“Climb Sierra-at-Tahoe ski area and then climb/descend the beautiful Sayles Canyon.”
— Nico Tripcevich
Snow during snow season on the Sierra Crest. That means typically May to October riding due to tree cover, north-facing slopes.
A nice addition to the Pony Express Trail (XP)l, on this loop riders will climb rapidly through the ski area roads and enjoy miles of singletrack descent.
Need to Know
You can ride Sayles to Bryan Meadow as an out-and-back climbing then descending singletrack but it's a lot of hike-a-bike uphill. Rideing up and over the ski area is faster.
This loop adds a nice extension to the Pony Express Trail XP and Lovers Leap Trail by climbing the Sierra-at-Tahoe ski area and then joining the Bryan Meadow Trail (17E13)
/ Sayles Canyon (17E14) USFS trail.
The indicated ride starts where Pony Express Trail XP and Lovers Leap Trail meets Bryan Creek Road (11N09A)
adjacent Sierra-at-Tahoe road. Climb the paved road and ride through the gate to Sierra-at-Tahoe.
The ride indicated passes the bottom of Grandview and climbs the Sugar-and-Spice run (a dirt road) but in early summer and when conditions are wet you're better off climbing the steep road up to the right above Easy Rider/Nob Hill Chair to Upper Main because it's dry. Non-motorized biking is permitted on Sierra-at-Tahoe when they're not in operation as a ski area.
Whichever way you climb the ski area, you'll want to cross the saddle on the top ridge at Sierra-at-Tahoe and descend the Short Stuff run on the backside. After a few switchbacks dropping down the backside following the road, riders will head straight (west) and run into the Bryan Meadow Trail (17E13)
off to the west near the creek.
Joining Sayles / Bryan Meadow Trail
you can keep it shorter and turn right to descend to the Sayles trailhead
however if time allows, go left and climb another 800' that ends at the hiking-only Pacific Crest Trail via Bryan Meadow Trail (17E13)
. An up-and-back here is recommended as it's some of the best singletrack on the ride.
Ultimately, you descend Bryan Meadow Trail (17E13)
to where it joins Sayles Creek Trail (17E14) off to the west as you descend the canyon (the west fork of Sayles is a much rockier riverbed trail). Lower Sayles Canyon Trail (17E14)
is mostly rideable, quality technical singletrack. When you reach the trailhead parking lot follow the Bryan Creek Road (11N09A)
road back to the start.