25+ Summer Things To Do In Truckee – Outdoors

Summer Things To Do In Truckee // tahoefabulous.com

Summer is an amazing time of year in Truckee, and I want to share some of my favorite things to do. In honor of the solstice and summer OFFICIALLY starting, I thought I’d share the best things to do outside in Truckee.

Hiking Truckee // tahoefabulous.com
Hiking on Donner Summit

Go for a hike! (Note: some of the hikes at higher elevations might not be completely melted out due to the heavy snows this winter. Be sure to check conditions before heading out.) My favorite after work hike is to summit Donner Peak, which is about 4 miles round trip and 950 feet of climbing from the parking area. For a longer hike, the 14 mile trek from Sugar Bowl to Squaw via the Pacific Crest Trail is a local favorite, but not heavily trafficked. Lower Sagehen Creek Loop Trail and Elizabethtown Meadows Trail are both flatter options at lower elevation.

Mountain Biking Truckee // tahoefabulous.com
Big Chief Trail in Truckee

Check out Truckee’s awesome mountain bike trails! Truckee has mountain bike trails for all levels and types of riders. For easier rides, I’d recommend the Emigrant Trail segment that goes from Highway 89 to Stampede Reservoir, which is an out and back and can be made as long or short as you like. Sawtooth Loop is a 10 mile, intermediate route that is slightly more cross country style. For a fun but challenging climb, head up towards the Donner Lake Rim Trail from the Wendin Way Access Trail. If you prefer to shuttle, the Donner Lake Rim Trail has a couple of great options, either riding in from the Castle Valley side or from the Glacier Way trailhead in Tahoe DonnerThe newly completed Big Chief Trail is a great option for advanced riders. For groups with a variety of skill levels, check out the trails in the Tahoe Donner neighborhood, especially those around the Alder Creek Adventure Center. There’s a wide variety of trails at all levels here. Finally, the Truckee Bike Park is a must do for mountain bikers visiting the area.

Donner Lake // tahoefabulous.com

Get in the water! Though you might not guess it from my blog name, in some ways I prefer Donner Lake over Lake Tahoe. I love that there are publicly accessible, free docks that are available on a first come, first serve basis – the Donner Lake Public Piers. They tend to fill up fast on summer days, so get there early to claim one! If a regular beach is more your scene, the West End Beach is great for that. It’s $5 for an adult entrance fee (or $50 for a season pass), and, besides a great swimming beach, there are life guards, nice bathrooms, concessions, picnic tables, a play area, grills, boat rentals, and more! Floating the Truckee River is a popular activity, and you can avoid the crowds by choosing a less popular section to float. I recommend the stretch from the Truckee Regional Park to the Glenshire Bridge which is rowdier than the booze cruise section between Tahoe City and Alpine Meadows, but still doable by amateurs. Be sure to check river conditions, it can be too cold, deep and fast moving to be safe early in the summer. I’d also recommend a raft that’s a step up from a cheap innertube!

Green Phantom Climbing // tahoefabulous.com
Greyson top roping on Green Phantom

Get on a rock! I haven’t been climbing a ton lately, but it’s still one of my favorite ways to experience the outdoors. My favorite top roping spot (mainly for the awesome views of Donner Lake) is Green Phantom on Donner Summit. If bouldering is your thing, Donner Memorial State Park has a bunch of fun routes that are super easy to access. If you want a little bit of a hike before you climb, the Grouse Slab boulder area is a fun area with great views.

Photo by Pacos Truckee

Go with a group! During the summer, Truckee has a lot of opportunities to hike, bike, run, and learn with locals, visitors, and experts. The Truckee Donner Land Trust runs a free, docent led hiking program in the summer. This is a great chance to get out on incredible TDLT properties, including ones that are not yet open to the public, like Carpenter Valley. Paco’s bike shop has a group road ride on Wednesday nights and a no-drop ladies mountain bike ride on Fridays. For trail running enthusiasts, Donner Party Mountain Runners hosts lots of group events and has an up to date calendar on their website.

