Mountain Biking at Lake Tahoe: Road Ride the Fiberboard? Why not!   Leave a comment

By Tim Hauserman

 

Scenic view high above Lake Tahoe along the Fiberboard Freeway

Scenic view high above Lake Tahoe along the Fiberboard Freeway

 

The Fiberboard Freeway winds through US Forest Service land between Highway 267 at Brockway Summit and Tahoe City.  The name comes from the former owner of the property, the Fiberboard logging company. Freeway is a tongue in cheek phrase to refer to what is certainly the major road through the forest, but is by no means an actual freeway. Really, it means that much of it has pavement.

The Fiberboard Freeway is the main artery for mountain bikers to access the elaborate network of trails that include the Tahoe Rim Trail, Watson Lake and The Western States trails. You can start at Brockway Summit, or head up to the Fiberboard from Tahoe Cross-Country Ski Area outside of Tahoe City. While the dirt trails that head off from the Fiberboard are prime mountain biking terrain, the road can also serve as a very worthwhile road biking destination. The first 10 miles from Brockway Summit towards Tahoe City are paved, and very lightly traveled. So why not ride out and back and enjoy a road ride through the middle of the forest? I can’t think of a reason.

While it is just a 20 mile round trip, if you are looking for exercise, you can find enough on this route. There is not a lot of flat. The first six miles is a mostly uphill jaunt to the top of Starratt Pass, where you will find an offshoot trail to Watson Lake. Along the climb you will find frequent glimpses of Tahoe, cross the Tahoe Rim Trail twice, and pass some impressive trees and fields of mule ears.
Then you begin a long and steady downhill, which eventually bottoms out before climbing again to a crossing of Stump Meadow, or what nordic skiers will know as the top of the Gold Trail. Just a bit further brings you to the end of the pavement and your turn around point.

 

Fiberboard Freeway

Fiberboard Freeway

 

On the way back, Great Ski Race skiers will start to have flashbacks, as your ride back to the top of Starratt is the same route you would be skiing in the race. You decide whether skiing it or riding it is easier.

Words of caution: While the good news is that you are riding on pavement through the forest with almost no cars, rain and other cars have dragged gravel and dirt on the road in some spots. Take those downhills a little more cautiously then you would if you were on the smooth pavement.

 

 

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