Sierra Nevada - South Lake Tahoe - Pat Lowe Memorial Bike Trail
Touring * Beginner *
From U.S. 50 in Meyers at the south end of Lake Tahoe, turn south onto State Highway 89. Take the first left onto Pomo Street and park on the north shoulder right at this corner, where you'll see the trail's beginning. To park slightly farther up the trail, stay on U.S. 50 and turn right on Navajo Road, where you can park on the gravel shoulder, just behind the visitor center parking lot (parking at the center itself is limited to 15 minutes). Map: Recreation Map of Lake Tahoe, Tom Harrison Cartography, 2 Falmouth Cove, San Rafael, CA 94901-4465; (415) 456-7940.
For most of its length, the Pat Lowe Memorial Bike Trail borders Highway 89. To appreciate the beauty of the mountain scenery that surrounds you, make it a point to look beyond the highway: admire the peaks of the range to the west, or peer into the forest on the south side of the trail. Bordering both sides of U.S. 50, the Pat Lowe trail is a good spot for beginning skaters to hone their skills before exploring the more advanced Tahoe-area trails; this smoothly paved, eight-foot-wide asphalt is as flat a path as you'll see in these mountainous parts. From the start at Pomo Street, the trail makes a right turn to parallel U.S. 50, then passes behind the visitor center and continues next to several rather unattractive roadside businesses. Within the first quarter mile, a nearly neon two-dimensional sculpture of a cliff-jumping skier is mounted in an open area amoung the trees just off to your right, standing in bright contrast to the muted colors of the surrounding pines. Cross Apache Street and then pass the Wedding Paradise Chapel, where you might see a ceremony in progress in the gardens; the grass of a nearby golf course adds a rich backdrop of green. Soon after the trail enters the edge of a pine forest, it comes to an end at Pioneer Trail, which is decidedly not a trail. However, this street does have a bike lane on both shoulders. Although the pavement is pretty rough, an ambitious and fit skater could follow Pioneer Trail for five and a half miles up the long, almost constant hill to the bike path on Al Tahoe Boulevard, described in the College Bike Path Route (see the next listing). Backtracking on the Pat Lowe Memorial Bike Trail, you can cross to the trail to the north side of U.S. 50 from the parking lot driveway near the Century 21 real estate office, providing the traffic is light enough. There's no crosswalk over the busy highway, so cross at your own risk. The trail's north section is just as close to the highway's edge as the south section was, so don't be too distracted by the gorgeous ridge to the west; there's constant traffic to and from the gas station, the Indian fur shop, and the home supply store. Cross back to the south section of trail at the U.S. 50/Highway 89 intersection, again with no crosswalk or stoplight to protect you. (Beginners should stick to one side of U.S. 50.)
Aug 1, 1995
Aug 1, 1995