Road Biking Truckee // tahoefabulous.com

Other outdoor stuff! The Truckee River Legacy Trail is a paved trail paralleling the Truckee River that is great for running, dog walking, and biking. For another easy road bike route, I like doing a lap around Donner Lake (though I highly recommend doing it clockwise!) – it’s 7 miles and under 400 feet of climbing. The climb up to the top of Donner Summit up Old Highway 40 is a lung burning challenge. It’s more than 1,000 feet of climbing in about three miles and tops out at over 7,000 feet. Truckee is a great place to do some high elevation trail running – Emigrant Trail and the Boreal to Old 40 section of the PCT are both great options. Disc golf is a great, low key way to spend time outside and Truckee has a few options. Right in town, there’s a course near the entrance of the Truckee River Regional Park and one on the campus of Sierra College. Up on Donner Summit, the Donner Ski Ranch resort has its own course.

This is just scratching the surface of fun outdoor things to do this summer in Truckee. Get outside and enjoy this great place!

Mountain Biking Dry Pond Loop, Reno, NV

Dry Pond Loop // tahoefabulous.com

With this super long winter we’ve been having, I’ve been having so much fun exploring the trails in the lower elevations surrounding Truckee. Last weekend, Greyson and I checked out some new-to-us trails in the Mount Rose area of Reno, as you might have seen in my video. We rode the Dry Pond Loop counterclockwise, and it was a great intermediate ride, on the easier side of intermediate. It’s about 6.5 miles and a little over 1,000 of climbing, with most of the climbing coming in the first half.

Check out my video of the Dry Pond Loop here!

Dry Pond Loop // tahoefabulous.com

Dry Pond Loop // tahoefabulous.com
Trail Map via Strava

This loop is below Mount Rose in the Galena area, south and west of downtown Reno off of Highway 431. We parked at the Thomas Creek Trailhead parking area (Click here for Google Map directions) and headed up Thomas Creek Trail right from the large parking lot. This trail climbs steadily, but not too steeply along Thomas Creek through aspen groves and into the pines. We saw a ton of hikers with dogs on this section of the trail, but nearly everyone was very friendly. After about 1.5 miles and ~500 feet of climbing, Thomas Creek Trail intersects with the Dry Pond Trail.

Dry Pond Loop // tahoefabulous.com

Dry Pond Trail continues to climb, and the climb definitely gets steeper at this point, and there are a few very tight and steep switchbacks that I struggled with. Dry Pond trail takes you through a curly leaf mountain mahogany forest, which is really cool. I’d only ever seen bush sized mountain mahogany before. There are also really sweeping views looking down into the Washoe Valley.

Dry Pond Loop // tahoefabulous.com

After about 1.2 miles and another ~440 feet of climbing, we arrived at the dry pond that gives the trail it’s name. We stopped here to have a snack and admire the awesome view of Mount Rose across the meadow. The Dry Pond Trail starts heading downhill almost immediately after the meadow, and the trail on the south side was pretty different from what we’d just climbed up. While the climb up was mostly dirt with some embedded rocks and roots, the downhill was looser, rockier and more exposed. It’s all very rideable, but I was amazed at the quick change in the terrain.

Dry Pond Loop // tahoefabulous.com

At about mile 3.8, Dry Pond Trail intersects Whites Creek Trail. We turned left and continued down hill. Whites Creek Trail isn’t as steep as Dry Pond, and it’s back in the pines and aspen groves. The trail isn’t a “flow trail”, but I thought it was fast and flowy, with lots of little rock gardens and objects to pop off of that you can choose to challenge yourself on. It also gets a little sandy in spots, especially towards the bottom, and I imagine it will be even more sandy later in the summer. As we got closer to the end, we started to encounter more bikers, hikers, and dogs, but generally people were really friendly. Whites Creek Trail dead ends at N. Timberline Dr. where we turned left and headed the last half mile back to the car. There’s a tiny bit of a climb back to the parking area, and my legs were dead at this point. It was almost comical how hard the less than 75 feet of climbing felt to me.

