Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail

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Carefreeap
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Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail

Post by Carefreeap » Sat Apr 15, 2017 6:35 pm

I know there are a bunch of backpacking Bogleheads and I'd like to pick your brains about hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail.
I did solo hike the entire JMT last Sept for my 55th birthday. It was a blast and I had an amazing trip with no issues. Seriously, only one blister...how lucky is that?

Thinking about the Tahoe Rim Trail and again in Sept. Hoping most of the snow will be gone by then as well as most of the crowds. I don't think I want to do the whole 165miles; probably just a week and averaging around 12 miles per day so maybe 100-120 mile section. What part of the trail have you done and what do you recommend, what to avoid and what to skip?

Thanks very much!

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Alexa9
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Re: Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail

Post by Alexa9 » Sat Apr 15, 2017 8:13 pm

I guess you'll have to let us know how it goes!

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JaneyLH
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Re: Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail

Post by JaneyLH » Sat Apr 15, 2017 8:16 pm

Tahoe Rim Trail Association is the nonprofit group that manages and maintains the trail. If you haven't visited the website or called the staff I'd suggest that as a great starting point. https://tahoerimtrail.org/ 8-)

GraduateStudent
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Re: Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail

Post by GraduateStudent » Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:00 pm

I've section hiked almost the whole thing over the years. I was thinking about doing the Tahoe 200 this year to see if I could bang out the whole thing in two or three days... :D

To answer your question: the Desolation Wilderness part of the trail is amazing and not to be missed. Some of the East shore between Spooner and Heavenly aren't my favorite part.
Life after grad school is great.

Carefreeap
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Re: Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail

Post by Carefreeap » Sat Apr 15, 2017 10:21 pm

GraduateStudent wrote:I've section hiked almost the whole thing over the years. I was thinking about doing the Tahoe 200 this year to see if I could bang out the whole thing in two or three days... :D

To answer your question: the Desolation Wilderness part of the trail is amazing and not to be missed. Some of the East shore between Spooner and Heavenly aren't my favorite part.


Thank you! This is exactly the input for which I'm searching.

And I'll bite; what is the Tahoe 200?

btenny
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Re: Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail

Post by btenny » Sat Apr 15, 2017 10:27 pm

You might want to slow roll your Tahoe hiking plans this year. It is still snowing a LOT in Tahoe. I live there part time and this has been the wettest winter in decades and maybe EVER. It started snowing in January and has not let up much for 3 months. And up high the snow depth is still getting deeper. There is 20-30 feet of snow in most places up in the mountains. So it is very unclear when or even IF the snow will melt completely this year. Most likely portions of the RIM trail will never be clear of snow and require "over snow hiking" and extra preparation. Can you hike in snow boots or with snow shoes? Are you ready for this type of trekking? Or some portions may never open at all. So I suggest you might think about hiking the trail in pieces or hike some other place or maybe wait a year. I just don't see doing a single long hike being a good plan this year. Good Luck.

http://www.tahoedailytribune.com/trendi ... -expected/
http://www.sierrasun.com/news/local/big ... ake-tahoe/
https://tahoerimtrail.org/current-trail-conditions/
https://www.fs.fed.us/r5/webmaps/Sierra ... on=-120.05

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White Coat Investor
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Re: Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail

Post by White Coat Investor » Sat Apr 15, 2017 11:52 pm

btenny wrote:You might want to slow roll your Tahoe hiking plans this year. It is still snowing a LOT in Tahoe. I live there part time and this has been the wettest winter in decades and maybe EVER. It started snowing in January and has not let up much for 3 months. And up high the snow depth is still getting deeper. There is 20-30 feet of snow in most places up in the mountains. So it is very unclear when or even IF the snow will melt completely this year. Most likely portions of the RIM trail will never be clear of snow and require "over snow hiking" and extra preparation. Can you hike in snow boots or with snow shoes? Are you ready for this type of trekking? Or some portions may never open at all. So I suggest you might think about hiking the trail in pieces or hike some other place or maybe wait a year. I just don't see doing a single long hike being a good plan this year. Good Luck.

http://www.tahoedailytribune.com/trendi ... -expected/
http://www.sierrasun.com/news/local/big ... ake-tahoe/
https://tahoerimtrail.org/current-trail-conditions/
https://www.fs.fed.us/r5/webmaps/Sierra ... on=-120.05


Ahhh...live a little. I've realized the last couple of years that many mountains are far easier to climb in the Winter than they are in the summer. Plus it's faster coming down. Get yourself some backcountry skis or snowshoes and I bet you can still have a great time doing this trip. Might even go faster than you expect. I did a peak the other day that took us 4 hours to get up and 20 minutes to get down.

Besides, even 20 feet of snow doesn't last long against 60 degree plus temps and long, sunny days. The Tetons in June is a snow climbing trip. In August? It's all rock and scree. I'll bet it's the same for most of the Sierra, even this year.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course

btenny
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Re: Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail

Post by btenny » Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:26 am

Right now my friends just want it to quit snowing. They are tired of winter and shoveling drive ways.

As far as hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail I agree some of the trail will loose snow by late August or early September. But then other places may have BIG snow all summer. There are places at the top of Heavenly where the snow is 30-40 feet deep. I mean whole creeks and deep ravines are now filled in. And the snow is so deep that the lift huts are in snow caves and the signs are buried. The whole town is worried about flooding if it rains or the snow melts too fast....

