The singletrack descent from Freel Meadows down to Meyers, is absolutely - gauranteed the best mountain bike ride in all of Tahoe/Truckee. I think it's almost 15 miles of constant downhill. Only not your normal downhill skid trail. Your dream trail. Meadows, creeks, granite, tons of banked turns, views of real mountains, lakes, and of course Tahoe.
I call this loop the High Ride. Definately the most climbing and descending you can do in Tahoe in a one direction ride. My rough guess is about 50 miles and 5000' of climbing. I don't really know from studying the map or computer however.
Put the loop aside for a second. The easiest way to get the full downhill I'm talking about is the following:
Leave a shuttle car in Meyers and drive yourself up to the Tahoe Rim Trail on Luthier Pass. Ride up to Freel Meadows, and go just beyond to a clearing where you can see Hope Valley and the surrounding peaks. Turn around, and don't forget to bang a right when you re-cross the Saxon Creek Trailhead. This is the only turn in the ride. Saxon Creek Trail is Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. Turn left on Pioneer, the highway you find at the end of the ride.
Back to the killer loop you need to do now. Rode with Mark Chavez, who helps run the Truckee Store service department.
I like to park at the Casinos near Stateline. We ride up Kingsbury Grade to Dagget's Pass, 7340'. Turn right at the top of the pass, and ride another steep mile through a world of condos. The Tahoe Rim Trail is at the very end. The TRT organization did an incredible job building this trail. Much of it is on very steep slopes, yet the trail has no off-camber. Tons of small granite rocks are built into retainer walls all along this ride.
After a few miles of climbing, you reach Monument Pass and this view. Get used to false summits. Next will be Freel Pass, and finally Armstrong Pass.
You've done quite a bit of quality riding by this point, mostly up, but some great down. Job's Sister is on the left, and Freel Peak is on the right. The trail goes to the low point just right of Job's Sister. Star Lake is burried at the bottom of Job's Sister. Right now there is NO dust anywhere, the flowers are fully out, grass is very green, and the creeks are flowing.
Check out this Bristlecone tree. 500 years old? The base is huge.
Star Lake is beautiful, and swimming would have been nice. We did this ride on 7-19 and it was very hot.
Freel Peak is on the left in this shot. We didn't walk over much snow, but it was fun to cross a big snowfield just beyond here.
After freel pass, you've got a long way to go before Armstrong. The ride is killer. Down/Up award winning singletrack with no one around. In fact, there is only one option to bail out along this entire ride. Just before Armstrong Pass, you can take a right and descend to South shore. The sign says "Oneidas Street". Anyone been down this trail who can tell us about it? I keep saying I'm going to do it, I know people ride it, but I haven't wanted to miss out on Mr. Toad's.
I didn't take any more pictures. We rested at Armstrong Pass for half an hour and ate everything we had. At 4pm we hit the downhill, and it took an hour to get onto the pavement. None of these pictures really do the trail justice, and the downhill is unbelievable. Now that I've done the ride 5 times, I've finally realized that this could easily be Bike Magazine's next nationally famous epic story ride.
Here's a shot of Deslolation Wilderness, which you can see from much of the ride.
Another note. Expect to walk your bike uphill at times, especially near Freel Pass. The downhill is pretty challenging as well. Nothing your 5" travel disc brake bike can't handle of course. It is truly amazing what modern bikes can do.