The Famous Flume Trail
While there are too many trails to name, one of the more famous ones is the Flume Trail. Long ago, when the area was logged, there was a series of flumes that transported the flumes to the lower Carson City valley. The path of the flume is now an excellent single track for riding or hiking. Excellent technical riding as well as mind blowing views. Simply ask any local with a mountain bike where to pick it up or stop in a bike/ski ship for a map.
By the mid 1870's Incline Village was the home of one of the steepest and longest "incline railroads" (the top of which is called the "Bull Wheel"), which pulled lumber directly up 1400 feet of mountain side. On its way to to be placed on the beds of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad cars, the lumber went through a series of V-flumes over the Carson Range.
For a little history lesson:
Hiking Mount Rose
Mt. Rose gives you one of the best views of both the Lake Basin and the Reno Valley. Mount Rose is on the north side of the Lake Tahoe Basin and is well above the tree line. It has a bouldery top, with lots of red colored granite. The red gives the name to the mountain of "Rose".
I do not recall the exact elevation, but the summit is above 10000 feet. It is a wonderful hike that us just under 6 miles.
Last time I did it, it took me just under 4 hours up and under 3 hours down. Bring good shoes, and plenty of water because the sun can be hot!
Suggest doing a Google Search for the trail, or stop at a bike/mtn store and see if they have a trial map. Almost all recreational outfitter stores in Incline will have maps.
What can I say, Tahoe is home. The Ponderosa Ranch (home of Bonanza TV series) has been closed, but there's still plenty to do and see. Its a mountain haven, with climbing, biking, skiing and water sports. There's also the gambling, which keeps the area alive year round with tourists.
It is a small mountain town that over time has evolved into a destination site for winter mountain tourists. It has a fairly active night life as well as a huge amount of day time activities. It is a far cry from its original birth as a logging capital in the ~1870's to feed the growth due to migration, mining and the Comstock Load.
Today, it is home for locals working hand to mouth to support their winter addictions of skiing, tourists coming from all around the world to bask in the glory of the mountains and entertain them selves in the quaint town, nature thrill junkies using it as base camp to explore the mountains and national parks? yup, feels like home to me!
Feel free to visit my Nevada page for my thoughts on my home state.
(for more pictures, feel free to visit my USA Gallery. If you enjoy the pictures, please leave a comment.)
Tahoe Facts and Stats
"Growing up here"
As I noted before, it is a town of locals living hand to mouth just to maintain their lifestyle. That is true for 1/2 of the town. The other half are independently wealthy, using Tahoe as a second home, or primary if they are so fortunate not to have to commute to their jobs.
The town is nearly as built-up as it will ever be. OK, there are constantly changes, but it is a tourist town, not an industrial center. Therefore there it tends to be a revolving door of people who travel here, fall in love with it, move there thinking it will be an ideal home, have a hard time finding sufficient income and ultimately leave a few years later. For the few who find a niche, it is a wonderful haven. My family fell into this later category... struggling at times to make ends meet, but at the same time able to survive and more than that, actually live a life in Tahoe.
I moved to Tahoe when I was 3 years old.... and I graduated high school there. I've watched the town grow to what it is now, but it did so rather slowly. It started as a one-horse town of few thousand people and now tips the scales at ~10000 people (population). In my opinion even through it is a small town, it has lost a lot of what made it so wonderful. It made me sad to see some of the ma-and-pa stores close, but many still thrive. It made me upset to see a Starbucks start up and threaten the family cafes. But all in all, it is still God's country. And even seeing what it is now (with I think 3 stop lights, a bowling alley and a single screen theater), it has everything you need while not overloading your senses.
The Lake has good restaurants, conveniences, nature, sports, night life, entertainment, friendly people... everything you want. And when that just is not enough, Reno is less than an hour away...
Also close by are Carson City, Virginia City, Truckee, Verdi, South Lake Tahoe, Kings Beach and Tahoe City.
Lake Tahoe - Facts and Stats
"Lake of the Sky"
Some people say that Lake Tahoe means “Lake of the Sky”. Others prefer to think that it means “Big Blue”. Yet others attest to the theory that it comes from the mispronunciation of the local Washoe Indian word ‘Da ow a ga’’, which means “edge of the lake”. Either way, they are all valid descriptors.