But good luck hiking. I am sure you will have great time. Just be flexible on your route and schedule.

Carefreeap
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Re: Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail

Post by Carefreeap » Sun Apr 16, 2017 11:15 am

btenny wrote:You might want to slow roll your Tahoe hiking plans this year. It is still snowing a LOT in Tahoe. I live there part time and this has been the wettest winter in decades and maybe EVER. It started snowing in January and has not let up much for 3 months. And up high the snow depth is still getting deeper. There is 20-30 feet of snow in most places up in the mountains. So it is very unclear when or even IF the snow will melt completely this year. Most likely portions of the RIM trail will never be clear of snow and require "over snow hiking" and extra preparation. Can you hike in snow boots or with snow shoes? Are you ready for this type of trekking? Or some portions may never open at all. So I suggest you might think about hiking the trail in pieces or hike some other place or maybe wait a year. I just don't see doing a single long hike being a good plan this year. Good Luck.

http://www.tahoedailytribune.com/trendi ... -expected/
http://www.sierrasun.com/news/local/big ... ake-tahoe/
https://tahoerimtrail.org/current-trail-conditions/
https://www.fs.fed.us/r5/webmaps/Sierra ... on=-120.05


I do live in the Bay Area and our news has been reporting on the record snowfall, hence the thought about hiking in September and only section hiking.

I do have snowshoes but have never really "hiked" in them.

I'll be checking the weather closely before I go.

Thank you for your concern. I can also opt to visit my friends in AZ and do another Grand Canyon hike if the Tahoe Rim doesn't work out! 8-)

btenny
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Re: Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail

Post by btenny » Sun Apr 16, 2017 11:23 am

Yea snowshoes are very difficult for some of us. I cannot use them at all. I have a very narrow gait so they make me walk funny and I fall down. I step on the top of my feet with the shoes and trip. And if I am careful and swing out my legs to clear each other then my hips hurt in minutes. So no snow shoes. But snow boots work great for me and most times they are big enough to not post hole. But you may be different. Only time will tell how the snow is later this summer.

Good Luck.

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Soaker
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Re: Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail

Post by Soaker » Sun Apr 16, 2017 12:20 pm

Carefreeap wrote:Thinking about the Tahoe Rim Trail and again in Sept. Hoping most of the snow will be gone by then as well as most of the crowds. I don't think I want to do the whole 165miles; probably just a week and averaging around 12 miles per day so maybe 100-120 mile section. What part of the trail have you done and what do you recommend, what to avoid and what to skip?


I have section-hiked the whole thing. My first recommendation would be to start at Emerald Bay, climb up to Velma Lakes to join the TRT and then go counterclockwise to Heavenly.

If you still have energy after that, the next section would be to start near the top of Martis Peak Road and go clockwise above Incline Village past Mount Rose to Marlette Lake.

Those two segments would get you into the 100 mile range. Assuming you have someone you can call to pick you up, there are all sorts of places to drop down to the highway around Lake Tahoe so your schedule could be very flexible.

As GraduateStudent says, Heavenly to Marlette Lake is pretty much only for diehards, and I find most of Tahoe City to Martis Peak fairly forgettable as well. There are a few interesting areas between Tahoe City and Velma Lakes but that is the next one I would drop.

September should be fine. I live at Tahoe and in a year like this, many lakes above 8000' will still be snow-covered and frozen over after July 4, probably until 3rd week of July or so. August and September, when lakes and creeks can start to dry up in many years, should be excellent. Yes, there will be snow on high, shadowed trail segments in mid-August but nothing should be impassable by then.

Carefreeap
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Re: Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail

Post by Carefreeap » Sun Apr 16, 2017 12:24 pm

Soaker wrote:
Carefreeap wrote:Thinking about the Tahoe Rim Trail and again in Sept. Hoping most of the snow will be gone by then as well as most of the crowds. I don't think I want to do the whole 165miles; probably just a week and averaging around 12 miles per day so maybe 100-120 mile section. What part of the trail have you done and what do you recommend, what to avoid and what to skip?


I have section-hiked the whole thing. My first recommendation would be to start at Emerald Bay, climb up to Velma Lakes to join the TRT and then go counterclockwise to Heavenly.

If you still have energy after that, the next section would be to start near the top of Martis Peak Road and go clockwise above Incline Village past Mount Rose to Marlette Lake.

Those two segments would get you into the 100 mile range. Assuming you have someone you can call to pick you up, there are all sorts of places to drop down to the highway around Lake Tahoe so your schedule could be very flexible.

As GraduateStudent says, Heavenly to Marlette Lake is pretty much only for diehards, and I find most of Tahoe City to Martis Peak fairly forgettable as well. There are a few interesting areas between Tahoe City and Velma Lakes but that is the next one I would drop.

September should be fine. I live at Tahoe and in a year like this, many lakes above 8000' will still be snow-covered and frozen over after July 4, probably until 3rd week of July or so. August and September, when lakes and creeks can start to dry up in many years, should be excellent. Yes, there will be snow on high, shadowed trail segments in mid-August but nothing should be impassable by then.


