Back in May, long before the smoke and extreme heat, we got up to South Tahoe to explore the trails around Angora Ridge and Tahoe Mountain. The ridge is a moraine created by the glacial activity that carved out Fallen Leaf Lake, separating the lake from the rest of South Tahoe. There are trails all over this area, so there is no real place to start or finish. To start our ride, we drove up to “The Y” in South Lake Tahoe (located where Highway 89 meets Highway 50), and continued southwest on Lake Tahoe Blvd. Originally we had planned to start riding near the high school, but had a hard time finding parking. We ended up parking near Sawmill Pond, further down the road.
Video from the ride:
The Lake Tahoe Blvd bike path parallels the road through the area, and makes a nice way to get to the trail you want to ride. We got off the paved path and onto the singletrack, climbing up Sawmill Connector and then up the Valley View Trail. Early on we passed a fun looking log skinny, but I didn’t have the wind to jump up on it and ride it uphill. Next time… The map says this trail is primarily a downhill route, but we had no difficulty climbing it and didn’t encounter any other traffic. It looks like the nearby Tahoe Mountain Trail may have been an easier option with gentler climbing.
Now near the top, we followed the Deveron Connector Trail to get over to the Lower Angora Ridge Trail. It dumped us out into a neighborhood for a short ride on the pavement before we ducked back into the woods to ride the ridge.
The ridge trail was definitely more rocky than what we had just ridden, but had some of the best scenery of the day, including a spectacular view of Fallen Leaf Lake and Lake Tahoe together! Further up, the trail crosses the pavement and becomes Upper Angora Ridge Trail. This section of the ridge trail goes through the burn area of the 2007 Angora Fire. The brush has made a good comeback here, and the absence of thick trees offers expansive views of the South Tahoe Area.
The Angora Ridge Trail dropped us into the Parking Area for Angora Lakes. Back in May, this trailhead was still closed for the season and empty. During the summer months, though, there is a fee for parking, and I imagine it’s pretty busy. We rode through the parking lot, and up a steep dirt road to the first lake. The first lake is pretty, but the upper lake makes a better stop.
Just past the first lake we rode through a bunch of cabins that were being prepared for the summer. We found a nice spot on the beach, and watched all the waterfalls cascading freshly melted snow into the icy cold lake. There would be no swimming this day.
We retraced our route along the Upper Angora Ridge Trail. Just before the road crossing, though, we turned onto the Mule Deer Connector for two miles of some really fun downhill. The descent took us through numerous banked switchbacks as it made its way to the bottom. At the end of the trail was a fun log to ride with ramps on both sides. We took turns riding the log, then rode through a neighborhood to connect to the trails we had started the day on.
We had a blast riding the trails at Angora Ridge, and we only saw a small portion of what’s available. At about an hour drive from Carson City, the area is easily accessible for a low-stress day trip, and there’s no shortage of places to grab food and drink after the ride. The trails are rated beginner to intermediate and are mostly non-technical. It was also fun to find the bonus challenges like the log crossings! I listed our route here, but I encourage you to look at the map and plan a route that works best for you.
Not knowing the area, I found the Trailforks phone app very helpful. The trail maps were downloaded to my phone, and I checked my position on the map at each intersection to figure out where to go next. The Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association (TAMBA) has a Trailforks page on their site with an interactive trail map that makes ride planning easy.
Have you ridden the Angora Ridge trail network? Which trails would you recommend?