The largest freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada, Lake Tahoe is one of three pristine lakes in the US. The Tahoe Rim Trail meanders in a wide loop around Lake Tahoe for about 165 miles. While it circles the lake, it isn’t a walk on the shoreline. Instead, the trail stays in the mountains, offering great views of Lake Tahoe without actually going too close.
This is an ideal mini thru-hike for many reasons, but number one because it’s a loop, so we get to start and end at the same place. The only logistics involve figuring out where to park and getting to the trail from there. Secondly, there are two resupply towns – South Lake Tahoe and Tahoe City – and each of them is a similar distance apart, making resupply very straightforward. In addition, the trail walks right through Tahoe City, meaning resupply or starting/ending here are both super easy. South Lake Tahoe offers a bus, so you don’t even have to hitch for resupply.
We’ve had a taste of this trail already, because there are some miles concurrent with the PCT, particularly in the Desolation Wilderness, one of my favorite spots on the PCT. It’s in the Sierra, but not the High Sierra. Elevation on the TRT is usually between 8,000-10,000 feet. The trail has wide tread and isn’t too steep or difficult. What’s not to love?
Most hikers start in Tahoe City, but for the sake of efficiency we’re starting from South Lake Tahoe. This allows us to walk to our resupply in Tahoe City and not waste time trying to hitch or get the bus. We want to save Desolation Wilderness for last, so we’ll be heading in a counter-clockwise direction. When we join the final section along the PCT we’ll be moving southbound.
I’m expecting it to be pretty cold, so we’re bringing all our warm gear and rain gear with us. Since we only have one resupply, I’m prepping everything from home and mailing us a box, so we don’t even have to bother with the grocery store. We’re taking our new packs and tarp, and a few new items of clothing, and brand-new Ursacks, so we will have fun testing these things out. We plan on hiking the trail over a week, starting the 17th. Stay tuned for updates.