A bridge crossing Trout Creek in South Lake Tahoe brings neighborhoods together, with an easy connection to Lake Tahoe Community College. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Incrementally, paved bike trails are starting to tie key sections of the South Shore of Lake Tahoe together.

Original plans were for a 9.2 mile trail to go from Meyers to Stateline, with much of it following Caltrans’ original plans for a highway through the forest. It was once known at the Greenway Bike Trail.

A major section that recently was completed is called the Dennis T. Machida Memorial Greenway. The 3.86 miles link neighborhoods to each other and to Lake Tahoe Community College.

It was near the phys ed building at LTCC that I met my friend and her dog. From there we walked south, or was it east? I’m directionally challenged. It was toward Meyers.

It wasn’t long before we were crossing an impressive expansive bridge that covers Trout Creek from Meadow Crest Drive to Martin Avenue. In late June the abundance of water made me question what body of water this was. I was disoriented because the creek was well beyond its banks. That’s what happens after a winter like last year.

Absolutely stunning.

Mount Tallac in the distance, with a full Upper Truckee River in the foreground on the 206-acre Johnson Meadow parcel. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

The structure meanders like water does. The subtle curves and how low it is to the ground means it’s not obtrusive while surrounded by all this natural beauty.

Machida, who this section of the trail is named after, was the California Tahoe Conservancy’s initial executive director, having served from 1985 until he died unexpectedly in 2005 at the age of 58.

We didn’t let the end of the paved trail stop us. We proceeded to the trail that goes through the Johnson Meadow, that since 2018 has been owned by the Tahoe Resource Conservation District.

We turned around at the concrete remains of what locals call the Hospital Bridge. A large section of it came tumbling down in winter 2016-17. It was a popular connector for mountain bike riders from Barton Memorial Hospital to what could be considered the Pioneer Trail side of the Upper Truckee River.

With this no longer being private property, it’s possible the original bike path could be resurrected.

In 2008, the CTC was projecting the entire 9.2-mile trail would cost $20 million to build. It’s going to be a lot more if and when the entire route is built.

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