Dry Pond Loop // tahoefabulous.com

I really enjoyed riding the Dry Pond Loop. There were great views, interesting ecosystems, friendly people, and enough challenge to make it entertaining. I think this would be a great trail to take newer riders on.

Trail Stats
Location: Mt. Rose, Reno, NV
Mileage: 6.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,025
Difficulty: Easier Intermediate
See my Strava Route here!
Washoe Land

Hot Weather Mountain Biking

The weather is finally getting warmer up here in Truckee, and it’s already pretty hot down in the foothills. That means it’s finally time for summer mountain biking!

Summer Weather Mountain Biking // tahoefabulous.com

Summer is really the high season for mountain biking in the higher elevations. While it’s significantly cooler up here, it can still get pretty hot during the day, plus the sun seems to beat down even harder at altitude and it’s easy to get dehydrated. There are tons of ways to deal with hydration while mountain biking, and I’m going to lay out some details, recommendations, pros, and cons for my favorites.

Summer Weather Mountain Biking // tahoefabulous.com

Hydration Packs: Hydration packs are backpacks that contain a water reservoir attached to a hose with a mouth piece that you can drink out of without stopping to pull out a bottle or take off the path. Quite a few brands make hydration packs, and they come in a wide variety of sizes, price points, and designs, including mountain bike specific ones. While generally hydration packs have the reservoir oriented vertically, mountain bike specific ones often have the reservoir horizontally across the lower back. Other specific features that mountain bike hydration packs often have include additional armoring for crash protection, big hip pockets for storage, helmet clips, and a suspension system to help keep the pack off of your sweaty back. While it’s completely possible to wear a hiking style hydration pack while mountain biking, I prefer the bike specific styles. I actually wear my Camelbak Solstice hiking and on short trail runs, which it works great for as well.

Summer Mountain Biking Gear // tahoefabulous.com

I have and recommend the CamelBak Solstice LR ($88). Other popular, well reviewed mountain bike specific hydration packs are the Osprey Packs Raptor ($140), CamelBak M.U.L.E. ($82), and Dakine Drafter ($88). The pros for hydration packs are that they give you the ability to pack a lot of gear, the ability to carry quite a bit of water, they distribute their weight across your whole back for comfort and stability, there a lot of options at a lot of price points, and they can be used for a variety of outdoor activities. The cons are that they tend to be on the heavy side, they can be hot and increase sweating during the ride, and having more contact points give more opportunities for chafing.

Summer Weather Mountain Biking // tahoefabulous.com

Waist Packs: Fanny packs are finally back in style, but mountain bike specific fanny packs are a little different than the ones I remember from the early 90s. They are a little bigger than the purse style packs, usually have some sort of hydration system – either a spot for a small bottle or a reservoir and hose, and a wider waistband for comfort and stability.

Summer Mountain Biking Gear // tahoefabulous.com

I got the Dakine Hot Laps 2L ($40) for Christmas, and I love it – see my detailed review here. Other well reviewed mountain biking waist packs are Osprey Packs Seral ($83), Patagonia Black Hole Waist Pack ($59), and CamelBak Repack LR ($56). The pros for waist packs include that they are light weight, they allow for more air flow across your back, and that there are fewer pressure points that might cause chaffing. On the downside, you can’t carry as much gear or water, there are fewer quality options, and they move around more while riding.

Other Hydration Strategies: The simplest, cheapest way to hydrate on your bike is with a water bottle in your bottle cage(s). For really hot days, you can even get insulated bike bottles, like this one from the REI Outlet, to keep your water cold. This has the advantage of being really easy, but it limits how much water you can bring and some full suspension bikes have one or fewer spots to mount your bottles. Also, you’ll have to find somewhere to store your tools/tube/snacks/keys/phone/etc. There are also mountain biking specific hydration vests, like the CamelBak Chase ($75), but I’ve never tried any out, so I don’t have any opinions or recommendations on those.

