After 4,000 Volunteer Hours, Lake Tahoe’s Newest Trail Opens to the Public

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Tahoe’s newest trail, offering stunning views of Fallen Leaf Lake, Lake Tahoe, and Desolation Wilderness, is now open. The 2.1-mile, multi-use Lily Lake Trail happened thanks to nearly 4,000 volunteer trail building hours and generous contributions from a variety of donors. | For media use courtesy of Tahoe Fund and TAMBA. | Credit: Anthony Cupaiulo

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (July 13, 2021) – Tahoe’s newest trail, sure to become one of the region’s most iconic, is now open thanks to nearly 4,000 volunteer trail building hours and generous contributions from Tahoe Fund donors including the Mathman family and a triple match from Vail Resorts’ EpicPromise guest donation program at Northstar, Heavenly and Kirkwood. The new 2.1-mile multi-use Lily Lake Trail has been completed by the US Forest Service (USFS) and the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association (TAMBA) and offers new access to Fallen Leaf Lake and Desolation Wilderness for non-motorized users including hikers and experienced mountain bikers. The trail partners gathered for an official opening on June 30th. 

“The opening of the Lily Lake Trail has been a long time coming, and we are so grateful to all of our partners — including the Tahoe Fund, USFS, and TRPA staff — as well as the crew leaders and volunteers who helped make it happen. It truly wouldn’t have been possible otherwise,” said Patrick Parsel, TAMBA Trails Director. “As we work toward our goal of building trail connections around the lake, the partnerships involved in this project demonstrate what can be accomplished when we work together.”

Designed to connect to the newly built trail system on Angora Ridge, the Lily Lake Trail offers stunning, unmatched views of Desolation Wilderness, Fallen Leaf Lake, and Lake Tahoe. The trail was created to reduce traffic on narrow roads and offer new access to hikers and mountain bikers who want a car-free way to enjoy Fallen Leaf Lake, Glen Alpine Springs, and Desolation Wilderness. The Lily Lake trail has an elevation change of 800 feet and features mosaic-like rock work, including aspects unique to the Tahoe trail repertoire — slickrock, boulder traverses, and an expansive view of Fallen Leaf Lake on the edge of a 75-foot cliff.

Lake Tahoe, newest trail
Mountain Bikers ride the newly opened Lily Lake Trail. | Credit: Nils Miller

Construction started in 2018, however, due to the challenges of building through dense vegetation and unforgiving talus, professional engineering and building crews were required to complete the work. The USFS cut the top quarter-mile of trail through a scree field, and TAMBA crews and volunteers, led by crew leader Scott Brown, were responsible for the intricate, technical rock work that was required. Crews removed approximately nine tons of rock from the trail and moved roughly three tons of rock to make tread. The trail features some of the only slick rock riding in Tahoe to create a technical, physical ride with some of the best views around the lake.

“On behalf of the Tahoe Fund, we are thrilled to have been part of this project by bringing together partners who bridged the $75,000 funding gap required to build this gorgeous trail,” said Amy Berry, Tahoe Fund CEO. “The Lily Lake Trail is part of the larger vision the USFS and TAMBA have long held to create non-motorized regional connectivity, and it’s exciting that it’s now open for people to enjoy.”

“At Vail Resorts, we’re proud to partner with organizations like Tahoe Fund through the Vail Resorts EpicPromise community investment program,” said Deirdra Walsh, vice president, and general manager of Northstar California Resort. “Their focus on sustainable recreation allows the region’s unparalleled trail systems to expand, and we can enjoy new adventures on the Lily Lake Trail for the days to come.”

Learn more about the Lily Lake trail and how to donate to the Tahoe Fund to support other projects in the Tahoe Basin at www.tahoefund.org.

Lake Tahoe, new trail
Lily Lake offers stunning views for hikers and bikers alike. | Credit: Anthony Cupaiuolo

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10 thoughts on “After 4,000 Volunteer Hours, Lake Tahoe’s Newest Trail Opens to the Public

  1. Amazing what can happen when people work together. I’m sure the hardcore hippies, Sierra Club purest and Karen’s had a major mental breakdown seeing this come together, but screw them. The forest is a public resource for all. Everyone should have their piece of the pie.

        1. I’m fully aware of that and I fully support it. Mountain bikes dont belong everywhere in the same way that ATV’s and OHV’s dont belong everywhere. I dont want to backpack on some dusty, rutted out bike trail. I would kick horses off certain trails if I could.

          1. 85% of the Sierra Nevada is closed to Mountain Bikes because of wilderness designations and rules put in place by the Sierra Club. If you think that’s appropriate, congratulations. I personally think its BS that a horse can go to all these places a mountain bike can’t go.

          2. We all have our opinion and voice. I would like to see more terrain opened up. I know many people who feel the same way. The Sierra Club is one of the primary forces behind closing terrain. If you take a look over the last 40-50 years that is what they do. They close terrain. If that’s OK with you, great. Its not OK with me.

          1. Not really a gotcha. More of a statement from the organization on what their official policy is towards mountain bikes. I think the average day citizen would be extremely surprised to find that the Sierra Club is opposed to mountain bikes. I also think the majority of the public is surprised to find you cannot operate a mountain bike, wheelchair or stroller in wilderness areas.

        2. Every time you hear of a new wilderness area or wilderness study area being considered. That is the Sierra Club closing more terrain to mountain bikes.

          1. There are hundreds of thousands of miles of mountain biking in the US, and more than enough near me. I think I’ll survive. I think you will too.

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