Information, trail descriptions, and trail maps for cross county and back country sking in Lake Tahoe.

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Cross country skiing (or nordic skiing) at Lake Tahoe ranges from groomed tracks to pristine backcountry wilderness. Our guide lists many of the fine cross country skiing opportunities around The Lake. Blue text in the table are active links to descriptions of that ski tour, while black text are tours for which the descriptions are not yet finished. The tours are indexed by location and difficulty. If you are interested in skiing or boarding peak like Mt. Tallac, go to our Peak Climbing page. Remember, back-country travel, especially in winter, brings with it special considerations including, weather, route-finding, clothing choices, avalanche conditions, etc. For more information on these subjects, go to our Tips page. Winter in Tahoe is a peaceful time, we hope you'll find information here that will help you get out and enjoy it!
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Camp Richardson Cross Country: Camp Rich sets some diaganol stride tracks through nice forest around their resort.

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Kirkwood Cross Country: Kirkwood, located west of Carson Pass on Highway 88 has both diagonal stride tracks and skating lanes. A nice nordic resort.

Luther Pass-Grass Lake: This flat tour is perfect for families or novice skiiers yet still offers fine views and trails through nice forest. Distance: 0.5 - 5 miles. Elevation change: very little around the lake.

Tallac Historic Site / Visitor Center: This area has lots of possibilities for beginner skiers or families with children. From the Visitor Center, you can put together a tour of between 1 and 4 miles that takes in views of Lake Tahoe along some nice trails. Distance: 1 - 4 miles. Elevation change: Flat.

Fallen Leaf Lake: Another nice beginner ski tour that cruises fine trails and leads to a wonderful view of Mt. Tallac and Fallen Leaf Lake. Easily extended for a longer tour. Distance: 3/4 to 5 miles. Elevation change: not much.

Echo Lakes: A popular tour that follows the road from the SnoPark at Echo Summit to the Echo Lake Resort (closed in winter) then out across the frozen lakes. Can be extended to an intermediate or advanced tour easily. Nice views. Distance: 2.5 - 12 miles round trip. Elevation change: +/- 250' to 1250'.

Angora Lakes : A nice intermediate tour up Angora Ridge Road to Angora Lookout or on to the pretty Angora Lakes. Beautiful views from the lookout. A fun, fast descent. Distance: 7 miles r/t. Elevation change: +/- 750 feet.
Big Meadow Area (Intermediate): A good intermediate tour. The first quarter mile is a bit steep, but reasonable after that. Three trails to three different lakes, Scotts, Round, or Dardanelles. Distance: 5 - 10 miles depending on the route. Elevation change: Anywhere from +/- 300 to +/- 1100 feet again depending on the route.

Carson Pass - Lake Winnemucca: This beautiful tour takes you out to Lake Winnemucca at Carson Pass. The scenery is remarkable and the trail is mostly flat! You can extend this tour by continuing on to Round Top Lake or even 4th of July Lake. You can also access the fine telemarking area around Elephant's Back. Distance: Adjustable from 4 miles to 10 miles round trip. Elevation change: From 400' to 2000' depending on you route.

Oneidas Road to Armstrong Pass: This intermediate to advanced tour follows the Fountain Place Forest Service road for several miles then continues up through Fountain Place meadow and on up to Armstrong Pass. Distance: Variable. Elevation change: From 200' to 2400'.

Floating Is./Cathedral: This intermediate tour starts at the Tallac Trailhead which is usually plowed through the winter. It head up a nice, but in places steep trail along a ridge with great vies of Fallen Leaf Lake and Lake Tahoe. It continues past Floating Island Lake and onto Cathedral Lake. You could even get to the top of Tallc this way (although most skiers us the Spring Creek approach). Distanct: 3 - 5 miles. Elevation change: 700' to 1200'.

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  North Shore
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Royal Gorge Cross Country: One of the best cross country resorts near the north shore with lots of diagonal stride tracks and skating lanes. Varied terrain and fine scenery. Rentals and lessons are available.

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Tahoe Cross Country: A convenient, non-profit cross country center located near Tahoe City with set tracks, rentals, lessons, and a small day lodge.

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Northstar at Tahoe Cross Country: Located near Kings Beach on Highway 267 Northstar offers 50 km of striding and skating trails as well snow-shoeing trails. Rentals and lessons are available.

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Eagle Mountain Cross Country Resort: Located along Interstate 80 Eagle Mountain has lots of groomed trails for striding and skating with rentals and lessons as well.

