The Flume Trail can be describes as an emotional, spiritual, life changing experience which is why it is my favorite Tahoe Truckee Spot.
One of the True Wonders of The Northern Sierras is the picturesque Flume Trail and one of the premier trails in the entire world! This trail is packed with jaw dropping vistas as well as historical significance; the trail runs parallel 1,600’ above the East Shore of Lake Tahoe with panoramic cascading views. The Flume Trail is a 14 mile day trip that begins at Spooner Lake State Park. The trail starts at 7, 0000 feet and climbs to 8,157 feet, with over 1000 feet of climbing in the first four miles with most of it in the last mile of the climb. These first four miles are a wide, dusty trail. Once you hit the crest, a little less than a mile to Marlette Lake, the path remains wide and you’ll likely run into hikers, campers, and horses drinking the crystal clear lake water that’s surrounded in pines, aspen, and willow trees. Follow the banks of the lake for 1.6 miles on a fast, flat trail that acts as an overture to what will come. At the dam, turn left, and the drama begins. In the late 1800s, Sierra Nevada Wood and Lumber Company transported water and raw lumber down the east side of the mountains to the mines in Virginia City by means of a wooden flume, hence the name “Flume trail”. What remains of the flume; some nails, square nails too, metal brackets, and warped wood that lies discarded along the steep banks of the Flume Trail. In its place is a sandy, vertigo trail that is thrilling. Keep a sharp eye on the trail, because on one side are boulders the size of Volkswagens and on the other side is a 1,600 foot bumpy drop to Sand Harbor, with breathtaking unimpeded views of Lake Tahoe…you’d think you could spit in the lake, if it weren’t 1,600 feet below. After 4.5 miles on this epic section (be sure to take it all in, you won’t want it to end), and then it is a 3 mile, 1,500 foot drop to the bottom.
The Flume is an experience and memory will never forget.