake aren’t safe for running due to heavy traffic and poor shoulders, although there’s continued effort to complete bike paths around nearly the entire lake. And in winter, the area’s copious snowfall affects the runnability of trails and multi-use paths.