Basically, if I’m going on a shorter, hot mountain bike ride, I’ll use my Dakine Hot Laps with a bottle in my cage and if I’m going on a long, hot mountain bike, I’ll use my Camelbak Solstice with a bottle in my cage. Often, I’ll put some kind of electrolyte drink in my bike bottle with plain water in my Solstice or in the small bottle in my Hot Laps. For shorter rides, Nuun Active tablets have electrolytes without many calories, and I like Tailwind Nutrition Endurance Fuel when I need more nutrition along with electrolytes. Tailwind has about 100 calories per serving and is really easy on my stomach, especially when it’s hot out.

Summer Weather Mountain Biking // tahoefabulous.com

Lightweight Gear: I tend to get really hot when I exercise, and I used to always want to ride in tank tops in the summer. But between getting scraped up in crashes and sun damage worry, I’m coming around to light weight, long sleeve bike jerseys. My lightest weight one is the Pearl Izumi Launch 3/4 Sleeve Jersey ($50) which I’ve had for a couple of years and really like it. Slightly heavier but incredibly tough is Troy Lee Designs Ruckus ($36) jersey that I’ve had for almost ten years and that has held up through a bunch of crashes. My newest light weight jersey is the Patagonia Nine Trails Bike Jersey ($59). I’ve worn it on a couple of rides now, and I really like it. It’s a little warmer than the others, but it’s still a great summer option. While I usually wear the same baggies year round, I reach for shorter chamois during the heat of the summer, like the Pearl Izumi Women’s ESCAPE Sugar ($60) and the REI Co-op Junction 5 Inch Inseam ($35).

Summer Mountain Biking Gear // tahoefabulous.com

While it’s tempting to skip gloves when it’s really hot out, I always regret that decision when my hands are still sweaty, but now it’s harder to grip the bars. I finally got lightweight gloves for this summer, specifically the Giro Rivet CS ($35), which I’ve used a few times and really like. I have SixSixOne Recon lightweight knee pads ($60) as well. If it’s really warm, I’ll strap them on my pack for the climb and put on for the downhill, but they’re also comfortable enough to pedal in if needed. Greyson also recently got the Kali Protectives Strike ($85), and he really likes them. Finally, having a lightweight helmet is a key factor in staying cool. I highly recommend the Bell Super 3R ($230), which is super ventilated and has a removable chin bar that you can take off for the climbs.

I hope this has been helpful when planning your hot weather bike rides!

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I receive a small percentage of the sale as compensation – at no additional cost to you. I promise to only recommend products that I use and enjoy!

VIDEO: Dry Pond Loop, Reno, NV

Yesterday, Greyson and I rode some new-to-us trails in Reno, near Mount Rose. We did the Dry Pond Loop counterclockwise, riding up the Thomas Creek Trail, continuing on to Dry Pond Trail, and finishing on Whites Creek Trail.

VIDEO: Mountain Biking Mills Peak Trail

Greyson and I went up to Graeagle yesterday to ride one of our favorite trails – Mills Peak Trail. A lot of the trail is still buried in snow, but the lower parts are open. We climbed up the bottom third and rode back down. The trail is in great condition and it was a super fun ride. Here’s a video we made of some of what we rode yesterday!

Dakine Hot Laps 2L Review

As someone who grew up in the 90’s, I was very into fanny packs in elementary school. That said, I was a little surprised when they became so popular for mountain biking. I thought they’d be too small and move around too much, but after reading a bunch of reviews and trying on several different models, I got the Dakine Hot Laps 2L Hip Pack for Christmas from Greyson. I’ve done quite a few rides with it, ranging from a short lap of a smooth flow trail to a 20 mile gravel/singletrack/road combo ride to a steep, rocky, and loose route. I’m really impressed!

