Flume Trail Tahoe

8th October, 2018

When visiting Lake Tahoe one of the must-do-things on your list is riding the Tahoe Flume Trail. It’s a 13.5-mile trail near the northeast corner of the Lake Tahoe that is best experienced by bike, and is also hiked by many people. It is world renowned for its views of Lake Tahoe and the Eastern shoreline which appears so close, you almost feel as if you could throw a rock right into the lake. Now, let’s discover the history behind how the flume trail was formed.  

Flume Trail Overlook


During the boom of the lumber and mining industries in the 1800’s, there was a need to transport fallen trees down from the steepest sections on a mountainside to the mills below. Along the Sierra Nevada Mountains, flumes were built and consisted of 2 boards constructed in a V shape, that were then filled with flowing water. The Lumberjacks would throw the logs into the water and it would then transport them quickly to the sawmills.  The path used for the wooden flume is now the setting for one of the most scenic and spectacular trails in the world.

Big Climb, Big Rewards

The easiest way to get on the Flume Trail is from Spooner Lake State Park and following the connecting trail uphill. It’s a challenging four miles that only gets more difficult the last mile as the climb gets steeper, and air gets thinner at over 8,000 ft elevation. Once you catch your breath at the top it’s time for a fun ride downhill to Marlette Lake, where you can take a quick dip to cool off and relax. When you are ready to get back in the saddle, it’s a leisurely ride clockwise around Marlette Lake until you reach the trail marker for the Flume Trail.

Flume Trail Uphill

The Flume Trail

The Flume Trail begins through a technical wooded area sprinkled with medium size rocks in the trail before opening up to views of the Southeast shores of Lake Tahoe. The trail levels out and makes for a leisurely ride that any skill level can navigate. What makes the Flume Trail so famous are the twists and turns through large granite boulders, before opening up to jaw-dropping views of the emerald blue waters of Lake Tahoe and Sand Harbor shorelines on the left-hand side. Towards the end of the Flume Trail, the path winds back into a wooded area offering plenty of shade to cool off.

Flume Trail Solo Bike

A Trails End

The famous Flume Trail ends with fun and exhilarating downhill ride for almost three miles. The trail opens up into a wide but sandy trail that will test your skills as a rider. You have to watch your speed as there are many pedestrians going the opposite way and loose sand makes it easy to lose control. Near the end of the ride, the sandy trail turns into a paved service road before reaching the Flume Trail Bike Shop and Tunnel Creek Café parking lot. This is where you can finally relax over some delicious food while reviewing all the pictures you took and discussing what part of the trail was your favorite. 

Flume Trail Bikes Parked

Next time you’re in Lake Tahoe don’t miss your chance to experience the world-famous Flume Trail from Spooner Summit to Incline Village. After you have conquered the Flume Trail you will feel accomplished and exhausted, so what better time to hit the muscle relaxing two-tier hot tub at Hotel Azure. Book online or contact our in-house reservation team at 1.800.877.1466