Thanks so much for your tips!

halfnine
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Re: Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail

Post by halfnine » Sun Apr 16, 2017 4:10 pm

I have backpacked a little bit of the trail and biked a little bit of it as well. I really don't know much about enough it to really compare and contrast the sections. Though I will agree with a previous post in that you really can't go wrong with the Desolation Wilderness portion. As for snow, snowshoes and skis just aren't going to be viable that late in the season. Not in the Sierras. Even mid-season in a big snow year snowshoes and definitely skis could be problematic because of the huge temperature variations cause the surface of the snow change dramatically throughout the day. It is possible that snow will remain on the north facing passes. Travel will be most dangerous here early morning when the snow will be frozen solid. If there is a safe runout it won't be too big of a deal. And most likely any problems will also be short lived. Simple things like have a trekking pole for balance or cutting steps with rocks would likely see you through.

Carefreeap
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Re: Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail

Post by Carefreeap » Sun Apr 16, 2017 5:36 pm

halfnine wrote:I have backpacked a little bit of the trail and biked a little bit of it as well. I really don't know much about enough it to really compare and contrast the sections. Though I will agree with a previous post in that you really can't go wrong with the Desolation Wilderness portion. As for snow, snowshoes and skis just aren't going to be viable that late in the season. Not in the Sierras. Even mid-season in a big snow year snowshoes and definitely skis could be problematic because of the huge temperature variations cause the surface of the snow change dramatically throughout the day. It is possible that snow will remain on the north facing passes. Travel will be most dangerous here early morning when the snow will be frozen solid. If there is a safe runout it won't be too big of a deal. And most likely any problems will also be short lived. Simple things like have a trekking pole for balance or cutting steps with rocks would likely see you through.


Thanks!

I agree with you regarding the snow. Last July I hiked over the Kearsarge Pass (near Independence) to Charlotte Lake and then day hiked up and over Glen Pass to Rae Lakes and back to Charlotte Lake. I did this as a way to check out the area for a resuppy point as well as get some elevation training in. The difference two months make! While last year wasn't a big snow year the north face of Glen Pass had enough snow in July that one hiked through a head-high kind of snow channel for part of the trail. Come September I don't recall seeing snow anywhere from the JMT except on the north face of Mt. Ritter over by Thousand Lakes. It was kind of eerie.

GraduateStudent
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Re: Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail

Post by GraduateStudent » Sun Apr 16, 2017 6:08 pm

btenny wrote:You might want to slow roll your Tahoe hiking plans this year. It is still snowing a LOT in Tahoe. I live there part time and this has been the wettest winter in decades and maybe EVER. It started snowing in January and has not let up much for 3 months. And up high the snow depth is still getting deeper. There is 20-30 feet of snow in most places up in the mountains. So it is very unclear when or even IF the snow will melt completely this year. Most likely portions of the RIM trail will never be clear of snow and require "over snow hiking" and extra preparation. Can you hike in snow boots or with snow shoes? Are you ready for this type of trekking? Or some portions may never open at all. So I suggest you might think about hiking the trail in pieces or hike some other place or maybe wait a year. I just don't see doing a single long hike being a good plan this year. Good Luck.

http://www.tahoedailytribune.com/trendi ... -expected/
http://www.sierrasun.com/news/local/big ... ake-tahoe/
https://tahoerimtrail.org/current-trail-conditions/
https://www.fs.fed.us/r5/webmaps/Sierra ... on=-120.05


Not quite right... It's still smaller than 1982 and 1969...

But yes, there's tons of snow now. OP wants to hike in Aug-Sept, though, and snow will almost certainly be gone by then from the TRT. Trail was clear in Sept after the big year in 2011, for example.
Life after grad school is great.

halfnine
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Re: Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail

Post by halfnine » Sun Apr 16, 2017 6:33 pm

Carefreeap wrote:
halfnine wrote:I have backpacked a little bit of the trail and biked a little bit of it as well. I really don't know much about enough it to really compare and contrast the sections. Though I will agree with a previous post in that you really can't go wrong with the Desolation Wilderness portion. As for snow, snowshoes and skis just aren't going to be viable that late in the season. Not in the Sierras. Even mid-season in a big snow year snowshoes and definitely skis could be problematic because of the huge temperature variations cause the surface of the snow change dramatically throughout the day. It is possible that snow will remain on the north facing passes. Travel will be most dangerous here early morning when the snow will be frozen solid. If there is a safe runout it won't be too big of a deal. And most likely any problems will also be short lived. Simple things like have a trekking pole for balance or cutting steps with rocks would likely see you through.


Thanks!

I agree with you regarding the snow. Last July I hiked over the Kearsarge Pass (near Independence) to Charlotte Lake and then day hiked up and over Glen Pass to Rae Lakes and back to Charlotte Lake. I did this as a way to check out the area for a resuppy point as well as get some elevation training in. The difference two months make! While last year wasn't a big snow year the north face of Glen Pass had enough snow in July that one hiked through a head-high kind of snow channel for part of the trail. Come September I don't recall seeing snow anywhere from the JMT except on the north face of Mt. Ritter over by Thousand Lakes. It was kind of eerie.


That must mean there must not be much left of the Lyell Glacier by now then. I hiked the JMT many years back. Would like to do it again some day with my kids when they are older. Have you given any thought to doing the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail. If you are only looking for 100 miles or so I would reckon that could be done by doing half the trail and starting or ending at Highway 108. I've hiked about a little in Tuolumne and the Emigrant Wilderness and generally prefer those areas to Tahoe.

