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Remember, Mother Nature (or the government) is probably re-doing some of these trails as you read this.  Nothing is guaranteed!  Check the LBHA website frequently,  or e-mail LBHA if you find something to correct or add.  Read   about  "Trail  Safety and Etiquette"  on the LBHA Trail Welcome Page

Updated Monday May 30, 2011
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Big Meadow Trailhead

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Location: Hwy 50 near Meyers
Date reviewed: March 2001
      

Located about 12 miles south of Lake Tahoe, the Big Meadow Trailhead offers you the choice of riding north or south on the Tahoe Rim Trail. Riding North offers beautiful scenery and a distant view of Tahoe. Riding south has more trail choices, several alpine lake destinations, and eventually connects with the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).

This is a very popular area for hiking and fishing, and because it is a multi-use trail, you may also pass mountain bicyclists and pack llamas. Most trail users are courteous - all just happy to be there. These trails are quite heavily used during weekends; weekdays are quieter.

When you ride south from the trail head use extreme caution crossing Hwy 89. (The traffic is light but cars are going quickly and quietly down the grade.) The trail starting on the other side is a boulder-strewn climb for the first quarter mile. You will need to dismount to open and close the first of several barbed wire gates, then another quarter mile of good trail gives you BIG MEADOW! This is a huge flat expanse that was a lake thousands of years ago. It may be full of wildflowers or grazing cattle, depending on the time of year. Follow the track into the deep forest again. As you continue, the trails are good, with level to gradual climbs. Check your map and watch for a junction with the Meiss Meadow Trail. The post will direct you to either Round Lake or Xmas Valley (toward Dardanelles Lake).

This whole area lies between Hwy 89 and Hwy 88 (Carson Pass) and can be explored in a day, although you will probably want to linger at Dardanelles Lake. It is spectacular with its granite slab on one side and sheer granite cliffs on the other. To reach this lake you will cross the head waters of the Truckee Trailhead.

The biggest lake in the area is Round Lake, only 2.7 miles from your trailer! The lake lies at the base of an imposing wall of volcanic cliffs. As you continue south past Round Lake you will ride into the Meiss Meadows area. Just south of where this trail joins the Pacific Crest Trail is one of the oldest buildings in the Lake Tahoe Basin. The Meiss cabin, build in 1878, has been restored by the local ranchers and the Forest Service.

This can be your turnaround point, although the PCT continues on. There is an incredibly diverse terrain within a very short riding distance. It changes from granite to lava rock, sagebrush and mule ears to lush high meadows and stands of quaking aspen to dark confier forests. In addition there are beautiful lakes and streams.

Remember to follow good backcountry manners and practices, particularly at the lakes (200 ft rule) and back at the trailers (remove or scatter manure).

If every trail user cherishes this beautiful wilderness, it should remain the same for generations.

DIRECTIONS to reach the Big Meadow Trail head. From the town of Meyers on Hwy 50, take Hwy 89 (junction ) south, 5 miles to the signed trailhead. The entrance is on the left and comes up abruptly. The paved parking lot will be on your left and leads to a circular area and drive-thru spaces for four rigs. There is a bulletin board with history of the area and information on the trails. There are also chemical toilets here, but no water. If the parking lot is full, follow the trail head road down to the Big Meadow campground. The creek there offers water for the horses.

Depending on snow conditions, this area may not open until mid-June or even July. Be careful of boggy areas. For information contact the Lake Tahoe Basin management Unit at (530) 573-2600. It is a good idea to have a topo map with you and study it before your ride. Maps: USGS Echo Lake 7.5, Fallen Leaf Lake Quadrangle by Wilderness Press, and Recreation Map of Lake
Tahoe by Tom Harrison Cartography. Another source of information is the website for the now-completed Tahoe Rim Trail: For more information contact   
www.tahoerimtrail.org   or call 775-558-0686.