Sierra Nevada - South Lake Tahoe - El Dorado Trail
Touring * Fitness * Beginner * Artistic *
From U.S. 50 in the El Dorado area of South Lake Tahoe, turn toward the lake at the Lakeview Avenue stoplight. Park wherever you can find a spot, in a lot or on a street nearby. On weekends, you may have to go a block or two south of El Dorado Park to find a shoulder on neighborhood streets. Map: Recreation Map of Lake Tahoe, Tom Harrison Cartography, 2 Falmouth Cove, San Rafael, CA 94901-4465; (415) 456-7940.
On a sunny summer day, vistas across Lake Tahoe are spectacular from small El Dorado Park at South Lake Tahoe Recreation Area. A plush lawn borders the trail here, and the straight trunks of tall pines frame the view in individual snapshots as you roll by. Near the beach, the bright-colored umbrellas of snack vendors by the picnic tables add a festive note; it's a pity that traffic noise from nearby Lake Tahoe Boulevard never lets up. Skate north to the end of the El Dorado Trail a quarter of a mile away. The rest of this trip basically extends your skate with a loop through the campgrounds, followed by an excursion south to the edge of the Tahoe Keys housing development. At the north end of El Dorado Park, cross Lake Tahoe Boulevard at the Rufus Allen Boulevard stoplight to enter the city campground, a prime vacation spot if ever there was one. Go straight to follow Rufus Allen on the northern edge of the campground. When the path ends at the public works yard, take to the street for just a few feet. Turn right up the driveway (on terribly rough, dirty pavement) to the recreation area swimming pool, then go left behind the pool building to skate on better asphalt, around to where the bike path resumes in the forest to the south. The path curves first west and then north, with two or three options for returning to busy Lake Tahoe Boulevard. When you reach Lakeview Avenue, cross back over to El Dorado Park. The total campground loop is no more than three quarters of a mile long. If you don't mind losing your view of Lake Tahoe, you can put some real mileage on your wheels by continuing south. Start out next to U.S. 50, following the bike route signs that take you to the frontage road, Harrison Avenue. The path is patchy here: sometimes it's a street and sometimes a bike path. Watch for stop signs. After crossing Los Angeles Boulevard, the path becomes a wide, landscaped asphalt trail for a couple of blocks, crosses the rough wooden bridge near the Edgewood neighborhood, then veers away from Lake Tahoe Boulevard near the pretty, marshy meadow surrounding Trout Creek. Watch for the low section of trail behind the lumberyard; it may be under water during the spring thaw. If it's too wet, return to the shoulder of Highway 50 to walk around the lumberyard on the dirt. South of Trout Creek, the trail enters a neighborhood in the forest, where you do a bit of street skating among the homes (in very low traffic). Keep your eyes open for the Bike Route signs and watch for some large cracks in the pavement. At the end of Ponderosa Street, you'll enter the south section of Truckee Marsh, a lovely wet meadow traversed by the Upper Truckee River. But to earn that view, you must first cross the river on a very long, rough wooden bridge; try to keep up your speed and it'll feel smoother. Skate through one more neighborhood, and soon the trail ends at the bike lane that runs up and down Tahoe Keys Boulevard.
Aug 1, 1995
Aug 1, 1995