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Armstrong Pass Ride

Difficult
 4.5 (15) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

An awesome ride with 12.0 miles of downhill sweetness!


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Map Key

16.6

Miles

26.8

KM

80%

Singletrack

8,718' 2,657 m

High

6,276' 1,913 m

Low

1,439' 439 m

Up

2,669' 813 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

34%

Max Grade (19°)

Dogs Leashed

E-Bikes Not Allowed

Features -none-

Overview

This ride is typically done as a shuttle. It's a cool way to drop into the top of the Corral Trail #18E14. The upper section is every bit as fun as the lower, more popular stuff, but misses most of the crowd and parking issues.

Need to Know

There is a bit of hike-a-bike on a few switchbacks, getting to the top of the pass.

Description

I like to park on Highway #89 (Luther Pass) and ride the dirt road out to the trailhead as a warm-up. You could four-wheel drive out to the start of the trail, but it makes for a very long shuttle drive. After the dirt road, the trail starts with a climb out of the northwest side of a vague parking area. The initial climb is short but steep right out of the parking lot. Then the singletrack of the Horse Meadows Trail #21566 winds easily through the trees to the start of the switchbacks and a short hike-a-bike up to Armstrong Pass.

At the pass you'll intersect the Tahoe Rim Trail. It's all downhill from here! Get ready for 12.0 miles of non-stop fun all the way into town. The first 4.0 miles is all ripping good, sweet singletrack through the woods on the Armstrong Pass Trail #18E09. Then you pop-out at a small parking area at the top of the Fountain Place Road and hit the Armstrong Connector #18E09A. Some spots are a bit sandy but still good riding down to the next parking area at the top of the Corral Trail #18E14. Within the first 50 yards the trail splits. Keep right as the Sierra Sidewinder Trail #18E14A peels off to the right. It's super fun and easier for novice riders, but everyone will enjoy 40+ bermed hairpin corners.

One mile later, the trails merge again, then drop down and across the creek. Just past the Trout Creek bridge, the trail again splits. The left fork leads to the Lower Corral Trail; complete with huge berms and big table top jumps. If you would rather miss the airborne crowd, go right up the hill on the Twisted Cedar Trail #18E14B which is nearly as fun with lots of corners and 'whoop-de-doos.'

Both trails end at the Powerline Road (FSR #12N08), which is a well used four-wheel drive track, complete with large power lines overhead. This part can be ridden in either direction. To pick up the easy but fun Railroad Grade Trail #18E15, turn left and look for a well used trail just before the bottom of the hill. If you cross the creek you have gone too far.

Railroad Grade Trail #18E15 is a super easy 2.0 mile run that slopes downhill ever so gently. Perfect for first-time-on-the-trail riders, and a great way to get back into town without getting buzzed on the highway. The trail ends at a cul-de-sac on a residential street, but continues 100 yards further on by dropping off the left side of the road into a peaceful meadow. Cross the wooden bridge without guardrails and climb a short slope to Pioneer Trail Highway.

To nail another mile of trail riding, cross the highway (carefully!) and follow the intersecting street up hill and take your first right. The trail picks up at the end of the street. This area is called the Hartoonian Trails. You'll get confused, but the area is bounded on the east and west by creeks, so press on north and you'll again hit residential streets. If you need further exercise, the ride can be reversed back to the start.

Contacts

Shared By:

Lance Buck with improvements by Bob Ward

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 15 votes

#3

in Lake Tahoe

#650

Overall
  4.5 from 15 votes
5 Star
73%
4 Star
13%
3 Star
7%
2 Star
7%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#3

in Lake Tahoe

#96

in California

#650

Overall
502 Views Last Month
11,005 Since Jul 7, 2015
Difficult

6%
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6%
88%
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Photos

Climbing Armstong, with Freel Peak in the background.
Jul 16, 2015 near South L…, CA
Climbing Armstong, among the trees and big rocks.
Jul 16, 2015 near South L…, CA
Small rock drop leading into the jump section.
Mar 30, 2014 near South L…, CA
Armstrong Pass Trail Guide.
Sep 23, 2018 near South L…, CA
Singletrack fun.
May 20, 2013 near South L…, CA
Powerline
Oct 12, 2019 near South L…, CA

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 19 days ago See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Aug 24, 2019
Justin Hulsey
Aug 9, 2019
Jip Voshol
16.6mi
Jul 29, 2019
Jake Werlin
Flowy with technical pieces. Great ride. 17.4mi — 2h 26m
Nov 17, 2018
Johnny Ellis
Ride with Brett, ty, Emma, and asked
Sep 7, 2018
Nate Herse
Sep 7, 2018
Nathan Klein
2 guys hitting the trails
Aug 23, 2018
Aron Hughes
Tough and challenging ride with a lot of climbing. Once you make it to the downhill section it is amazing!
Aug 18, 2018
Piotr Gajos