The grandeur of Lake Tahoe makes for a wondrous setting for turning pedals. The clean, mountain air will refresh the senses while the elevation challenges the legs. The 72 miles around the Lake makes for a day trip that offers rewarding views, with private sandy beaches offering multiple choices for a ride intermission. Well appointed bike shops mark both ends of the lake, and both spring and fall events offer a less daunting way to scratch this off the challenge list.

BICYCLIST Challenge #152
BICYCLIST Challenge #152

Ride:The Big Blue - BC #152
Region Location:Lake Tahoe (California/Nevada)
Distance:72 miles | 4159’ gain
Climbs/Elevation Range:4/ min. 6272’ | max. 7063’
Climbing Grade:~4%, max. 9% @ mile 6.6
Difficulty:Intermediate
Type: Loop
Preferred Direction:Clockwise
Start/Finish: South Lake Tahoe, California
Highlights: Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe Dam, Kings Beach

Warnings/Cautions

  • limited water
  • limited services
  • shared vehicular road*
  • steep grades (12-14%)
  • winter road closures
  • summer wildfires
  • bears, mountain lions

*Note: Though bike lanes are wide and the road is shared, some bicyclists feel some trepidation before riding through this mountain town. A remedy for this is to join in on one of the popular organized events that run through the area, such as the Tour de Tahoe (held annually in September) and America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride (early June).

Bike Shops

Lake Tahoe has many ski and snowboard outfitters that don their cycling caps during the summer. Many will have bike repair services, bike rentals, MTB shuttles and tours. For the full service year-round bike shop experience, look no further than our recommendations:

Olympic Bike Shop

620 N. Lake Blvd.

Tahoe City, CA 96145

Daily, 9-6

South Shore Bikes

871 Emerald Bay Rd.

S. Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

M-Sa 9-6 / Su 10-5

Sierra Ski & Cycle Works

3430 Lake Tahoe Blvd

S. Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

Daily, 9-6

Coffee?

Many opportunities along the route, but the coffee is always better with the sound of bike wrenches in the background.

Over the Edge Bikes and Coffee

Finished the Challenge?

Tell us about it! We’re always interested in hearing your experiences and sharing your stories from the road and trail. Share a link to your GPS upload to be mentioned in future issues of the magazine: