Running in Tahoe

I am always a big planner when going on vacation. 

What is the weather going to be like?  What clothes should I pack?  Where are we going to eat?  What are we doing to do?   

And the most obvious… where am I going to run?

My family had planned to spend the week after Christmas up in Lake Tahoe and one of the first things on my agenda was to find some fun places to run!  I didn’t have to search too far before I found the Tahoe Rim Trail which I had heard about before.

165 miles of single track trail that circles the lake.  Sounds like my idea of heaven. 

Dec 439 

I checked out the maps before we got up there and saw that one of the trailheads was just down the street from where we were staying.  The first day we got there (Monday) I tried to find the trailhead when we were driving but couldn’t.  I tried again on Tuesday with no luck.

I did some more research online and everything pointed us directly to the parking lot at the Heavenly Stagecoach lift.  I was sure we could find it on foot, so Chris and I got dressed eager to go running Wednesday morning and set out to find this mysterious trailhead. 

Sure enough we found it.

Dec 408

Right in the middle of the main ski lift.

Dec 409

I might be a little adventurous sometimes with where I run, but there was no way I was going to attempt running up a ski lift with all those skiers and snowboarders barreling down the mountain.  So we shifted to Plan B, because of course I had a Plan B.

I had noticed the day before that right across Hwy 207 was a trailhead which was just down the road from us.  We headed there and started running up. 

Dec 410

I had never run at a high altitude before and immediately noticed a difference.  My lungs were burning and my heart was beating pretty hard.  I was not a fan of that part.  I tried to keep up and had to walk a lot more than I normally would, but we wound our way up the mountain and were rewarded with some amazing views.

Our first peak of the lake
Dec 417

The trail hit a fire road, so we decided to take that up and actually got to see some snow!  Tahoe barely has any snow this year, so this was pretty exciting for us. 

Can I say that I have now run in the snow?
Dec 422

We found our way to the very top and really got some great views this time.  A panoramic view of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains. 

Dec 424

Definitely the best way to see the lake.

Dec 428

On our way down we ran into my dad and brother who had hiked up the same trail and hung out with them for a bit.  We showed them where we went and used my brothers binoculars to check out the mountain across the way.  It was pretty fun being the only 4 people up on the mountain miles away from everyone else.

Dec 435

We headed back down the mountain, but my dad and brother didn’t want to race… I don’t know why.  Going down was much easier than going up, but sheesh it wasn’t easy to breath!

Dec 437

6.5 miles later we were back to where we started.

TRT 1a TRT 1

Wednesday Chris and I decided to head south to a different trail head to see what we could find.  This one started at a big park and was much clearer on where to go.

Dec 438 

We got running and wound along the trail and found this big tree that had fallen down.  It was bigger around than Chris is tall!

Dec 440

I could definitely still tell in my lungs that we were up much higher than my sea-level self is used to, but I felt a little bit better and tried to do more running.

Dec 443a

It was so quiet out on the trail.  I kept thinking something was going to jump out at us!  We were very aware of our surroundings, making sure to pay close attention and keep our ears and eyes alert.  It was beautiful out there, but definitely not populated like the trails we run at home, especially this time of year.

Dec 444

We ran further and decided we should probably turn around before we got too far away from civilization. 

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But not before stopping to take a picture of course.

Dec 454a

We headed back and ran into a couple hikers who were the only people we saw out there the whole day.  I bet this trail is packed in the summer time though and I will definitely be back to check it out again.

We saw more snow on this trail than the day before too… this California girl gets very excited at the site of snow!

Dec 455

6 miles later we were back to where we started and another very beautiful trail run in the mountains.

Dec 458a

TRT 2a TRT 2

You can see the best stuff on vacation just by going out on a run.  It’s free, it’s fun and it’s something that a lot of people don’t take advantage of.  Us runners are very lucky for that.

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19 Responses to Running in Tahoe

  1. The Blonde January 3, 2012 at 8:12 am #

    That’s some decent elevation! You can definitely tell a huge difference when running at a higher elvation. I nearly died when I ran in Breckenridge a few weeks ago. Nice work! Wouldn’t it be awesome to train at the altitude all the time?!

    You need to come to Colorado now… ;)

  2. Lisa @ RunWiki January 3, 2012 at 8:12 am #

    That looks like a perfect few days…I am ready to pack my bags and head to Tahoe! I too, love to see the places I am visiting by running…one of the many reasons I love to run… Happy New Year to you and your family!! Love following your blog.

  3. Alyssa January 3, 2012 at 8:23 am #

    Yesssssss! We are lucky.

  4. Shannon @ Mon Amour January 3, 2012 at 8:35 am #

    It looks beautiful out there! A few years ago I went to Colorado Springs for a swim meet and was shocked with how much the altitude affected my breathing.

  5. Naomi January 3, 2012 at 9:11 am #

    Beautiful photos! What white vest and white compression socks are you wearing?

    • Aron January 3, 2012 at 10:06 am #

      Vest is the Nike Convertible running jacket I have had for a couple years. It has removable sleeves!

      Socks are the CEP compression sleeves.

  6. Angela @ MyPinkyToes January 3, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    Absolutely gorgeous!

  7. Lisa January 3, 2012 at 10:16 am #

    It is funny how you notice that elevation immediately. When I was in Mammoth I could be doing just fine and then head up a slight incline and need to stop and walk. I would LOVE to run around the trails in Tahoe. I wasn’t a runner when I lived up there.

    It sounds like you had a great time on your vacation. Happy New Year!

  8. Maureen January 3, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    What a beautiful area to run. So jealous!

  9. Tim F January 3, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

    Hi, great recap of running in Tahoe. I was just up there for New Years and got a good run in, but I’m not used to running in that elevation. I took full advantage of stopping to read the map. I’m planning to run up there again in the summer.

  10. @PavementRunner January 3, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    Excellent photos… sounds like it was a great place to run and quite the adventure. I’ve always wanted to log some mile up there. Way to go and kudos for getting in some miles on vacation.

  11. Amber from Girl with the Red Hair January 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

    Gorgeous!!!! Glad you got some awesome trail running in during your holiday!

  12. Danica @ GirlsThatRun January 3, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

    Wow gorgeous views!! Looks like you had a fun trip!

  13. kristen January 3, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    That’s looks like a runner’s heaven! So glad you had a great time and got some quality running in. Those views are stunning.

  14. Lisa January 3, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

    Beautiful photos. What a nice place to get some trail running in. I’d be excited for snow too. I haven’t seen any snow yet this year and I live up north in WA!

  15. Rachel January 3, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

    so jealous! elevation is definitely no joke, i did my first triathlon in tahoe and could barely breathe the entire race!

  16. marlene January 4, 2012 at 7:59 am #

    LOVE all the trail running you did, especially with Chris! No better way to spend vacation. And YES I think that counts as running in snow… sort of. ;)

  17. JoLynn January 5, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    Sure seems strange to see you wearing shorts in Tahoe this time of year. ;)

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  1. American River 50: Weeks 4 & 5 | runner's rambles - January 9, 2012

    [...] First trail run at altitude with Chris!  Lung burning, heart beating awesomeness.  [...]

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