Tahoe’s East Shore Trail is Set to Undergo 8-Mile Expansion and Parking Development

In 2019, the Tahoe East Shore Trail opened with much fanfare, offering a spectacular three-mile, universally accessible pathway providing breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe and unprecedented access to its pristine shores. This achievement was made possible through the combined efforts of thirteen partners and the generous contributions of over 600 Tahoe Fund donors who played a pivotal role in securing a $12.5 million federal grant for the project.

Fast forward four years, and an exciting expansion is now in progress, aiming to extend the trail all the way to Spooner Summit. Leading this ambitious venture are the Tahoe Transportation District, US Forest Service, and Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT), with crucial permitting support from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. The Tahoe Fund has pledged $2 million in philanthropic funds to propel this expansion forward.

This new phase encompasses an additional eight miles of scenic trail, along with expanded parking facilities that will eliminate the hazards posed by haphazard roadside parking. Just like the initial three miles, this expansion will feature substantial erosion control measures to safeguard Lake Tahoe’s waters from harmful sediment runoff. The trail will follow the highway’s route while remaining on the lakeside.

Construction is expected to span the next 5-7 years, contingent on funding availability. The project will kick off with the construction of improved parking lots, with the primary goal of eliminating shoulder parking and replacing it with secure off-highway parking and transit options.

Here’s a glimpse of what’s in store:

  • Chimney Beach: Work is already underway at the Chimney Beach parking area, where the US Forest Service is expanding the existing 21 parking spots to accommodate a total of 130 spaces while implementing environmental enhancements. Please note that the parking lot is closed for the season.
  • North Trailhead: Later this year, design efforts will commence for the creation of 30+ new parking spaces at the Northern Trailhead in Incline Village and 6-8 spaces at Rocky Point. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2025.
  • Secret Harbor: Design work is in progress to expand the current Secret Harbor parking lot to include 120 spots, with construction anticipated in 2025.
  • Spooner Summit: Across the street from Spooner Lake State Park, design is underway for a brand new parking lot boasting 250 new spaces, along with a permanent AIS Boat Inspection Station. NDOT will oversee this construction, set to begin in 2024.

Following the parking lot developments, the construction focus will shift to new trail segments, primarily following this order:

  1. Thunderbird Cove to the new Secret Harbor parking lot.
  2. Sand Harbor to Thunderbird Cove.
  3. Secret Harbor to Spooner.

Upon completion of this extensive endeavor, the trail will connect from Incline Village to Spooner Summit, significantly enhancing accessibility and safety along the entire East Shore.

The Tahoe Fund will once again offer opportunities for donors to sponsor scenic vistas and benches along this extended section of the trail. To express interest in reserving one, kindly reach out to Karolina Hedman at khedman@tahoefund.org to be added to the reservation list.

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California


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