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guide to the Tahoe East Shore Trail

Explore The East Shore

Widely considered “America’s Most Beautiful Bikeway” the Lake Tahoe East Shore Trail is the best way to experience North America’s largest alpine lake with access to its public beaches, stunning coastline, and emerald coves.

About the Trail

The trail is located in Incline Village and goes along the scenic eastern shoreline to Sand Harbor State Park. It’s just under 3 miles in length one way and 10 feet wide. The paved trail accommodates hikers, runners, and bicyclists and is considered easy to moderate in difficulty. It is open year round but is best experienced between April through November. The path hosts 25 informative panels highlighting the history, geology, flora and fauna of Lake Tahoe.

Vista Trail Bike's map of North Lake Tahoe and the East Shore Trail

Trail Length:

3 to 13 miles*

Trail Grade:

5% or less.

Open Hours:

Sunrise to sunset.

Beach Access Points:

11 access points.

Bike Racks:

30 bike racks.

East SHore Trail Details

Trail Head Location:

The trailhead is near the intersection of State Route 28 and Lakeshore Boulevard, near Ponderosa Ranch Road.

Parking Information:

There is a parking lot near the Tunnel Creek Cafe. If you ride your bike from Vista Trail Bikes, you’ll be parking in the Starbucks Lot or the Free Covered Garage (see our FAQ page for directions).

Popularity and Traffic of the Trail:

The trail is quite popular and is busiest in the Summer months. It is popular with walkers, runners, hikers, dog walkers, and bicyclists. Please walk on the right and pass on the right. Cyclists must yield to pedestrians!

Bathrooms Available:

There are some bathroom along the trail with additional bathrooms at Hidden Beach, Memorial Point as well as Sand Harbor.
Aerial Photo of the Paved East Shore Trail Bikeway Along Lake Tahoe

Activities Along the East Shore Trail

Wildlife + Geological Sites to See

Along the trail, you can find a variety of interpretive signs that describe the plants, animals, geological sites, and historical facts in the area. You can find birds like Ospreys and small mammals like the American Marten. Large granite boulders border the trail.

Activities at Sand Harbor

Along the East Shore Trail, you can stop at one of our favorite state parks. Including the bike ride to the beach, there are a variety of other outdoor activities around Sand Harbor State Park. You can stroll along the various walking boardwalks and sandy beaches. During Spring and Summer, there’s paddleboarding and kayaking options available as well. For longer stays there is a snack shack for refreshments.

Eating by the East Shore Trail

Our shop is located right next to the Sage Leaf Cafe, regarded as North Lake’s best breakfast. Starbucks also shares the same lot as Vista Trail Bikes for a quick bite. At around the halfway point is our local favorite – The Tunnel Creek Cafe. There are also a few places to eat in the Sand Harbor State Park like a snack shack for those spending time there. At the end of your ride you will likely want to sit and eat and we have you covered for that. Just ask any of our Ride Coordinators or check out our guide for local recommendations on where to eat along the East Shore trail.

Biking Along the Trail

If you can’t bring your own bike there are shops that offer bike rentals in North Lake Tahoe with easy access to the East Shore Trail. There are over thirty bike racks all along the East Shore Trail. This allows any cyclist to visit the assortment of beaches, coves, and other coastal shorelines during their ride. To be safe, if you are bringing your own bike, be sure to bring a bike lock. If you rent a bike with Vista Trail Bikes, a lock comes with your rental so you can focus on enjoying activities along the trail.

East Shore Trail Bike Rental:

Vista Trail Bikes specializes in renting bikes to those wishing to experience the Tahoe East Shore Trail and everything it can offer. We specialize in and offer the wildly popular electric bikes as well as traditional cruisers and kids bikes. We have free available parking and you can ride the shared paths from the shop to and along the Tahoe east Shore Trail to Sand Harbor and back in ease and comfort. More about what is included with your bike rental can be found in our Frequently Asked Questions.

