- 387 miles
- 65% dirt, 35% paved/path/road
- 41,494 ft of climbing
- 10 days
- Many, many glorious hours of hike-a-bike
Once off of Grouse Ridge Trail, we took the jeep roads down to Indian Springs Campground, which is at the Eagle Lakes exit if you’re on I-80. This was a solid reminder that jeep roads and fire roads and even gravel roads are all very different categories. The fact that people can actually get vehicles up and/or down any of that is totally mind blowing.
Another category of trail we love very much; cutty trails. A connector Adam scouted a while back via Google Earth, and we confirmed to in fact “go through” by Strava stalking and emailing some local friends, we will from here on refer to as “The Bullshit.” This cutty on steroids connects the Eagle Lakes exit to Cisco Grove, avoiding riding on I-80 for one exit. It is absolutely not rideable, and was barely hike-a-bikeable, up and down, which there was a lot of. At a few points it was so loose and steep that we had to both push one bike up at a time (both our bikes weighed in at about 60 pounds each). The Bullshit does give a pretty awesome view of the interstate, which one of us still maintains would not have been better.
- Elapsed time on The Bullshit: 1.5 hours.
- Distance covered on The Bullshit: 1 mile.
- PRO TIP: Just ride I-80. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
We had a few rendezvous points for snack breaks and views, and a few breaks while Nathan made some “adjustments” to his setup after some overzealous riding. Once we reached the 9,000 foot elevation zone, it was really every rider for himself. Reaching a peak elevation on our trip of 9,700 going over Freel Pass, even the smooth parts of the TRT felt like a chore. Once over the pass, the short and fun descent to Star Lake was a welcome sight.
The rest of the day was spent on the long climb from Kingsbury to Spooner, which started off hot and exposed, but soon turned pleasant and shaded and again left us marveling at the TRT and all that it has to offer; we were amazed at all of the built up features on this particular section, wondering once again if we might be going the wrong way. But, soon enough, from the overlook near Genoa Peak down to Spooner Lake we were happily hooting and hollering all the way down the other side.
We found a delicious breakfast burrito and coffee at the Glenshire General Store, and were on our way to find the Tahoe-Pyramid Trail.
The TPT is a 114 mile long (mostly dirt!) trail that connects Tahoe City with Pyramid Lake. We were only riding the 16-mile Hirschdale to Verdi section, but this was a super neat section. It is hot and exposed, but it dips down close to the Truckee River so there are plenty of spots to cool off. The route follows historic Route 40, and there are even some old cars along the side, and hints of where it used to be paved. The entire trail runs right in between I-80 on one side, and the river and train tracks on the other. So while it’s not your typical forested quiet mountain bike trail, it is a cool feeling to be squashed in the middle of civilization, totally protected and riding mostly dirt. Thankfully, even on our “mellow” day we managed to find some hike-a-biking to keep the streak alive.
We had a hotel room reserved in the Boomtown Casino, just outside of Verdi. Right nextdoor is a Cabella’s, and served as our second (and final) resupply of backpacking food, along with many other snacks found at the Chevron.
We knew we would hit the Lost Nugget gas station at mile 60 for the day, but we did not have a camping location pinned down. Again our plan was to wing it when we found something suitable. After filling up with snacks and water, we headed out towards Bullard’s Bar. What we were not expecting was the primitive trail, resulting in a lot of hiking over trees and landslides, mosquitoes, and return of poison oak and heat at the lower elevation that we had been grateful to be without for most of our trip. The next 3-ish miles were unrelenting, and at the end of a long day with the sun setting, and the never-ending singletrack on the side of a cliff high above the reservoir, we were beginning to think we’d have to set up camp right in the middle of the trail, between the poison oak bushes.
After only about another mile of uncleared trails, we finally reached the intersection where *most* people access Bullard’s Bar, and from there on around the lake it was fun, fast, punchy climbs and descents for the next few miles. With the idea of home in our reaches, we decided to cut out of the trail system a couple miles early, and began our way through dirt and paved roads towards the South Yuba river, and on to Nevada City.