Carefreeap
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Re: Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail

Post by Carefreeap » Sun Apr 16, 2017 7:32 pm

halfnine wrote:
Carefreeap wrote:
halfnine wrote:I have backpacked a little bit of the trail and biked a little bit of it as well. I really don't know much about enough it to really compare and contrast the sections. Though I will agree with a previous post in that you really can't go wrong with the Desolation Wilderness portion. As for snow, snowshoes and skis just aren't going to be viable that late in the season. Not in the Sierras. Even mid-season in a big snow year snowshoes and definitely skis could be problematic because of the huge temperature variations cause the surface of the snow change dramatically throughout the day. It is possible that snow will remain on the north facing passes. Travel will be most dangerous here early morning when the snow will be frozen solid. If there is a safe runout it won't be too big of a deal. And most likely any problems will also be short lived. Simple things like have a trekking pole for balance or cutting steps with rocks would likely see you through.


Thanks!

I agree with you regarding the snow. Last July I hiked over the Kearsarge Pass (near Independence) to Charlotte Lake and then day hiked up and over Glen Pass to Rae Lakes and back to Charlotte Lake. I did this as a way to check out the area for a resuppy point as well as get some elevation training in. The difference two months make! While last year wasn't a big snow year the north face of Glen Pass had enough snow in July that one hiked through a head-high kind of snow channel for part of the trail. Come September I don't recall seeing snow anywhere from the JMT except on the north face of Mt. Ritter over by Thousand Lakes. It was kind of eerie.


That must mean there must not be much left of the Lyell Glacier by now then. I hiked the JMT many years back. Would like to do it again some day with my kids when they are older. Have you given any thought to doing the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail. If you are only looking for 100 miles or so I would reckon that could be done by doing half the trail and starting or ending at Highway 108. I've hiked about a little in Tuolumne and the Emigrant Wilderness and generally prefer those areas to Tahoe.


The Tahoe to Yosemite Trail was another recommendation given to me by my friend and former boss. He was one of the inspirations to do the JMT. He hiked the JMT with his son and his son's friend. My friend was about my age at the time and his son was in his early 20s. He said it was wonderful because the "youngsters" were so much faster than he that they had camp set up for him. :)

I'm not a super experienced camper. The JMT was my first through hike. I'm likely to do this solo again and I know my husband will freak out if I'm too isolated even though I'll have the DeLorme and will be texting him my whereabouts each night.

halfnine
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Re: Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail

Post by halfnine » Mon Apr 17, 2017 3:55 pm

Carefreeap wrote:
halfnine wrote:
Carefreeap wrote:
halfnine wrote:I have backpacked a little bit of the trail and biked a little bit of it as well. I really don't know much about enough it to really compare and contrast the sections. Though I will agree with a previous post in that you really can't go wrong with the Desolation Wilderness portion. As for snow, snowshoes and skis just aren't going to be viable that late in the season. Not in the Sierras. Even mid-season in a big snow year snowshoes and definitely skis could be problematic because of the huge temperature variations cause the surface of the snow change dramatically throughout the day. It is possible that snow will remain on the north facing passes. Travel will be most dangerous here early morning when the snow will be frozen solid. If there is a safe runout it won't be too big of a deal. And most likely any problems will also be short lived. Simple things like have a trekking pole for balance or cutting steps with rocks would likely see you through.


Thanks!

I agree with you regarding the snow. Last July I hiked over the Kearsarge Pass (near Independence) to Charlotte Lake and then day hiked up and over Glen Pass to Rae Lakes and back to Charlotte Lake. I did this as a way to check out the area for a resuppy point as well as get some elevation training in. The difference two months make! While last year wasn't a big snow year the north face of Glen Pass had enough snow in July that one hiked through a head-high kind of snow channel for part of the trail. Come September I don't recall seeing snow anywhere from the JMT except on the north face of Mt. Ritter over by Thousand Lakes. It was kind of eerie.


That must mean there must not be much left of the Lyell Glacier by now then. I hiked the JMT many years back. Would like to do it again some day with my kids when they are older. Have you given any thought to doing the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail. If you are only looking for 100 miles or so I would reckon that could be done by doing half the trail and starting or ending at Highway 108. I've hiked about a little in Tuolumne and the Emigrant Wilderness and generally prefer those areas to Tahoe.


The Tahoe to Yosemite Trail was another recommendation given to me by my friend and former boss. He was one of the inspirations to do the JMT. He hiked the JMT with his son and his son's friend. My friend was about my age at the time and his son was in his early 20s. He said it was wonderful because the "youngsters" were so much faster than he that they had camp set up for him. :)

I'm not a super experienced camper. The JMT was my first through hike. I'm likely to do this solo again and I know my husband will freak out if I'm too isolated even though I'll have the DeLorme and will be texting him my whereabouts each night.


Your point is a valid one. The Tahoe to Yosemite Trail would be a lot more isolated. One other memory also just came back. I remember when I did a loop trip in the Emigrant Wilderness I by chance happened to start my trip on the first day of deer hunting season. I don't know if or when there is a hunting season in/around Tahoe but if it is a concern of yours it would be worth looking into.