Dakine Hot Laps 2L Bike Pack Review // tahoefabulous.com

When I was shopping, I knew that I wanted something without a bladder, ruling out the popular Osprey Packs Seral. I also knew that I wanted a way to hold a water bottle, so the low profile Dakine Hot Laps Stealth wouldn’t work. The Hot Laps 2L was one of the few packs that met my criteria, and it had great reviews.

Now that I’ve worn the Hot Laps on a half dozen rides, I think that I can give my review on the bag. Even when packed full, the bag doesn’t bounce around when it’s worn and tightened correctly. For shorter rides, I’ll only use one water bottle, stored in the cage and not use the water bottle loop on the Hot Laps. In that situation, I center the bag in the middle of my back. If I am using the bottle holder, I orient it slightly to the side, so the heavy bottle is closer to the center of my back, which evens out the weight to reduce bounce and side to side sway.

Dakine Hot Laps 2L Review // tahofabulous.com
Photo from fanatikbike.com

For comfort and stability, tighten the hip belt really tight on the downhills and loosen it on the climbs, if possible. I don’t really like things tight around my waist, and I was worried that would be something I couldn’t handle with a waist bag. The Hot Laps hasn’t bugged me at all in that way, I think in part due to the fact the hip belt strap is wide, so it doesn’t have the “cutting in” feeling that thinner straps do.

For its small size, the Hot Laps can fit a fair amount of gear. I’ve maxed out the storage to fit a multi tool, tube, phone, snacks, and thin additional layer (the Patagonia Houdini, which packs really small) or tube, pump, tool, phone, and keys, depending on the ride. This isn’t a pack to take if you’re going very far or alone. I’ve generally used it on rides that are short, close to home, or with another person who is carrying most of the tools (thanks, Greyson!). If I’m going on a longer ride or going by myself, I stick with my 10 L CamelBak Solstice.

I also love that my back gets so much less sweaty when wearing this pack. i’ve worn it on a couple of hotter rides, and I was so glad not to have the sweaty, bulky pack on. I think the Dakine Hot Laps 2L is an awesome pack for a specific purpose – shorter and hotter rides when you don’t want or need to pack a ton of stuff with you. I wouldn’t have the Dakine Hot Laps as my only biking bag, but I’m glad I’ve added it to my gear closet.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I receive a small percentage of the sale as compensation – at no additional cost to you. I promise to only recommend products that I use and enjoy!

VIDEO: Mountain Biking the Hoot Trail in Nevada City

I got myself a GoPro HERO7 Black, and I’ve started playing around with it. This weekend, Greyson, my friend Kelly and I headed back to Hoot Trail in Nevada City and rode a couple of laps. Here’s a short video of one of the laps!

Thanks to Greyson for editing this together!

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I receive a small percentage of the sale as compensation – at no additional cost to you. I promise to only recommend products that I use and enjoy!

Point Reyes Gravel Bike Ride

Point Reyes Gravel Biking // tahoefabulous.com

Last month, Greyson and I took our new-ish gravel bikes down to Point Reyes and rode a ~20 mile loop. I had taken my Diamondback Haanjo Trail (full review coming soon) on a few road rides and on one trail ride, but they were all pretty short and I was excited to see how the bike did on a longer route with a mix of road, trail, and gravel riding. I can’t take credit for this route, Greyson did all of the research and put it together. It was challenging (especially the road climb!) but fun, and it had amazing views.

Point Reyes Gravel Ride // tahoefabulous.com
Trail Map via Strava

We started from the Cottages at Point Reyes Seashore, which is on Sir Frances Drake Blvd, near Chicken Ranch Beach. We turned left onto Sir Frances Drake and headed west, immediately uphill and climbed about 350 feet in about 0.75 miles before heading down again. I’m not a huge fan of riding with cars, and Sir Frances Drake is pretty narrow and highly trafficked on the weekends. That said, cars seemed to expect to see bikers and gave us plenty of space. After about 2.3 miles, we turned left onto Mount Vision Road for another section of climbing. I spent a lot of time on the trainer this winter, so I wasn’t entirely out of bike shape. That said, this climb was really hard, especially as my first long, outdoor ride of the season. The climb is more than 1,200 feet in about 4.5 miles. Part of the road is currently washed out, and passable by bikes but not cars. It was awesome to ride without worrying about vehicles, but we did have to hike a bike through the landslide section.