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Squaw Creek Cross Country: Offering 18 km of groomed ski tracks.

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Diamond Peak Cross Country: Located in Incline Village.

Mt. Rose Area: The Tahoe Meadows area offers some fine cross country skiing on Tahoe's north shore. Located 1/4 mile before Mt. Rose summit, this area has lots of snow and variable length tours from an hour to a day. Distance: Adjustable. Elevation change: From flat to 800'.

Paige Meadow: A good beginner cross country area with lots of different trails, not too much climbing, but nice scenery. Distance: From 4 to 8 miles. Elevation change: From +/- 600 to +/- 1000 feet.
Burton Creek Area: Another good beginner to intermediate ski tour area with lots of different trails, nice views of Lake Tahoe, and easy access from Tahoe City. Distance: From a few miles to over 10. Elevation change: from +/- 800 to +/- 1500.

Peter Grubb Hut: This fine tour starts north of US 80 across from Boreal Ski Resort. It follows an unplowed road for a couple of miles then heads back towards Round Valley with Castle Peak towering overhead. The Hut is a nice place for lunch or an overnight stay. Distance: 5 miles one way. Elevation 1000' (Grubb Hut) to 2300' (Castle Peak).

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  West Shore

Snow/Azure Lake: This advanced tour takes the skier off trail to two fine, infrequently visited spots in the winter, Snow and Azure Lakes. It heads up the beautiful Cascade Creek drainage just north of Mt. Tallac. Distance: 5 - 7 miles round trip. Elevation change: 1000' to 1700'.

Cascade Falls: This high-beginner ski tour takes you out to the picturesque Cascade Falls which in the winter ices over turning into a beautiful ice fall. You can then continue up the Cascade Canyon all the way to Snow or Azure Lake (advanced). Distance: 1.5 miles round trip. Elevation change: 150'.

Granite Lake: Another short but steep ski tour for people with some experience in turning anbd stopping! With terriffic vistas of Emerald Bay and a cute, pristine alpine lake, this ski tour is worth the climb. If you have the skill and endurance, Maggies Peak is a fine winter descent as well. Distance: 2 - 4 miles one way. Elevation change: From 880' to 1900'.

Eagle Lake: Although short, the steepness of the climb makes this an intermediate ski tour. From the parking area at Emerald Bay, this tour follows Eagle Canyon past the falls and on to Eagle Lake. Eagle Lake is a beautiful alpine lake worth visiting during the winter when it is void of the summer crowds. Distance: 2 miles round trip. Elevation change: 420'.

Rubicon Trail: The Rubicon Trail, which goes between Emerald Bay at Vikingsholm and Bliss State Park to the north is a fine high-beginner ski tour. The only difficult section is the first downhill to Vikingsholm. From Vikingsholm, the trail is spectacular with fine views of Emerald Bay and nice forest to ski through. Distance: 4.5 miles one way. Elevation change: 200'.

Meeks Bay: This variable tour starts on a wide, flat road for the first two miles then heads up the drainage towards Desolation Wilderness becoming an intermediate tour at this point. Distance: Adjustable but 9 miles round trip to the first lake. Elevation Change: From 0 to 1200' to the first lake.

General Creek: Located in the beautiful Sugar Pine Point Campground, there is a short, flat loop appropriate for beginners as well as a longer intermediate out-and-back tour that make this ski easily adjustable to fit your party's ability. Distance: From 4 to 10 miles round trip. Elevation change: From +/- 150 to +/- 800 feet.
Stanford Rock/Ward Cr (Advanced): This advanced tour climbs steeply up the side of a mountain to specactular views of Lake Tahoe. It then heads back towards the backcountry and ultimately out Ward Creek Canyon. Distance: 10 miles one-way. Elevation change: 2100 feet.
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  East Shore

Spooner Lake Area: Located at the intersection of Highway 50 and Highway 28 on Tahoe's east shore, the Spooner Lake Area offers nice cross country skiing for everyone from beginners with kids to advanced backcountry skiers. Distance: From 1 to 25 miles round trip. Elevation change: From 50 to 3500 feet.

Kingsbury - Spooner: This is a pleasant ski tour on the Tahoe Rim Trail north of Kinsbury grade. Along the way, it provides fantastic scenery and Lake views. You can continue all the way to Spooner Summit if you have the endurance! Distance: Adjustable from 3 to 13 miles one-way. Elevation change: From 500' to 1500'.
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