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Re: Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail

Post by ryuns » Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:19 pm

Regarding snow, I *hope* September will be fine because that's when I plan to hike the area. There are some good rec's here for what to catch and what to skip on the TRT. I've only hiked pieces here and there. If you have a goal to do the TRT, then you should start checking off pieces. But if you haven't hiked that much in the area, you might prefer just heading into the backcountry for a long loop that utilizes the TRT for only one section of it. Logistics will be easier (one pick up and drop off point) and crowds will be more mellow, which might be a consideration since everyone's backpacking plans this year will basically be crammed into September. Last year, we did a wonderful loop that began at Emerald Bay, took the TRT past Velma Lakes, and made a ~40 mile loop into the backcountry.

A couple other notes: Given the potential crowds, if you do end up in Desolation Wilderness, you should probably grab a permit online ASAP. They don't need a full itinerary, but it helps them control the crowds at the camping nearer to the main trailheads. You said you're from the Bay Area, so if you're approaching from west on highway 50, I highly recommend popping in to the good folks at the ranger station in "Fresh Pond" (just past Pollock Pines) to get last minute intel. Super helpful and rarely crowded.

Edit: Just read that you'll be a solo hiker and your husband might not be pleased if you're too isolated. So maybe the whole "not seeing anyone for several days" thing is more of a bug than a feature :) But in any case, that's another reason to double check your routes with the ranger. When we were considering our hike, we told them our experience and the ranger actually suggested that hike.
An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered. -- GK Chesterton

Carefreeap
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Re: Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail

Post by Carefreeap » Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:30 pm

[quote="halfnine]

Your point is a valid one. The Tahoe to Yosemite Trail would be a lot more isolated. One other memory also just came back. I remember when I did a loop trip in the Emigrant Wilderness I by chance happened to start my trip on the first day of deer hunting season. I don't know if or when there is a hunting season in/around Tahoe but if it is a concern of yours it would be worth looking into.[/quote]

Good point about the hunting season; we have so many deer at my house (I once had 17 deer on my front lawn!) that I forget they can be hunted outside city limits. I am surprised that hunting is allowed in the Wilderness area, but sounds like something I should check out.

Carefreeap
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Re: Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail

Post by Carefreeap » Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:45 pm

ryuns wrote:Regarding snow, I *hope* September will be fine because that's when I plan to hike the area. There are some good rec's here for what to catch and what to skip on the TRT. I've only hiked pieces here and there. If you have a goal to do the TRT, then you should start checking off pieces. But if you haven't hiked that much in the area, you might prefer just heading into the backcountry for a long loop that utilizes the TRT for only one section of it. Logistics will be easier (one pick up and drop off point) and crowds will be more mellow, which might be a consideration since everyone's backpacking plans this year will basically be crammed into September. Last year, we did a wonderful loop that began at Emerald Bay, took the TRT past Velma Lakes, and made a ~40 mile loop into the backcountry.

A couple other notes: Given the potential crowds, if you do end up in Desolation Wilderness, you should probably grab a permit online ASAP. They don't need a full itinerary, but it helps them control the crowds at the camping nearer to the main trailheads. You said you're from the Bay Area, so if you're approaching from west on highway 50, I highly recommend popping in to the good folks at the ranger station in "Fresh Pond" (just past Pollock Pines) to get last minute intel. Super helpful and rarely crowded.

Edit: Just read that you'll be a solo hiker and your husband might not be pleased if you're too isolated. So maybe the whole "not seeing anyone for several days" thing is more of a bug than a feature :) But in any case, that's another reason to double check your routes with the ranger. When we were considering our hike, we told them our experience and the ranger actually suggested that hike.


It should be an interesting hiking year for sure. I purposefully wanted to do the JMT after Labor Day last year due to the crowds but started applying for the permit Aug 25th because one of my girlfriends who was supposed to go with me was very concerned about early snow. Much to my surprise I got a permit for Sept 1. We got reservations at the Wawona for the Thursday before Labor Day weekend and Yosemite was almost deserted. I was very surprised. But I guess with school starting in mid-late August nowadays people are done with their "big" summer vacations.

Yeah, left to my own devices I'd be fine without seeing anyone for a week. But because my husband won't hike more than about 5-6 miles he's not a wilderness type hiker. When I did my solo Rim to Rim Grand Canyon hike several years ago he was freaked. I had to explain to him that I would be lucky to have 15 minutes alone. :oops:

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Re: Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail

Post by FoolStreet » Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:20 pm

Sounds like a great time! My wife and I used to do a lot of backpacking and miss it. Posts like this inspire me to go again soon. Thanks for posting!

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Re: Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail-Update

Post by Carefreeap » Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:05 pm

Hi All,

Wanted to update and thank the folks that were so helpful.

I hiked the trail from Echo Lakes and exited at Mt. Rose Summit Trailhead starting Sept 13 and exiting Sept 19. I had originally planned 8 days but felt so strong that I hiked further each day than planned and exited a day early It was such a blast that I'm already starting my planning to do the other half next year.

Weather was very good except day 1 when it hailed for about 1 hour and then turned to rain. It also got very windy two nights. I was a little concerned that the night near Barker Pass my staked tent might blow away if I took a night time break. Amazingly I lost no equipment that night. The other windy spot was near Martis Peak. Both mornings rewarded me with beautiful sunrises. The rest of the time the weather was ideal hiking weather. But I was really glad I hiked out a day early. It started getting very cold the evening of the 19th. When we drove out early on the 21st we narrowly missed a big pile up on I-80 at Donner Pass.