Point Reyes Gravel Ride // tahoefabulous.com

Mt. Vision Road dead ends at a trail at the top of Mt. Vision (after quite a few false summits!) and there’s an awesome view of the whole point. Greyson and I took a break here to have a snack and rest our legs. The road ends and turns into the Inverness Ridge Trail about 4.5 miles from the Sir Frances Drake turn off. It starts as a fairly wide double track, but quickly gets pretty narrow and on the steep side. While it’s definitely doable by a competent rider on a gravel bike, I think it would be pretty challenging for someone with beginner bike handling skills. However, that’s a pretty small percentage of the Inverness Ridge Trail section, and the rest of it is much more rideable. There’s a mix of single track, double track and fire road, which was really fun on our gravel bikes. This section is multi use, so watch out for hikers and equestrians! The Inverness Ridge Trail section is about 2.7 miles and drops 450 feet with a couple of short climbs sprinkled throughout.

The trail ends at Limantour Road, which we turned left on for a long, fun downhill road ride. This road had a nice wide shoulder for the most part and less traffic than other sections. Limantour Road actually parallels a couple of trails, but, unfortunately, they’re not open to bikes. Limantour Road dead ends at Bear Valley road after about 4.5 miles and ~770 feet of descent. We turned left on Bear Valley Road, which turns into Sir Frances Drake after less than 0.5 miles, to head back towards the Cottages. This section is almost entirely flat, and I was glad to get out of the drops on my bike and stretch out my back. It was a little unnerving to be so close to cars again after being on trails and empty, wide roads for so long, but again cars were great about giving us space.

Point Reyes Gravel Ride // tahoefabulous.com
Via Strava

We arrived back at the Cottages at almost exactly 19 miles, so I rode around the property until I hit 20! All in all, this was a fun, challenging ride, and I’m excited to try it again when I’m in better shape. Maybe mid-summer? If you’re in the Point Reyes area and looking for a ride with a nice mix of road, gravel, and single track, I highly recommend this loop. Click here to check out my Strava Route.

Trail Stats:
Location: Point Reyes National Seashore, California
Mileage: 19 miles
Elevation: ~2,300 feet
Coast Miwok & Graton Rancheria Land

Spring Mountain Biking in the Sierra

It’s definitely the shoulder season here in Truckee. The sky is gray, the snow piles are dirty, and I am ready for summer! Unfortunately, we have a ways to go, and I need to find ways to enjoy the spring. Luckily, spring means the start of mountain biking season here in the Sierra. Spring riding is a little different than biking in the summer or the fall, but it can be a bunch of sloppy fun.

Spring Mountain Biking // tahoefabulous.com

Trails
Depending on how much snow we get in the winter, the lower trails in Truckee and Tahoe start melting out in March and April. The earliest rideable trails in Truckee are usually Emigrant, Jackass, and Elizabethtown Meadows. In South Lake Tahoe, Powerlines, Railroad and Lower Corral in the Corral Trail Network are among the first to be rideable.

In a winter like this, the Tahoe and Truckee trails might not be rideable until summer. In that case, I drop down into the foothills to ride. My favorite spring foothills trails are Hoot Trail in Nevada City and Foresthill Divide and the Culvert/Confluence Loop in Auburn.

Trail Conditions
The biggest question about spring mountain biking is – can you ride your mountain bike when it’s been wet and raining? The answer – it depends! There are regions where the very idea of riding in the wet makes responsible mountain bikers recoil in horror and others where, if you didn’t ride in the wet, you would never ride at all.

