Visit Truckee-Tahoe logo.

Set Off On A Mountain Or Gravel Bike Tour Of The Best Fall Rides in Truckee

Alex Silgalis
August 29, 2023
Text Link

Fall is Truckee-Tahoe’s relaxed season. Nature and the town itself let out a sigh and a peacefulness sets in. While evenings are cool, afternoons are still warm with temperatures averaging mid-70’s in September to 60’s in October. It’s the perfect time to go for a mountain bike or gravel bike tour of the Sierra. And with the aspens beginning to “bloom” their fall colors and festivals such as Oktoberfest kicking off, you have no reason not to visit Truckee-Tahoe this time of year.

Truckee-Tahoe Singletrack Report

Find out what conditions are like and which trails are firing before your ride! Listen to the weekly singletrack report from 101.5 Truckee Tahoe Radio, our local station, for the latest update on trail conditions.

Donner Lake Rim Trail

Distance: Up to 15+ miles one-way / Climbing Varies

MTB Project (Castle Valley Segment | Northwood Blvd Segment) | Trailforks

Throughout your journey on the Donner Lake Rim Trail (DLRT), you’ll find stunning views of Donner Lake, Mount Rose, and the Pacific Crest. For mountain bikers, this well built singletrack is normally done as a shuttle starting at the Castle Valley trailhead and enjoying the primarily downhill descent to the Wendin Way Trailhead. This section features a beautiful granite garden to tackle. For gravel grinding with less rough terrain yet still challenging, consider trying the Northwoods Blvd Segment as an out-and-back ride.

Views from the Donner Rim Trail.

Sawtooth Trails


Sawtooth is an extensive trail network with a huge variety of mountain bike, e-bike, and gravel riding trails to choose from. There’s even an all-inclusive loop, the Compass Skills Loop, that is suitable for adaptive riders and great for kiddos or beginners looking to work on riding skills. Take a relaxed gravel ride down the forest road, do a couple laps on Happy Face, enjoy a chill cruise on Gentle Jeffrey. There are plenty of options for all riders, and many ways to connect Sawtooth trails for a longer ride.  

Commemorative Overland Emigrant Trail

Distance: Up to 15 miles one-way / 900’ Climbing

MTB Project | Trailforks 

Not a gravel road but 100% singletrack adventure. A perfect introduction to gravel grinding off the road or a great spot for a flowy, beginner-friendly mountain bike ride. Expect lots of smooth rolling singletrack, short but punchy climbs, swoopy turns, and drops to practice not braking. You’ll find lovely meadows, pine forests, and a lake at the far end. And as much distance as you can handle.

Flume Trail

Distance: Up to 14 miles one-way / 1,100’ Climbing


Part gravel road, a healthy dose of singletrack, and a day filled with some of the best bird’s-eye views of Lake Tahoe, the Flume should be on everyone’s bucket list. Words don’t do it justice and pictures only provide an inkling of what you’ll see. It isn’t until you see it for yourself will you understand. While you can do it quickly, you’ll want to set aside a full day to ensure you have enough time to really appreciate the views. There are a variety of ways to ride the Flume Trail but most do it by taking a shuttle from Flume Trail Bikes. And that option still has 1,100’ of climbing. Here’s a close look of what to expect for each mile of the Flume Trail.

The Flume Trail is renowned for fantastic views of Lake Tahoe.

Prosser And Stampede Reservoirs / Henness Pass

Distance: 51.4 Miles / 3,086’ Climbing


The best part about gravel riding in Truckee is you can start in town and create a loop of your own. The amount of fire roads, old gravel highway passes, and singletrack all connect in an infinite amount of ways. A good example of this is this Truckee Gravel Tour. Starting from town, it takes the bike paths to Dog Valley Road which becomes a gravel road. It then connects multiple gravel roads that undulate through the Sierra and give you a gravel bike tour around both Stampede and Prosser Reservoirs. While there is 3,000+ feet of climbing, it's spread across the entire length with none exceeding 3.6%.

Truckee's reservoir areas offer big sky views and opportunities for peaceful solitude.

Fire Roads, Trails, and Plenty Of Scenery

While Truckee-Tahoe is widely known as a mountain biking mecca, it’s also home to endless gravel riding. Gravel riding in its soul is about riding everything. Focusing on taking the less traveled paths which include gravel roads, singletrack, and even a few sections of smooth pavement. Truckee has endless options from short quick outings to multi-day gravel bike tours. To learn more about other routes, our local bike shops, and how to get started, explore our Gravel Grinding page.

Alex Silgalis

Born and raised as a flat lander in Chicagoland, Alex spent his summers working to save up for a season pass to the local hill along with any trips out West or beyond he could squeeze in. It was during his travels, both as a kid & an adult, Alex discovered his inspiration for Local Freshies® . His idea was to create the No. 1 Web site providing the local scoop on where to eat, drink & play in mountain towns throughout North America. When he’s not writing and executing marketing strategies for small businesses & agencies, he’s in search of the deepest snow in the winter and tackiest dirt in the summer alongside the love of his life and business partner, Jaime Pirozzi.

Visit Truckee-Tahoe logo.
E-Newsletter Signup

You’re in! Thanks for joining, stay tuned for news and updates.

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form

Copyright 2023 Visit Truckee-Tahoe