Views were incredible. Snow was nearly non-existent below 9,000'. Water was an issue starting n/o or e/o Watson Lake. Basically all the creeks shown on my map were dry and there was no water on the trail until Mud Lake. This was a surprise to me given how much snow there had been this past winter but I guess the big melt-off in July melted the snow that would feed those creeks. There wasn't water from Mud Lake until the creek that feeds Incline Lake alongside the road to Mt. Rose Summit TH. Fortunately, there were a couple of sets of kind people who gave me some water along the trail. For those who are thinking about doing this hike I highly recommend caching water at the Brockway Summit TH. I left a gallon when I left (in the snow!) in order to pay it forward. Also the campground at Mt. Rose Summit was closed and there's no running water there either.

Another trail note is to avoid camping near the TH by Grandlibakken at the Truckee River Outlet. The area is under construction for a bike lane and it looked like a homeless encampment had been recently moved out. As a lone female camper I was a little creeped out and took advantage of being near a town and rented a motel room from America's Best Value Inn in Tahoe City which gives a discount to TRT hikers (and no I don't own stock in the company! :wink: ).

Surprising to me was how many fewer hikers and especially backpackers compared to the JMT despite the much easier access. Also the Forest Service allows dogs off-lease if they are under voice control. I have to say that the dogs I ran into were well behaved, looked adorable in their packs and I never saw any dog piles along the trail. Another plus was I saw no evidence of mules other than one work group near Velma Lakes. Trails were in good shape and generally well marked.

All in all a wonderful trip and I'm looking forward to Phase II!

FoolStreet
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Re: Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail-Update

Post by FoolStreet » Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:13 pm

Carefreeap wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:05 pm
Hi All,

Wanted to update and thank the folks that were so helpful.

I hiked the trail from Echo Lakes and exited at Mt. Rose Summit Trailhead starting Sept 13 and exiting Sept 19. I had originally planned 8 days but felt so strong that I hiked further each day than planned and exited a day early It was such a blast that I'm already starting my planning to do the other half next year.

Weather was very good except day 1 when it hailed for about 1 hour and then turned to rain. It also got very windy two nights. I was a little concerned that the night near Barker Pass my staked tent might blow away if I took a night time break. Amazingly I lost no equipment that night. The other windy spot was near Martis Peak. Both mornings rewarded me with beautiful sunrises. The rest of the time the weather was ideal hiking weather. But I was really glad I hiked out a day early. It started getting very cold the evening of the 19th. When we drove out early on the 21st we narrowly missed a big pile up on I-80 at Donner Pass.

Views were incredible. Snow was nearly non-existent below 9,000'. Water was an issue starting n/o or e/o Watson Lake. Basically all the creeks shown on my map were dry and there was no water on the trail until Mud Lake. This was a surprise to me given how much snow there had been this past winter but I guess the big melt-off in July melted the snow that would feed those creeks. There wasn't water from Mud Lake until the creek that feeds Incline Lake alongside the road to Mt. Rose Summit TH. Fortunately, there were a couple of sets of kind people who gave me some water along the trail. For those who are thinking about doing this hike I highly recommend caching water at the Brockway Summit TH. I left a gallon when I left (in the snow!) in order to pay it forward. Also the campground at Mt. Rose Summit was closed and there's no running water there either.

Another trail note is to avoid camping near the TH by Grandlibakken at the Truckee River Outlet. The area is under construction for a bike lane and it looked like a homeless encampment had been recently moved out. As a lone female camper I was a little creeped out and took advantage of being near a town and rented a motel room from America's Best Value Inn in Tahoe City which gives a discount to TRT hikers (and no I don't own stock in the company! :wink: ).

Surprising to me was how many fewer hikers and especially backpackers compared to the JMT despite the much easier access. Also the Forest Service allows dogs off-lease if they are under voice control. I have to say that the dogs I ran into were well behaved, looked adorable in their packs and I never saw any dog piles along the trail. Another plus was I saw no evidence of mules other than one work group near Velma Lakes. Trails were in good shape and generally well marked.

All in all a wonderful trip and I'm looking forward to Phase II!
Great trip report and I'm inspired to hear of your good trip. Would you mind sharing how easy/hard it was to secure permits? And did you use bear cannisters or hang food? Any tricks to keep your pack light that worked for you? And...where to next? you mention JMT. Have you done the full JMT? Will you do a full PCT like Cheryl Strayed? Thanks again for posting.

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Soaker
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Re: Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail-Update

Post by Soaker » Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:33 am

Carefreeap wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:05 pm
Hi All,

Wanted to update and thank the folks that were so helpful.

I hiked the trail from Echo Lakes and exited at Mt. Rose Summit Trailhead starting Sept 13 and exiting Sept 19. I had originally planned 8 days but felt so strong that I hiked further each day than planned and exited a day early It was such a blast that I'm already starting my planning to do the other half next year.

Weather was very good except day 1 when it hailed for about 1 hour and then turned to rain. It also got very windy two nights. I was a little concerned that the night near Barker Pass my staked tent might blow away if I took a night time break. Amazingly I lost no equipment that night. The other windy spot was near Martis Peak. Both mornings rewarded me with beautiful sunrises. The rest of the time the weather was ideal hiking weather. But I was really glad I hiked out a day early. It started getting very cold the evening of the 19th. When we drove out early on the 21st we narrowly missed a big pile up on I-80 at Donner Pass.

...

