It’s not often I get out of the Jeep at a ski resort parking lot ready to enjoy the mountain in shorts. But that’s what happens when it’s July and the activity is hiking instead of skiing.
A swath of the Tahoe Rim Trail goes through Heavenly Mountain Resort. I started my adventure near the Stagecoach chairlift on the Nevada side.
A sign early on said in nine miles I would reach Star Lake, it was 14 miles to Armstrong Pass, 18 to Saxon Creek Trail, 21 to Grass Lake Trail, 23 to Big Meadow Trailhead and 87 miles to Tahoe City. Maybe another day. I went in the other direction toward Kingsbury North.
It is always strange to me to look at a ski resort as a place to recreate without snow. But what a bonus for those of us who like the outdoors to be able to play here more than one season.
The trails were covered in green grass and didn’t seem quite as steep as they do looking down with skis on. However, the trees from my vantage point looked even closer together, which is probably why tree skiing in this area isn’t something I do.
For the hike, I was mostly going across the mountain. On this particular weekday not many others were out—a mountain biker and a handful of hikers. Perfect.
The tranquility allowed me the time to embrace my surroundings and enjoy being someplace new, at least a new hike for much of the route. A few flowers dotted the trail, but mostly it felt like I was being hugged by the tall pines.
Once the trail starts heading down, Lake Tahoe and the Nevada side of the South Shore come into view. A little farther and Mount Tallac looms in the distance on the California side.
The trail comes out into a neighborhood that would eventually cross Kingsbury Grade and hook up with the TRT on the other side. Before getting there I followed the sign pointing toward Boulder Lodge.
This old road is short, but also the most sustained uphill. It empties out in the parking lot of Boulder Lodge. This patch of pavement looked like a construction zone, which makes since with the North Bowl chairlift being upgraded from a triple to a high-speed quad before the season starts.
From there the hike was more like a neighborhood stroll as the dirt was gone and asphalt was now my walking surface back to the Jeep.
It was a rather easy hike, where poles were not needed. Other than the natural beauty of the forest, on this day it was about the solitude and being grateful for being back “home.”
I finished my hike logging 5.27 miles with an elevation gain of 934 feet. My minimum elevation was 7,175 feet, while the maximum was 7,953 feet. Stagecoach Lodge is at 7,480 feet, while Boulder Lodge sits at 7,250 feet.