Walkabout California

Hiking Inn to Inn

If you are in the Tahoe-Reno Area and looking for a great place to cross-country ski or snowshoe, it’s hard to beat Tahoe Meadows.  Park your car and head out on a long gradual descent through the wide valley.  You can follow trails made by others or blaze your own, exploring the meadows or the surrounding mountains.

          We set out on a sunny afternoon with temperatures in the mid-30s.  It had been two days since the last storm.  The boughs of the pine forests that line the meadow were heavily laden with snow, and there was foot of light powder.  Conditions were perfect!

          We followed a trial down valley for a half mile, and then turned west into the woods, ascending, zig-zagging through the trees for another mile and a half.  Reaching the crest at 9,225 feet, Lake Tahoe emerged below us, deep blue, surrounded by snowy peaks.  There are few more beautiful sights in all of California.

          This spot is called Chickadee Ridge.  There is a small bird feeder, and dozens of chickadees flited from tree branch to feeder.  They are tiny gray birds with white cheeks and a black crown and bib.  Fearless and curious about us, they flew over to land on our caps and shoulders.

          The descent to the meadow was sheer joy.  Breaking trail, the deep powder made it easy to snake between the trees, effortlessly gliding through the woods.  We took our time, enjoying the still beauty of the winter forest.

 

Directions

Tahoe Meadows, at 8,500 feet, is on the southeast flank of Mt. Rose.  From Lake Tahoe’s Incline Village, drive east on Mt. Rose Highway (Hwy. 431) for 6.5 miles.  From Reno, drive west on Highway 431 for 17.2 miles from the Highway 395 junction.  You will see a long parking area by the side of the highway.  Snowmobiles are limited to the north side.  Tahoe Meadows is on the south.

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