All in all a wonderful trip and I'm looking forward to Phase II!
I'm glad you had a good time! I live at 6500 feet on the east side of the lake and woke up to an inch of fresh snow on Sept. 22, with more up higher where you were, so yeah your timing was good.

There's plenty of good stuff left when you complete the loop. One thing I'd suggest for more great views is departing the Rim Trail proper and hiking the Flume Trail instead from Tunnel Creek Road south to Marlette Lake. It's a flat single-track trail used a lot by mountain bikers but I don't find the traffic that problematic on a weekday. You probably liked the views on that south-facing open slope between Martis Peak and the Mount Rose trailhead; the views from the Flume Trail are even more dramatic because you're closer to the lake. You also have the Showers Lake and Star Lake areas remaining, both very scenic.

Carefreeap
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Re: Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail-Update

Post by Carefreeap » Sat Oct 07, 2017 11:06 am

FoolStreet wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:13 pm

Great trip report and I'm inspired to hear of your good trip. Would you mind sharing how easy/hard it was to secure permits? And did you use bear cannisters or hang food? Any tricks to keep your pack light that worked for you? And...where to next? you mention JMT. Have you done the full JMT? Will you do a full PCT like Cheryl Strayed? Thanks again for posting.
The only permit I needed was to stay overnight in the Desolation Wilderness. The USFS will issue a multi-day permit outside the normal quota system for folks hiking longer sections of the TRT.

Securing a permit was obviously much, much easier than getting the permit for the JMT. I'm too lazy to look it up but because the JMT is so popular if you want to hike the classic route from Yosemite's Happy Isles and exit Whitney you must apply something like 6 months in advance and be prepare to fax your application multiple times. It took 8 tries for me to get my JMT permit. The stats the NPS told me was 35,000 applications a year and they issue 4,000 mostly for the months of June, July and August. Alternatively if you are one of these folks who are footloose and fancy free, you may be able to get a walk up permit if you're willing to hang out in Yosemite for a couple of days. I wound up giving up two permits the day I got mine due to my two girlfriends being unable to join me for health reasons. And yes I did solo hike the entire JMT. It was my 55th birthday present to myself. :D

To answer your other questions;
USFS requires that you carry a bear canister if you are hiking the TRT. Ditto for the NPS and USFS for the JMT. While hiking a section of the TRT which shares the route with PCT I was told by a PCT hiker that he didn't have to carry a bear canister. Personally I wouldn't risk it especially in more populated areas despite carrying the canister being a PITA. Having a bear take your food or rip into your backpack because s/he wants your Clif Bar wrapper or sunscreen is a good way to ruin your adventure.

I didn't weigh my pack but I'm guessing that I was carrying about 40lbs at the beginning. My bear canister is an old one a friend gave me and is heavy; probably north of 10lbs when fully loaded with a weeks worth of food. Although I try to make everything do triple duty, as an example my ground cloth is actually a very durable emergency blanket, I still carry too much weight. I do carry a change of clothes and I always wind up carrying more food than I actually eat. BTW These hikes have been the greatest weight loss programs ever! I lost 12 lbs on the JMT (after losing 29lbs over the prior 14 months preparing) and I lost about 5lbs on the TRT. Other women may go to expensive fat farms to lose weight but I go backpacking! :D

Next hike is to do the other half of the TRT. I don't think I would ever do the PCT as a single Thru-hike. It would take me 6 months and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be married by the end of it. :wink: I've also heard that there are sections of the PCT that you don't want to hike as a solo female. For example Cheryl Strayed started her hike at Mojave? Why??? There are beautiful parts of the desert but we regularly drive through Lancaster to and from our cabin in Idyllwild and other than the poppies blooming in April I can't think why someone would start there. I'm thinking about hiking the first 100 miles from Campo to Idyllwild. That could be interesting because of the very dramatic change in elevation over those 100 miles. Unfortunately a big section is still closed from the fire six years ago.

Anyway apologies for the long post! Hope you find some of the info helpful. Happy Trails!

Carefreeap
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Re: Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail-Update

Post by Carefreeap » Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:08 pm

Soaker wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:33 am


I'm glad you had a good time! I live at 6500 feet on the east side of the lake and woke up to an inch of fresh snow on Sept. 22, with more up higher where you were, so yeah your timing was good.

There's plenty of good stuff left when you complete the loop. One thing I'd suggest for more great views is departing the Rim Trail proper and hiking the Flume Trail instead from Tunnel Creek Road south to Marlette Lake. It's a flat single-track trail used a lot by mountain bikers but I don't find the traffic that problematic on a weekday. You probably liked the views on that south-facing open slope between Martis Peak and the Mount Rose trailhead; the views from the Flume Trail are even more dramatic because you're closer to the lake. You also have the Showers Lake and Star Lake areas remaining, both very scenic.
Soaker, I'm so glad you posted, I hoped you would.

One thing I didn't report was some of the incrediable people I met on the trail. Tops was an amazing couple I met near Barker Pass. They live in Incline Village and were dayhiking that section of the trail. We got to chatting and it turns out they are very serious backbackers themselves. She offered to be a trail angel and pick me up from the Mt. Rose Summit TH so I wouldn't have to walk the 8 miles or so down to my motel in Incline Village. I did wind up calling her from my very windy set up just beyond and below Martis Peak and not only did she pick me up the next day but brought me to her home let me use their guest bath shower and wash my clothes! Of course I took them to dinner (at Austin's; Yum!). Although we are somewhat geographically challenged, we are planning to get together in So. CA over Thanksgiving and she may join me on the Tahoe Rim Trail journey Part 2. You never know when you're going to meet a new friend on the trail. :D

Thanks for those additional tips. I did note the Flume (road really) and wondered about it.