The Lake Tahoe basin has been inhabited for thousands of years by the Washoe Indians, but was first seen by Anglo-European eyes in 1844. Captain John C. Fremont set off in 1842 to explore the Rockies and continued to what is now Oregon and Northern California. The region grew quickly after gold was found in the mountains and sparked the surge of migrant moves to San Francisco (circa 1849).
Not far from Lake Tahoe is Donner Lake, infamous for the Donner Party’s demise when they were caught unprepared during a winter attempt at the Sierras. (12 miles northwest of Lake Tahoe, at an elevation of 5,936 ft / 1809 m).
"General Facts and Stats"
Maximum Elevation: 6,229 feet (1899 m) (the damn in Tahoe City)
Length: 22 miles (35.4 km)
Width: 12 miles (19.3 km)
Maximum Depth: 1,645 feet (501.4 m)
Average Depth: 989 feet (301.4 m)
Shoreline: 72 miles (115.9 km)
Surface Area: 193 sq. mi. / 122,200 acres (500 sq. km / 49986 hectares)
Volume: 39 trillion gallons / 122 million acre feet (146.7 billion cubic meters)
Surface Water Temperatures:
Maximum : 68 F (20 C)
Minimum : 41 F (5 C)
Temperatures at 200 feet (60 m):
Maximum : 47 F (8 C)
Minimum : 41 F (5 C)
Temperatures below 900 ft (275 m): 39 F (4 C)
--Lake Tahoe is the highest lake of its size in the United States and the largest alpine lake in North America.
--Lake Tahoe is the third deepest lake in North American, following after Crater Lake in Oregon, and the Great Slave Lake in Canada.
--Lake Tahoe is as long as the English Channel is wide with the width of Tahoe being half again as wide as San Francisco Bay.
--With one dispersion of Lake Tahoe's water, the State of California would be completely covered to a depth of 14.5 inches.
--The Panama Canal (700 feet in width and 50 feet in depth) could be filled by Lake Tahoe's water and extend completely around the earth at the equator, with enough remaining in the lake to fill another channel of the same width and depth running from San Francisco to New York.
--An average 1,400,000 tons of water evaporates from the surface of Lake Tahoe every 24 hours, yet this drops the lake level only 1/10 of an inch.
--If the water that evaporates from the lake every 24 hours could be recovered, it would supply the daily requirements of a population of 3,500,000 people.
--There are 63 tributaries draining into Lake Tahoe with only one outlet at the Truckee River (having a regulatory damn since 1910).
--Lake Tahoe never freezes due to the constant mass movement of water from the bottom to the surface. In February 1989, Emerald Bay froze over for the first time since 1952.
--Lake Tahoe is one of a few lakes that does not "give up the dead". Due to cold temperatures and lack of decomposing bacteria, Tahoe has its own verifiable Davey Jones' Locker.
--The water from Lake Tahoe and the Truckee River will never reach the ocean. The Truckee River feeds into Pyramid Lake, which is a sink into the Great Basin of Nevada.
"Water purity and quality"
Lake Tahoe's water is 99.9% pure. The water is so clear that a 10" (25cm) white dinner plate would be visible at over 75 feet (23 m) below the surface.
But even a few decades ago, the water quality was much higher. I have seen first hand the decrease due in part to increases of population, motor boat traffic and the demise of natural aquifers pilfered to create marinas.
Thankfully people are learning the error in their ways and new policies are helping to renew the lake's vitality.
Clarity has only been documented since 1968 by UC Davis. No prior tests had been performed. Their first reading in 1968 were just over 100ft. Current readings are fluctuating around 75ft, rebounding from an all-time low of 63ft in 1997.
They use the Secchi method of measuring the clarity, which is to submerge a 10" round white disk with black marks. Light can penetrate ~3x deeper than the depth these no longer become visible. So, it is possible you can see the bottom of the lake at 200ft plus, but do not have the sharpness to discern anything smaller than 1ft in size.
In the days since 1968, the lake was victim of dredging to build the south shore's marinas, which drastically affected the natural filtration of runoff. Also in 1978, they finally banned sewage disposal into the lake (but unfortunately had two massive leaks of several thousand gallons each). In 1997, it was mandated that roads be repaved to improve erosion control. Also, salt spray for winter ice control was minimized by using black sand. 2-stroke motors were outlawed, and EPA/USFS/US Army corp of Engineers/CA & NV state were all entrusted with over $930M projects on the topic. Most of which were implemented as action items from the Tahoe Presidential Summit meetings