6 Thrilling Lake Tahoe Mountain Biking Trails Near Heavenly Resort

Looking for the best South Lake Tahoe mountain biking trails? Here are 6 incredible mountain biking experiences for beginners and experts.

Posted August 16, 2023


Family downhill mountain biking day in Northstar, CA.

South Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada mountains is a magnet for lovers of the outdoors. One of the best ways to experience the jaw-dropping landscape surrounding this 22-mile-long lake is on a mountain bike. You'll enjoy the gorgeous views, a fantastic range of terrain, and varying levels of adventure, from easygoing to expert, on South Lake Tahoe mountain biking trails.  

It's no wonder that Lake Tahoe attracts bikers from around the world and has acquired a fascinating history. For instance, South Lake Tahoe served as the training ground for American mountain bike racer Leigh Donovan, who won the UCI World Downhill Mountain Biking Championship in 1995 and became a USA National Champion in Downhill and Dual Slalom nine times. She chose the Lake Tahoe area for its challenging downhill terrain, which helped her hone her abilities. 

Amazing Mountain Bike Trails in South Lake Tahoe 

If you’d like to try out the mountain bike trails in South Lake Tahoe for yourself, grab your bike and strap on your helmet for six of the best adventures.  

1. Big Meadow Trail 

There are so many beautiful South Lake Tahoe mountain biking trails that you'll be spoiled for choice. Why not start your explorations on the accessible Big Meadow Trail to Round Lake, not far from Heavenly Resort? Your journey will take you through thick pine forests and pretty alpine meadows to Round Lake, a great spot for overnight camping. This trail is only five minutes by car from Heavenly Resort. 

As far as South Lake Tahoe mountain biking trails go, this one isn’t too taxing either. The gentle elevation is manageable, making it suitable for beginners or anyone looking for an easy biking experience. Wildlife lovers will find plenty to see. Squirrels, chipmunks, deer, and even the occasional black bear are not unusual. It's also known for its serene vibes, so breathe in the scent of pines and relax. 

2. Cold Creek Trail 

Also close to Heavenly Resort is the lesser-known Cold Creek Trail to High Meadows. As it is more challenging and requires greater concentration than Big Meadow Trail, it’s better suited for intermediate to experienced mountain bikers. This trail takes you through thick forested areas so isolated that the rest of the world seems like it's a million miles away. Seasonal wildflowers are a highlight of this trail, which is a five-minute drive from Heavenly Resort. 

Be sure to pause and take a break by Cold Creek, immersing yourself in the soothing sounds of trickling water. Be careful, though — this trail has some serious rocks and treacherous roots, so you'll need to keep your wits about you.  

3. Powerline Trail 

If you’d like to up the ante and test your mountain biking prowess, the Powerline Trail is a must. This route is a five-minute drive from Heavenly Resort. Winding for roughly seven miles out and back, you can expect challenges like heart-pumping inclines, tricky descents, narrow tracks, and rocky terrain. For more daring, the technically demanding 180-degree turns are a highlight of this trail.  

This tough adventure isn’t without its rewards. Enjoy sweeping mountain views and experience Lake Tahoe in all its scenic glory. Experienced mountain bikers love the Powerline Trail — care to join them? 

4. Freel Peak Trail 

Get ready to push yourself to the limit on the Freel Peak Trail and enjoy an unforgettable view as the payoff. Your destination? The Freel Peak summit. It's one of those biking experiences that shouldn’t be missed.  

This summit offers a breathtaking 360-degree view of Lake Tahoe, fringed by pine forest and the Sierra Nevada mountain range. If you can make it to the top, you’ll be glad you took on this challenge to your stamina. You can reach this route by car from Heavenly Resort in around eight minutes. 

5. Corral Trail 

The Corral Trail is famous among mountain bikers because it has so much variety, including a blend of the easy and technically challenging. You can enjoy a fast but easygoing ride along a well-maintained trail in some sections, then test your ability on drops and steep-banked corners.  

You can pick a route to create a Corral Trail experience to suit you and your skills. Along the way, you’ll be treated to memorable views of Lake Tahoe. This route is 20 minutes away from Heavenly Resort by car. 

6. Northstar Bike Park 

If you’d like a more resort-based experience, then the Northstar Bike Park is for you. With its thrilling world-class trails, this park welcomes both beginners and experienced mountain bikers. It will take you around an hour to get there from Heavenly Resort by car. 

You'll find an enticing mixture of trails, from gentle cruise-alongs where you can warm up to adventure rides with difficult descents, intoxicating jumps, and an array of technical challenges. Intermediate riders can find the ideal balance of fun and excitement with rolling terrains that offer exhilaration without expert technical skills. 

Highlights of Northstar Bike Park include elevated bridges and gnarly rock gardens. This means you can enjoy a biking experience that you might not find on more natural trails. Other conveniences include a bike lift to higher terrain and an equipment store. And let’s not forget the lakeside scenery and surrounding mountains. 

Get Ready for Mountain Biking in South Lake Tahoe 

Deeper than the Empire State Building is tall and over two million years old, Lake Tahoe is truly incredible. With its pure waters and tranquil beaches, you can enjoy swimming, paddling, or simply chilling out on the shores with a picnic. 

If you're excited about a South Lake Tahoe mountain biking escapade, all you have to do is choose a good route from the many trails available. Take your pick from easygoing cruises past alpine meadows, tricky pine forest trails alongside gurgling creeks, or adrenaline-pumping challenges down treacherously steep declines.  

Along the way, you'll have plenty of opportunities to take in panoramic views of this iconic stretch of water. No matter where you choose to bike and how hard you push yourself, mountain biking in South Lake Tahoe is an experience you’ll never forget. Best of all, there's a trail for everyone, so take your pick and set out on your adventure.  

Want to experience the best of South Lake Tahoe mountain biking trails? Book a stay at Heavenly Lake Tahoe resort, which offers 4800 acres of landscape and incredible lake views. While you're there, be sure to take in the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens and Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.