By Jenn Sheridan ·
One of my favorite parts of summer is when the days get long enough to spend a few hours outside after work. Whether its watching the sun go down over the beach, taking the dog for a short hike or pedaling one of the neighborhood trails on my bike I cherish the extra time for a mini adventure.
One of my favorite spots for a quick ride is the Tahoe Cross Country Center. The location near Dollar Hill makes it the perfect stop on my way home from the office and the variety of trails mean I can make the ride as easy or strenuous as I want.
From the parking lot, start riding west up the dirt road the climbs for about half a mile or until you reach the first intersection. Here you’ll find one of many convenient maps located throughout the network of trails ensuring that even when you’ve veered off course and lost your group of riding buddies, you’ll make it back to the car before sundown.
From here, several options exist. Hang a right and pedal along the road keeping an eye out for single track off to the right. The trail winds through the trees with tight, hairpin turns and several rocky sections that will test your technical riding. The path continues past the Dollar Hill Reservoir and back to the neighborhood with the return route to the Cross Country Center in site.
Alternatively, head straight and follow a short climb to the scenic overlook for stunning views of the Lake Tahoe Basin.
On to Fiberboard, Watson Lake
For a longer adventure veer left from the intersection and deeper into the spider web of trails of Burton Creek State Park. Continue to follow the dirt road until you reach another intersection – with another map.
Choose wisely, the options include meandering through the wildflowers and linking up to a flowing trail in the trees, or challenging yourself to climb rocky sections and fast descents. For a full-day adventure, pedal through to the Fiberboard Freeway where you can link up with the Tahoe Rim Trail and beyond. I’ve been able to ride to Watson Lake, however it took a bit of hiking. The climb is a butt-kicker. From the Fiberboard Freeway, riders can also follow a jump-filled single track back into Burton Creek State Park and the Tahoe Cross Country Center.
Several options link the trails back to Tahoe City via Jackpine Road or by the Tahoe Rim Trail to Fairway Drive. After a full summer of exploring the area last year, I’m certain I still haven’t explored every trail there is to offer in the area. With each ride, I look forward to discovering a new zone. After a ride, enjoy a sandwich or snack from the Free Heel Café.
Join group ride
The Tahoe Cross Country Center hosts several group rides throughout the summer with a barbecue lunch at the trailhead afterwards. Sign up for the next one on July 6. Kids may enjoy the Junior Mountain Riders program, which is an eight-week program open to children ages 7 to 11 with a focus on improving mountain biking technique in a fun environment. For the adults, a mountain biking clinic is scheduled for July 20.
For more information about events and programs at the Tahoe Cross Country Center, visit tahoexc.org.