TRT-Flume 27 Mile Loop

With the entire High Sierra to the south enveloped in numerous thunderstorms all weekend (even some snow at the highest peaks), I thought it would be a great opportunity to visit the trails of Lake Tahoe. Specifically, a 27+ mile loop on the east shore of Lake Tahoe including a long stretch along the Tahoe Rim Trail and the famous Flume Trail. The trails along the entire route are extremely well graded and relatively non-technical for much faster running compared to the trails in the more rugged High Sierra to the south. Highlights included Snow Valley Peak, Marlette Peak, Christopher’s Loop point, and the famous Flume. Many more photos here and here. Also, I drew the route on the mapWe started at about 7:40 am and reached the summit of Snow Valley Peak (located a couple hundred vertical feet above the main trail) by 9 am.  Much photography ensued with 360 degree views from the prominent summit and no obstructions across the entire lake. This was the high point of the run and the majority of the elevation gain had already been achieved. I was impressed by sizable snow patches (none on trail) remaining on the high ridge. 

Continuing on, we ran through an area of meadows with lupine in bloom and stellar views of Marlette Lake and Crystal Bay with perfect sunlight angle.

We chose the hikers route around the south flank of Marlette Peak and were treated to more great views and then made a 1.2 mile diversion along Christopher’s Loop to a rocky cliff area with a stupendous view down to Sand Harbor and Crystal Bay. This famous vista did not disappoint with the blue waters of Lake Tahoe shimmering in the mid-morning sunshine.

A super fun switchback descent brought us to the turn-off that marked the beginning of the return trip, but not the end of the views. Next was the famous Flume Trail which traverses the steep and rocky hillside a consistent grade (perceptibly flat, although a slight incline). We enjoyed staggering views around every corner with aesthetic cumulus clouds popping up across the lake.

These clouds would grow in a couple short hours into thunderstorms, but we would be finished by then. Marlette Lake was another pretty stop and then an swift finish back to Spooner Lake and Spooner Summit. The Spooner Lake and Marlette Lake vicinity contains many aspen groves which I am sure become an amazing spectacle in the fall. It was great to finally check out these trails and get a taste of the grandeur that is Lake Tahoe! Many more photos here and here.


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