Reno Tahoe is the ideal place for cycling and mountain biking enthusiasts! Check out the best spots for Reno and Lake Tahoe biking.
Reno and Sparks offer bike-friendly paths and bike lanes, as well as access to miles of mountain biking trails. Whether you choose to commute around the city on two wheels or want to log some serious miles on a single track through the desert or into the Sierra Nevada foothills, from city cycling to mountain biking and bike parks, there is something for every level of rider.
There are many options available for Reno cycling. Rancho San Rafael Park to Idlewild Park will have bikers in Reno enjoying one of the most beautiful bike paths that the city has to offer. The 12-mile Truckee River Bike Path runs from west of Chrissie Caughlin Park eastward along the Truckee River, cutting through downtown Reno and through the easternmost part of Sparks.
For views of the river and lush parks while you ride through downtown, take a spin on the Truckee River Bike Path which runs for 12 miles along the Truckee River between Chrissie Caughlin Park, through downtown Reno. This path is perfect for slower, more leisurely rides.
Another great Reno cycling path begins at Mayberry Park and follows the Truckee River for most of the three miles to Idlewild Park. This route is a mix of riding on a bike path and a short section along a lightly trafficked street. Riders of all ages and experiences will enjoy the fact that this route is paved and level. Take a break at Idlewild Park, with its expansive grass picnicking areas, shady gazebos, two small lakes and Reno’s Municipal Rose Garden.
Another scenic bike route in Reno that’s worth checking out is at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park, located just minutes north of downtown Reno. An easy and fun way to get the whole family together, Rancho San Rafael Regional Park loops 600 acres between the Pasture Loop and South Park Loop.
If you’re looking to get off the beaten path and onto some dirt, there are several mountain biking trails, bikeways and parks available to get your blood pumping in the Reno and Sparks mountain biking scene.
The Peavine Trail System is located just north of downtown Reno and offers expansive views of the city and a network of trails suitable for all levels. Some favorite Peavine mountain bike trails include Halo, Total Recall, Poedunks, Snow Terrace and Crispy Bacon. Make sure you bring plenty of water because shade is limited on this exhilarating ride through the high desert.
Also north of downtown is the North Valleys Regional Park, with newly expanded progressive stacked-loop mountain bike trails that cut through the high desert landscape. The trail system includes loops and switchbacks, covering three miles of trails perfect for beginner to advanced riders.
West of Reno is Sierra Vista Park, a 200-acre bike park that was formerly the Northgate Golf Club. Not only does this park offer great views of the Sierra Nevada, it also has a variety of terrain including beginner and advanced technical trails, as well as a pump track. This park is a great place to work on your mountain biking skills since there is a wide selection of trails to choose from.
South Reno offers a selection of mountain biking trails near Galena Creek. Dry Pond Loop is a popular mountain biking spot in south Reno at the base of Mount Rose and features terrain ranging from a challenging climb to an exhilarating descent through the forest along Whites Creek and Thomas Creek. This 7-mile loop is also a favorite for hikers and trail runners, so be aware of the rules of the trail when you encounter others. North Ballardini Ranch Trail is a short, 2-mile single track that connects the Ballardini Open Space to Galena and can be ridden in either direction, with a moderate five to 10 percent grade.
Sky Tavern, well-known by locals and the place many have learned to ski, has also become a hub for several mountain biking trails suitable for riders of any level or ability. Sky Tavern offers a bike park where riders can practice their skills, a series of exciting downhill trails for advanced riders, and several trails that allow mountain bikers to explore the mountain while enjoying views of Washoe Valley and downtown Reno.
Some other popular mountain biking trails in Reno include Steamboat Ditch Trail, a beginner trail that is about 7.5 miles of track and about 300 feet of climbing. The trail is mostly flat (don’t let the profile of Juniper Ridge scare you!), due to how small the profile is, it appears bigger from the bottom of the trailhead. Steamboat Ditch Trail is located near Caughlin Ranch, off Woodchuck Drive.
East of Reno is Hidden Valley Regional Park, home to a few mountain biking trail loops. The 3.6-mile Backcountry Loop has some pretty serious climbs so be prepared to put in the effort for the reward of some great downhill stretches. The more moderate Perimeter Loop and Highland Trail offer less intense terrain for beginner and intermediate riders.
Or try out the Los Altos Trail Network which is located about 13 miles east of downtown Reno via N Pyramid Highway and offers challenging climbs and spectacular views by the names of The Zipper and Jackrabbit.
If you’re ready to start planning the ultimate mountain biking trip to Reno Tahoe, let the pros at Freehub give you even more tips to make the most of your time, on and off the trails, with their Reno Tahoe Travel Guide.
If you’re looking for bike rentals in Reno or a bike shop to purchase your own bike or get your bike fixed, visit High Sierra Cycling, Black Rock Bicycles or The Dropout Bike Shop. If you’re not familiar with the best places to ride, Sierra Adventures offers guided mountain biking and road biking experiences.
For those in need of adaptive recreation equipment, the City of Reno offers adaptive equipment rental, as well as access to equipment and trails at their Adaptive Cycling Center at the Rosewood Nature Study Area. They offer a variety of equipment including handcycles, trikes, trailers and beach wheelchairs.
From parts and repair to gear and answers to your biking questions, these bike shops offer some of the best products and services in Reno-Sparks. The Reno bike scene is growing and it’s a great way to experience the area in true cycling fashion, whether you’re on a Schwinn or a Salsa.
Once you’ve ridden all around Reno and Sparks, it’s time to head up the hill to check out the terrain offered by Lake Tahoe biking trails. Biking in Lake Tahoe will vary depending on which side of the lake you choose to ride. For the brave, you can ride around the entirety of the lake via the Tour de Tahoe Course. This route is 72 miles long and includes an exciting 800-foot climb before you are rewarded with a rest to view Emerald Bay in all its glory.
For a less intense ride, head to Incline Village and check out some of the short, paved paths that are great for families visiting the North Lake Tahoe area. From Sierra Nevada College to the lake, you will enjoy beautiful estates and wide-open beaches perfect for a quick dip before heading back out to the path. For a ride with views that can’t be beaten, the Tahoe East Shore Trail is a paved, 3-mile-long path between Tunnel Creek Cafe and Sand Harbor. You can rent a bike from Vista Trail Bikes and cruise at your own pace.
Mountain biking the many trails around Lake Tahoe is very popular and it’s no surprise why. Riders can choose from gorgeous trails through the pines with magnificent views of the crystal-clear waters of Lake Tahoe, to paved bike routes closer to the shoreline. Bike shops in Tahoe offer a wide selection of bike rentals depending on the type of riding you are planning.
The Tahoe Rim Trail and Flume Trail are both home to world-class Lake Tahoe mountain biking with everything from epic views on a mellow single-track to burly climbs and exhilarating descents that will help you enjoy the Sierra Nevada in a way you never thought possible.
In North Lake Tahoe, take a ride along the dedicated nine-mile bike path from Tahoe City to Sugar Pine Point near Meeks Bay. If you and your family are looking for a scenic ride with not too much traffic, this is the Lake Tahoe bike ride for you. Another popular bike path is the five-mile ride along the Truckee River from Tahoe City to Palisades Tahoe. With a dedicated bike path, you will find families and serious riders alike sharing the road and taking in all the sights and sounds that North Lake and the West Shore have to offer.
For those seeking a simpler and shorter bike route, the 3-mile round-trip Picnic Rock Vista ride on Tahoe’s north shore is the perfect spot for a relaxing ride with a killer view.
What’s a better reward for a challenging ride than a 30-foot waterfall at the end? The 6.4-mile McCloud Falls ride will take you uphill and through fields of wildflowers before finally leading you to the McCloud Falls waterfall – a sight you will be glad you worked for!
Reno-Tahoe is also home to top-notch mountain bike parks, as well. During the summer months, ski resorts like Northstar and Kirkwood offer lift-accessed trails for beginner to advanced mountain biking skill sets.
Northstar bike rentals from the Northstar Bike Park are also a great way for you to experience Reno-Tahoe’s epic terrain without having to worry about bringing your own bike with you. Their downhill and freeride bikes are a perfect match for the area’s interconnected trails, and the specialized academy offers small group lessons or lessons for private parties, where you will learn alongside other riders with the same abilities as you. The pro bike academy coaches can even provide some inside information for experienced riders, too. Lift-served lessons focus on high-speed cornering, jumping and navigating of rocky terrain.
The Kirkwood Mountain Bike Park offers exciting lift-accessed trails as well, beginner through advanced. The Kirkwood summer bike park consists of 22 trails, 12 of which are in the lift-accessed mountain park and the others offered as a single track. Kirkwood Mountain Sports Retail & Bike Shop, located in the village plaza, offers everything from mountain bike and safety gear rentals to frisbee golf discs and outdoor apparel.
If you are looking to experience Tahoe, there are plenty of other places that offer bike rentals as well throughout the year. Check out Flume Trail Mountain Bikes – which offers a shuttle service to the top of the Flume Trail – as well as Tahoe Daves, Olympic Bike Shop, Cyclepaths and Willards Sports Shop for mountain bike rentals in Lake Tahoe.
Whether you are planning a leisurely biking trip in Reno Tahoe or a more extensive excursion, thorough preparation is always a must. If you are planning a mountain biking trip, consider this your checklist:
Yes, Reno is bicycle-friendly! With designated bicycle lanes on many of Reno’s streets, cyclists can get virtually anywhere in the city of Reno on two wheels. Reno Tahoe is also mountain bike friendly, with a seemingly endless array of mountain bike trails to choose from. Not sure where to look for the best mountain bike trails in Reno and Lake Tahoe? Check out our lists below.
The best places to mountain bike in Reno include:
The best places to mountain bike in Lake Tahoe include:
The average speed of the average cyclist is about 11 miles per hour. Riding your bike around the 72 mile loop of Lake Tahoe will take you about 6.5-7 hours to complete. The amount of time it takes to bike around Lake Tahoe will vary by your own speed and how many stops you take. Ultimately, the time invested in cycling around Lake Tahoe is well worth it, with breathtaking views and a huge sense of accomplishment, if you’re up for the challenge. After all, cycling around Lake Tahoe is a big accomplishment!
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