If a trail is well designed and is mainly composed of sandy and rocky soil and drains well, it is probably safe to ride when it’s been raining. If a trail has clay type soil and the water tends to puddle in the flat spots and/or create erosion ruts, it’s not safe to ride. If you’re riding a trail and leaving tire tracks for long stretches, you shouldn’t be riding. It sucks, but if the spring conditions are such that you are damaging the trail, you should bail on the ride.

Riding on wet trails increases erosion ruts, damages jumps, berms and other features, and contributes to trail widening and reroutes. When you’re unsure if a trail is rideable due to conditions, do some research ahead of driving out to the trail. Local trail groups, like TAMBA in Tahoe or BONC in Nevada City often have up to date trail conditions reports on their websites. Regional facebook groups, like Tahoe Mountain Biking Meetup, are another great source for finding trails that are rideable. Finally, the location specific forums on websites like MTBR often have the most up to date trail data, though be sure to take personal recommendations with a grain of salt, and be ready to turn around if the trail is unrideable.

Spring Riding Gear // tahoefabulous.com

Gear
For wetter spring riding, it’s nice to have some specific gear. Layers are always good, and I decide what I want based on what the weather is actually doing. If it’s going to be actively raining, I’ll wear an actual rain coat. I have a Patagonia Torrentshell, which is a very waterproof coat. It’s not very stretchy or packable, though, and I’m interested in trying out something like the Patagonia Stretch Rainshadow which looks to be smaller, lighter, and more comfortable than a typical raincoat. When there’s no rain in the forecast, I just got a new softshell, the Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid Hoody, which I think will be perfect. If there’s a slight chance of rain, I’ll often throw my Patagonia Houdini Jacket into my hydration pack. It’s tiny enough that I don’t even notice, and while not fully waterproof, it will help if I get caught in the rain. On the bottom, I like to wear full length chamois tights if it’s cold or particularly muddy. I have the Pearl iZUMi Escape Sugar Thermal, which I like, though I wish they were a little longer. If anyone knows any good full length tight chamois that fit someone 5’11” – let me know! Greyson likes to wear water resistant baggy shorts over his chamois, but I haven’t found any water resistant women’s baggies, unfortunately. When it’s grey, cloudy, and wet, I’ll switch to clear lenses in my Smith Squad MTB Goggles. I also carry sunglasses with me in case the sun comes out, because I cannot function when it’s too bright.

A couple of other things that are nice to have during the spring is a foldable saw, like the SILKY F-180, which is useful if you encounter trees downed across the trail and something like the Nemo Helio Portable Pressure Shower, which is great for rinsing mud off your bike.

Trail Work // tahoefabulous.com

Trail Work
Trail work is a great way to give back, and spring is a time where a lot of trail work gets done. After the snow melts out, there’s often debris and garbage all over the trails. Trails are rutted out and features have been damaged. Additionally, trail builders might be cutting new trails. Some trail groups and governmental agencies might have a trail builder on staff, but all rely heavily on volunteers to get trails built, repaired, and maintained.

While anybody can just go out and pick up litter from a trailhead, trail building requires some knowledge and training, and the best way to get that is to volunteer with groups that organize trail days. Beyond the warm glow of giving back, volunteering on trails often has other benefits – you’ll almost always get at least a beer. It’s also a great way to meet other riders in your area, and once, Greyson and I even got a free shuttle to the top of Mills Peak! Here are some great trails groups in the Sierra that host trail days:

I’m hoping to get out this weekend and do some riding, but the weather that’s coming doesn’t make that likely. I guess I’ll deal with a couple more weeks of winter.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I receive a small percentage of the sale as compensation – at no additional cost to you. I promise to only recommend products that I use and enjoy!

Spring Mountain Biking in Reno

While another snowstorm is barreling towards Truckee (urgghhh, I’m ready for Spring!), I’m dreaming about mountain biking. While we’re still buried in snow in the higher elevations, the Sierra foothills will be ready for riding soon. Last year, when we had a pretty mild winter, Greyson and I found a couple of fun loops to do less than an hour away at Peavine Mountain in Reno, Nevada.

