This ride is featured in the "Mountain Biking Lake Tahoe" book written by Lorene Jackson (highly recommended if you're unfamiliar with the trails in and around Lake Tahoe).
Look for the makeshift log bridge a short ways upstream to cross Cold Creek if the main crossing has too much water flowing.
Park where the pavement ends off of High Meadows Trail. Head up the gravel High Meadows Road (FSR 12N21)
. At around 0.6 miles, you'll reach the official High Meadow Trail
. This is the spot that you'll return to when you complete the loop.
As riders continue on High Meadows Jeep Road
, there will be a couple of stream crossings along the way. Keep going about another mile until you reach a short singletrack trail on the left with a trail marker. This will take you to Cold Creek Connector
and the crossing of Cold Creek. If there is too much water to cross, go upstream to the right a short ways and you'll find a makeshift log bridge that you can cross.
On the other side of the creek, go up the hill a short distance to reach the Cold Creek Trail #18E06
. Head to the left down Cold Creek Trail
and continue downhill. At around the 2.5-mile mark, you'll see a fork in the trail. Stay left—the right fork is a connector to the Powerline Trail (Cold Creek Trail to Powerline Trail Connector
). In about 0.4 miles, turn left onto the Powerline Trail #18E33
and go across the bridge.
Veer left once you have crossed the bridge and head back towards the High Meadow Trail
. Once you hit the High Meadow Trail
you'll have completed the loop. Veer right to head back down to the parking area where you started. Get to your car and crack open a cold drink because you deserve it after this ride.