How to Get to the East Shore Trail from Vista Trail Bikes Rentals:

  1. Exit right out Starbucks parking lot

  2. Right on Village Bl. – Ride bike path to Lakeshore Bl. (0.7 miles)

  3. Left on Lakeshore Bl. – Ride bike path to Tahoe Bl. (1.1 miles)

  4. Go across crosswalk to the beginning of the Tahoe East Shore Trail

  5. Follow the trail path up over the 1st hill then down and thru the tunnel to Hidden Beach Plaza. Restrooms and scenic overlook available. (1 mile)

  6. Enjoy path along the Scenic Shoreline till Sand Harbor (1.5 miles)

East Shore Trail: Year-Round Usage

The Lake Tahoe East Shore Trail is accessible year round. Vista Trail Bikes is open in the Spring through Fall, roughly April through the end of November when the trail conditions are safe and clear for cycling from Incline Village to Sand Harbor State Park. The trail is maintained year round but there is no snow removal in the winter months, so bring warm shoes/boots if you plan on walking it when it is still covered with snow.

For more information on the trail weather, visit the weather channel site.

East Shore Trail in Spring, Summer, and Fall

The Tahoe East Shore Trail is popular year round. It is most popular in July and August. In those busier months it is best to experience the trail earlier in the morning as the afternoons are the most crowded.

  • In early spring, historical temperatures have been between 25-54 degrees, but they can get up to 65 degrees in May.
  • Summer can have lows around 45 and can get up into mid-80s.
  • Fall can be between 30s-70s. 

Tahoe East Shore Trail in Winter

Even in the winter months with the backdrop of the snow-capped mountains, folks find the clear crisp air and the reflection of the mountains in the glassy lake waters enchanting. These are still great days for walking, running, and biking if the trail is free of snow. When the trail is still covered with snow, many people can be found snowshoeing or hiking it. Always be careful and on the lookout for sporadic patches of ice and snow during our colder months.

Visiting the East Shore While Staying in South Lake

If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the South Lake and see the quieter and more rustic North Side of the lake, then it is only about a 25- 35 minute trip to our scenic trail.

From Harveys Casino and Hotel (Downtown South Lake Tahoe), it is only 25 miles to Vista Trail Bikes.

Directions from South Lake:

Take Highway 50 North(towards Carson City) and make a left on Highway 28 to Incline Village.

Vista Trail Bikes Route to Avoid Parking Troubles:

There is free covered garage parking at our shop allowing you easy convenient access while avoiding the more crowded upper lot. This is highly encouraged. The upper lot can be next to impossible to park in on the busiest days but you can always find a spot in the lesser known garage below our shop. Directions to the entrance are detailed on our FAQ page.
tree-lined shore of lake tahoe along the east shore trail

History of the East Shore Trail

Major Goal of the Establishment of the Trail: Visitor Safety & Lake Health

Before the completion of this historic Lake Tahoe East Shore Trail, it was quite dangerous making your way by foot or bike to and along the east shore. Thanks to the Tahoe Fund and all the donations they raised, this is no longer a problem and access to this majestic side of the lake is now safe, convenient and mesmerizing! The completion of the trail also reduced the environmental impact of sediment flowing into Lake Tahoe thus helping to preserve its clarity.

Founder of the East Shore Trail

The East Shore Trail was established by Tahoe Fund in partnership with the Tahoe Transportation District, Nevada Division of State Parks, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, the US Forest Service, and other government agencies.

Trail Lovers Making History on the Trail

While experiencing the trail, feel free to read the inscriptions on the many plaques placed all along the trail on behalf of all the donors who played a role in making The Tahoe East Shore Trail a reality.

Know about the trail before you go

Make it a Longer Excursion from the Trail

At the halfway point is The Tunnel Creek Cafe and the starting point for a short 1.3 mile hike up to Monkey Rock. Enjoy the stunning and panoramic vistas at the top. This is a very popular hike enjoyed by visitors and locals alike. Feel free to enjoy a bite at the popular cafe at the beginning or when you are done.

Dogs on the East Shore Trail

Dogs are indeed welcome on the trail. Just remember to keep them on a leash and pick up after them when necessary. There are waste bins all along the trail. Also, it is important to remember that on hot days the pavement can get quite hot and may not be comfortable for their little paws.

Final Thoughts From Your Local North Tahoe Bike Rental Shop

Whether you plan on experiencing The Lake Tahoe East Shore Trail by biking or some other manner, we strongly encourage you to experience it as part of your visit. It is widely considered to be the West Coast’s most scenic and enchanting coastal trail. Enjoy your visit to North Lake Tahoe!