Mountain Biking Peavine Mountain // tahoefabulous.com

The first route we did was a lollipop that involved a chunky climb up and a smooth ride down. It was fun, but for my style of riding I think I’d ride it the other way next time. We covered about 7.2 miles and ~880 feet of elevation in a moving time of 1:17.

Peavine Mountain // tahoefabulous.com
Via Strava
Peavine Mountain // tahoefabulous.com
Via Strava

For this loop, we parked off of Kings Row (which is a residential neighborhood, so be polite if you park here!) and hopped on to Halo Trail and started climbing. We didn’t take the full Halo Trail, but took the left fork on to Curt’s Cut Off at about 3.8 miles. At about 4 miles, Curt’s dead ends into another branch of Halo Trail, turn left, and the climbing is over at that point! At about 4.2 miles, we took the left fork on to Bacon Strip for another short, flat section. Coming from Truckee, I love riding at Peavine because of the wide open views!

Peavine Mountain // tahoefabulous.com

At about 4.4 miles, we started on the real downhill section by taking the left fork on to Crispy Bacon. We descended just over 200 feet in almost 1.5 miles – the descent was pretty mellow. Honestly, it was a little on the boring side. I’d climb up it, if I did this route again. The next section of the descent, starting at mile ~5.8 back on Halo Trail, does get a little spicy! This part of the trail is rocky and little exposed, which to me seems a lot more noticeable on the downhill, versus when we were climbing up. This segment is about 1.4 miles and drops ~380 feet. With that, we got back to the car.

Peavine Mountain // tahoefabulous.com

On the next loop we did, we took a group with a wide variety of mountain bike experience, from total beginners to experts. Everyone seemed to have a great time! It was easy enough that the beginners could handle everything, but had enough features of interest that the experts weren’t bored. This loop was about 5 miles with just under 1,000 feet of climbing, with a moving time of 48 minutes. This route was much smoother than the previous loop, with very little rocky or technical riding.

Peavine Mountain // tahoefabulous.com
Via Strava
Peavine Mountain // tahoefabulous.com
Via Strava

This loop started from the East Keystone Trailhead, a paved parking area with lots of parking. We headed up Keystone Trail, a fairly mellow climb. We were looking for a left turn on to Total Recall at about mile 1.7, but we turned too early on to a fire road – don’t make that mistake. We figured it out pretty quickly, hopped back on Keystone, and found the correct left on to Total Recall pretty quickly. At about 2 miles, there’s a fork in the trail, and we went left on to Poedunk Trail. The first mile of Poedunk is the last bit of climbing on this route, rising up about 260 feet.

Peavine Mountain // tahoefabulous.com

At about mile 4, Poedunk forks, and we needed to make sure that we got back to the correct parking area. We stayed right and stayed on Poedunk (though you can also take the left fork on to P Drop Trail). When Poedunk ended about 0.1 miles later, we went left on Rancho Connector until it re-crossed P Drop at about 4.4 miles. We turned right on P Drop, which dead ends back on Keystone Canyon, at about mile 4.8. From there, it’s just a short bit back to the car. This was a fun loop, but next time I do it, I’ll just take the left fork onto P Drop, as it’s a simpler route back to the car.

Peavine Mountain // tahoefabulous.com

Peavine Mountain is an awesome trail network where you can build routes for all ability and fitness levels. I found it was pretty easy to navigate – many trails have signage, but not all. Having an app like Trailforks to help navigate was nice for that reason. Since Reno is such a quick drive from Truckee-Tahoe, the Peavine trails are a great option when the weather isn’t cooperating up higher. Some of the Peavine trails don’t drain especially well and get think, tire clogging, peanut butter type mud when it’s wet, so be sure to pay attention to the trail conditions. Greyson and I learned the hard way once, and had to turn back after less than a mile!

I’m excited to explore more of what Peavine Mountain has to offer this spring, and I plan to write up some more, longer routes.

These trails are on the Ancestral lands of the Washoe Peoples.