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Trail of the Week: Trail Running at Lake Tahoe

Some gorgeous views of the picturesque Lake Tahoe.

Our Trail of the Week feature is made possible through a partnership with Trail Run Project<

Lake Tahoe is one of the most beautiful places in the U.S., and this route on the Nevada side—from Spooner Lake to the Tunnel Creek Station—rewards you with some of the most spectacular views of Lake Tahoe.

There are some very narrow sections with a steep drop off especially on the Marlette Flume Trail, so take your time when running along any of these narrow sections.

Starting from the Spooner Lake parking lot, hop on North Canyon Road to start the run. At approximately one mile start looking for the beginning of the Marlette Lake Trail which will be on the left-hand side of the road.

This trail begins just to the north of Spooner Lake. In the first three miles, the trail climbs approximately 1,500 feet to Marlette Saddle which is the high point of the trail at 8,200 ft. Although this part of the run is challenging, be sure to take in the scenery as you’ll pass through groves of aspens and conifers through which you may catch a glimpse of old logging cabins.

Once you crest Marlette Saddle, enjoy a half mile descent down to the beautiful blue Marlette Lake. The Marlette Lake Trail ends at the southern end of the lake, but you can continue along the lake using the Marlette Lake Road that runs along the shore.

This flat jeep road is scenic in its own way as it skirts the shore of Lake Marlette giving you a chance to take in the views. This is just a short segment of dirt road that connects to Marlette Flume Trail where the real fun begins!

The Marlette Flume Trail boasts some truly spectacular views of Lake Tahoe. A 4.4. mile gentle descent from Lake Marlette to its northern junction with Tunnel Creek Road, this historic trail traverses the ridge, weaving around rocks and trees and then opening up to expansive views of Lake Tahoe and the mountains beyond. Although the trail feels mostly flat or slightly downhill, do use caution as this section has very steep drop offs and the trail can be very narrow in some sections. Make sure you take the time to take in the views!

From Marlette Flume Trail, get ready for a slightly steeper downhill cruise as the next three miles features a 1,500-foot descent down the Tunnel Creek Road. This dirt jeep road will still give you glimpses of Lake Tahoe before ending at Tunnel Creek Station.

The Data

Miles: 13.9

Runnable: 92 percent

Singletrack: 75 percent

Average Grade: 5 percent

Max Grade: 20 percent

Total Ascent: 1,337 feet

Total Descent: -1,961 feet

Highest Elevation: 8,163 feet

For a closer look, check out the interactive map, data, photos and virtual run simulator courtesy of Trail Run Project: