The Tamarack Lake Trail was built in 2018 by the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking and Kevin Joell of Sierra Trail Works.
The trail vaguely follows the alignment of an older trail that used to loop up from Sky Tavern through the meadow and back down an old two track grade.
Today Tamarack Lake Trail connects Sky Tavern with the Mt. Rose Summit trailhead via 4.3 miles of easy singletrack. The main access point is across Mt. Rose Highway from Mt. Rose Ski Resort’s main parking lot. This trail head has parking but no other services.
Tamarack Lake trail climbs 959 feet in 4.3 miles, though it’s graded in such a way that there are no hard climbs and no particularly long climbs. There are some hard switchbacks, and the trail is rated blue on trailforks. Though it’s an easy blue and for Tahoe, it’s about the easiest trail you’ll find other than Incline Flume.
Tamarack Lake is also accessible via a short trail that starts from a large parking turnout below the summit.
There are a number of fun optional features on the sides the trail here and there.
In recent years a bad habit has been developing on the trails form new and veteran riders alike when they meet on the trail and need to pass. Usually the downhill rider, but sometimes the uphill rider on an ebike, will ride off the trail through the brush and native plants in order to pass with plenty of room.
While It’s nice that they are so accommodating, the act of riding off the trail through what should be pristine ground is damaging to the ecosystem and the aesthetics of the trail. The beauty of these trails is that they allow us a thin path through wild land. The nature of singletrack is challenge, and connection to the landscape. When we widen it, or unnecessarily add new off shoots and spurs it not only damages the environment that draws us up to the mountains, but diminishes the singletrack experience. The experience of using out skill, fitness and sense of adventure to stay on the trail while avoiding the dangers and damages of careening off it.
What we should be doing as the downhill rider is stopping, scooting to the side of the trail and making way for the uphill rider to continue climbing past us. While this does momentarily take us out of the flow of riding, it’s not as bad as riding a trail that’s blown out wider than it should, and scarred everywhere with turnouts and doubletracks.
Please keep singletrack single and spread the word!
Tamarack Lake Trail on Trail Forks: https://www.trailforks.com/trails/tamarack-lake-trail/
Tamarack Lake Trail on Gaia GPS: https://www.gaiagps.com/map/?loc=13.5/-119.9200/39.3201&trackId=4f503e02-2a55-4641-8f3e-367716295f20