MTB Project Logo

black Tahoe Rim Trail: Heavenly Mountain - Big Meadow

Navigate on-trail with our free app

iOS App Store Android App Store


23.2 mile 37.3 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 3,872' 1,180 m
Descent: -4,073' -1,241 m
High: 9,713' 2,961 m
Low: 7,302' 2,226 m


Avg Grade: 6% (4°)
Max Grade: 30% (16°)


Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Michael Ahnemann

A beautiful and challenging part of the incredible Tahoe Rim Trail.

Michael Ahnemann

E-Bikes Unknown

Features -none-


The Tahoe Rim Trail is spectacular just about anywhere you happen to catch it and this section is no exception.

The trail follows along the spine of the Carson Range, mostly above 9,000 feet the whole way. The trail climbs at first as you're headed south, cruising through dense forest, then opening up to open ridges and rock outcroppings with incredible views.

About 1/3 of the way along this section, you'll pass right next to Star Lake. This majestic spot features great swimming and fishing spots, as well as excellent campsites.

After Star Lake, the trail gets a bit more rugged and technical, and continues to provide awesome vistas overlooking Lake Tahoe. it then descends back down through forests, until it reaches the Big Meadow trailhead.

The well-known Mr. Toad's Wild Ride (Saxon Trail #18E13) is accessed from the southern portion of this section of trail, making for a couple of good big loop options.

Rate This Trail

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Trail

Check In


Jul 16, 2017
Ben Cas
Aug 3, 2015
Tim Kelly
Did this from Big Meadow to Heavenly and then down the Van Sickle trail. 4,531 ft of climbing 28.6mi — 5h 36m

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 5 votes


  4.2 from 5 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star


in Nevada


43 Views Last Month
4,550 Since Jun 28, 2013
Difficult Difficult

Anonymous User
Anonymous User  
Rode this 09-06-2016. Unfortunately I didn't have fun riding this section of TRT. May be this ride is good in spring. The problem I found as an intermediate rider is, 1) 90% of the non rock setions are like beach sand. All it does is, wear you out on simple uphills and even just pure flat sections; if its downhill, it can swipe you; right after freel peak, the downhil is just sand on a well exposed rim; makes you nervous to ride. I saw bikers walking there. To me, I don't see riding in this much sand as a fun mountain biking. 2) Quite a few hike a bike on rocks too:) I like(or love) technical riding; but too much hiking on uphill rocks isn't much fun with the biking shoes and bike :) The final 4 miles ending at big meadows was good. Again this will be sandy when you ride the uphill from big meadows. I have ridden 80 miles of TRT; this section is the only one I didn't like :) This trail seems to be suitable for enduarnce riders who has lot of energy and not looking for fun. Even for them, they have to hike a bunch of palces at the beginning and at the monument peak. This trail is probably double black diamond for the over all profile(since Stanford rock loop of TRT is rated so). Thanks G Sep 6, 2016
This is a remarkable ride that gets you up into the alpine zone, a rare MTB experience in Tahoe. The trail criss-crosses the divide between the Great Basin and Lake Tahoe, giving you interesting views and varied vegetation, including some absolutely magnificent big trees that somehow escaped the Comstock axes. Gorgeous ride. But it is not easy--be fit and skilled or hate life while pushing a lot. Apr 28, 2017

MTB Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Mountain Bike

MTB Project is supported by

Support Your Local IMBA Chapter