Since you've hiked most of the eastern side, do you have any tips on caching water along the trail or alternative water sites? I got on the TRT website for water sources and it does look like there are some long stretches with no water. I'm more of a 10-12 mile/day backpacker and the idea of no water from Tahoe Meadows to Marlette Lake (over 20 miles) doesn't sound like fun. Also it sounds like camping in the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park is limited to Marlette Peak Campground or North Canyon Campground. Any tips for other good spots to camp along the trail?

Many thanks for your help!

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Re: Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail-Update

Post by Soaker » Sun Oct 08, 2017 12:11 am

Carefreeap wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:08 pm
Thanks for those additional tips. I did note the Flume (road really) and wondered about it.

Since you've hiked most of the eastern side, do you have any tips on caching water along the trail or alternative water sites? I got on the TRT website for water sources and it does look like there are some long stretches with no water. I'm more of a 10-12 mile/day backpacker and the idea of no water from Tahoe Meadows to Marlette Lake (over 20 miles) doesn't sound like fun. Also it sounds like camping in the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park is limited to Marlette Peak Campground or North Canyon Campground. Any tips for other good spots to camp along the trail?

Many thanks for your help!
The east side is tricky because as you mention the only two reliable sources of water are at Marlette Lake and Spooner Lake. Plus those two designated primitive campgrounds are the only legal ones within the boundaries of the state park. The Marlette Peak Campground does have a hand pump for water, but if it happens to be broken on the day you're there you would have to continue on down to Marlette Lake for your nearest water. Therefore you probably should carry 1.5 days worth of water when you leave Tahoe Meadows, or two full days worth if you are rigid about hiking the full designated TRT and don't want to detour downhill to Marlette Lake and then backtrack.

It would take a fair amount of time to haul a cache of water up Tunnel Creek Road to "Twin Lakes" (really "Twin Mudflats"; don't expect water there) and return to lake level; that's the only other option between Tahoe Meadows and Spooner Summit.

I don't think there's any place to camp, legal or illegal, along the Flume Trail, because the whole 4+ miles contours along a steep slope, and camping isn't permitted at Marlette Lake.

You would refill with water at Spooner Lake, which is just a quick detour off the TRT, and probably camp somewhere in the forest just south of Hwy. 50. There is no water at all from Spooner Summit to the trailhead at the end of Andria (another short detour off the TRT) after the snow is gone. If USFS has installed the long-promised water fountain at the Andria trailhead by the time you get there, great, otherwise the residential area starts just a couple hundred yards down the street from the trailhead.

Carefreeap
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Re: Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail-Update

Post by Carefreeap » Sun Oct 08, 2017 3:41 pm

Soaker wrote:
Sun Oct 08, 2017 12:11 am
Carefreeap wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:08 pm
Thanks for those additional tips. I did note the Flume (road really) and wondered about it.

Since you've hiked most of the eastern side, do you have any tips on caching water along the trail or alternative water sites? I got on the TRT website for water sources and it does look like there are some long stretches with no water. I'm more of a 10-12 mile/day backpacker and the idea of no water from Tahoe Meadows to Marlette Lake (over 20 miles) doesn't sound like fun. Also it sounds like camping in the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park is limited to Marlette Peak Campground or North Canyon Campground. Any tips for other good spots to camp along the trail?

Many thanks for your help!
The east side is tricky because as you mention the only two reliable sources of water are at Marlette Lake and Spooner Lake. Plus those two designated primitive campgrounds are the only legal ones within the boundaries of the state park. The Marlette Peak Campground does have a hand pump for water, but if it happens to be broken on the day you're there you would have to continue on down to Marlette Lake for your nearest water. Therefore you probably should carry 1.5 days worth of water when you leave Tahoe Meadows, or two full days worth if you are rigid about hiking the full designated TRT and don't want to detour downhill to Marlette Lake and then backtrack.

It would take a fair amount of time to haul a cache of water up Tunnel Creek Road to "Twin Lakes" (really "Twin Mudflats"; don't expect water there) and return to lake level; that's the only other option between Tahoe Meadows and Spooner Summit.

I don't think there's any place to camp, legal or illegal, along the Flume Trail, because the whole 4+ miles contours along a steep slope, and camping isn't permitted at Marlette Lake.

You would refill with water at Spooner Lake, which is just a quick detour off the TRT, and probably camp somewhere in the forest just south of Hwy. 50. There is no water at all from Spooner Summit to the trailhead at the end of Andria (another short detour off the TRT) after the snow is gone. If USFS has installed the long-promised water fountain at the Andria trailhead by the time you get there, great, otherwise the residential area starts just a couple hundred yards down the street from the trailhead.
Thanks for the additional information, it's helpful. When does Tunnel Creek dry up? Alternatively, it looks like I could cache water at the trail head at the bottom of Tunnel Creek Road. Not sure if I would want to camp there but it looks like that might be an 11ish mile hike from Tahoe Meadows which is doable as a first day's hike and getting used to the elevation.

Lol, I just had another thought; maybe I should just day hike that section and stay at the same hotel I did in Incline Village? 8-)

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