Lake Tahoe East Shore Trail: How to visit & parking tips


Lake Tahoe, California

by Coco Tran On September 9, 2023

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Lake Tahoe’s stunning East Shore trail is Americas and Lake Tahoe’s most beautiful bike trails and for good reason! You’ll find the magnificent turquoise crystal clear waters and gigantic boulders peeking through the waters and some of the most stunning scenery.

If you’ve read my 3 days in Tahoe Itinerary and Tahoe’s best biking trails , you know that I’ve recently spent my birthday weekend in July at Lake Tahoe. On our first day, we spent biking Lake Tahoe’s East Shore trail in with our dogs. So I’ve made a mini travel guide and I’m sharing helpful information and tips with you!  So, let’s dive right in and discover the wonders of Tahoe’s East Shore!

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 Tahoe’s East Shore Trail

Americas Most Beautiful Scenic  Bike Pathway 

The trail meanders alongside Lake Tahoe’s shimmering waters, giving you breathtaking views and opportunities to connect with nature. Whether you love walking or biking, this trail is perfect for both to experience the beautiful Lake Tahoe on a spacious 10 ft paved pathway!

Oh, and by the way, pets are welcome here, too! Just make sure to keep them on a leash during your. And Note that e-bikes are welcome but leave other motorized vehicles and scooters at home.

WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT THE EAST SHORE LAKE TAHOE TRAIL:

  • This iconic paved trail connects Sand Harbor State Path to Incline Village
  • The 10-feet wide paths that are available for biking, walking, and running. 
  • The path offers stunning panoramic views of the lake, making it a photographer’s paradise.
  • Enjoy peaceful moments while spotting native wildlife, such as deer and birds.
  • 14 vista stops with 11 access points to the beach for a swim (bring your swimwear and towel!)
  • With easy terrain and gentle slopes, this trail is ideal for families with kids.
  • pets are allowed on this trail but have to be on a leash at all times


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lake tahoe east shore trailPin

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FULL DAY LAKE TAHOE BIKE RENTAL

  • full day bike rental
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  • free cancelations

Parking at east shore lake tahoe & Lake Tahoe East shore Trail Access

To start your East Shore Trail path, access the Tahoe Trail east shore, you can head over to Ponderosa Ranch Road in Incline Village, where you can conveniently park your vehicle and take the shuttle to access the trailhead.

You may be wondering where to park for tahoe east shore trail. New for 2023, there are 90 new parking spots near Ponderosa Ranch Road and State Route 28(SR 28). Its a safer access to the SR 28 Corridor and the Tahoe East Shore Trail. Say goodbye to roadside parking along SR 28, as it’s now prohibited.

east shore trail parking

To access the East shore trail new parking lot, put in your GPS “Tunnel Creek Cafe” The parking lot is right in front of the cafe’s parking lot where the East Shore Trail begins. We grabbed breakfast at the Cafe, they open at 8 am before we started biking.

where is the start of the trail? How to access the east shore trail

The East Shore Trail starts on the left side of the main highway/ road right next to Tunnel Creek cafe and the parking lot. The trail starts going uphill before it starts to decline on the right side of the road and wrap next to the lake. It’s a bit unclear where the East Shore Trail begins, but if you just follow the wide cement path up :), you are on the trail!

east shore trail Pin

I recommend you arrive early in the morning or later in the afternoon, especially during peak summer season, as parking spots fill up quickly.  

When I went, we arrived at 7:15 am and there were about 4 cars parked at the 90 spot parking lot. So plan on arriving before 8 am.

tahoe east shore trail mapPin

Parking Fees at tahoe east shore trail – tahoe east shore trail parking fee

To pay for parking at the East Shore Trail, you can pay using your phone by texting “tun1-1” to 727563. Make sure to have your license plate number and credit card information ready for payment. Alternatively, you can use the kiosk at the parking area to pay for parking.

Paying for parking is per hour, you have to prepay for the hours. So let’s say you want to stay for 3 hours you will have to pay for 3 hours. They do give tickets if your parking meter is expired, there is a friendly gentleman who checks your license plate in their system to make sure your parking is valid.

Can you renew parking online at the east shore trail?

You can renew your parking, but you will need to reenter your information (plate number and credit card)

The parking fee to park at lake tahoe east shore trail are:

DayTimeParking Fee
Monday – ThursdayBefore 7 AMFree
7-9 AM$1
9-11 AM$4
11-3 PM$6
3-5 PM$4
5-7 PM$1
Friday – SundayBefore 7 AMFree
7-9 AM$1
9-11 AM$6
11-3 PM$7
3-5 PM$6
5-7 PM$1
7 PM onwards: Free

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Where can you park East Shore Trail if new parking lot are full?

from my experience, we arrived at 7:30 am and the parking lot was nearly empty in the July

.Sand Harbor has flashing signs on SR 28 and US 50 to let you know when their parking lots are full. Keep in mind! If you’re planning to park at Tahoe overnight, don’t do it, you will be ticketed and worst towed as it’s not allowed. 

Tahoe East Shore Trail Shuttle Services:

When the new parking spots are full, hop on the East Shore Express shuttle service, available during summers. You can park for free at the old Incline Elementary School on 771  Southwood Blvd Incline Village. The gates will open at 7:00 a.m. If the lot is full, additional parking will begin at 915 Northwood Blvd.

(SR28) and catch the shuttle to the trailhead. The East Shore Express also stops at Sand Harbor State Park and Hidden Beach, so you can easily explore multiple spots hassle-free. The shuttle service operates during most summers, running from June 30 to Labor Day, September 4 daily from 10 am to 7pm.

What time is the first and last bus and how often do buses/shuttles run?

The Tahoe East Shore Express 28 bus hours :

9:24 am incline village  is the first pick up and it runs every 30 minutes . The last east shore trail shuttle pickup is 3:53pm from sand harbor back to the parking lot Remember to bring $3 in cash or a card for the bus fare.

TIP: You can see real-time bus tracking and live predictions of all bus routes through Transit App.  The app can be downloaded through the Apple App Store or Google Play.  You can also view real-time predictions online here.

tahoe east shore trail map of bus shuttle

Can you bring your bike onto the tahoe east shore trail shuttle bus?

If you prefer cycling the east shore trail, you’ll be glad to know that bicycles are allowed on all TTD fixed and commuter express routes, provided the bus has a bike rack. If the rack is full, you can still take your bike inside the bus if there’s available space, but it must be the final boarding for the day. 

There is no additional fare for using the bike rack. Persons using the bike rack must have the physical ability to load / unload their bike, or be accompanied by a person willing to assist them.

Are dogs allowed on the east shore express bus/ shuttle? 

Sadly only service animals are allowed. Pets and animals that are not service animals are not permitted on TTD buses or in transit facilities.


 Enjoy the East Shore bike trail Trail with Your Four-Legged Friends

You may be wondering, are dogs allowed on the east shore trail?” Good news for pet owners! The trail is pet friendly, so you can bring your leashed furry friend along. We brought our pups along in a bike trailer behind us and they loved it! Just know, the pavement is extremely hot during summer days. Along the trail, I saw that there were complimentary wagons for pet owners who weren’t aware of how hot the pavement can get. that was awesome to see! As you can see we brought along this bike trailer that we carried our dogs in and they loved it!

east shore trail bike pathPin


 Take In The Amazing Views at the Vista Points  & stop by Tunnel Creek Cafe for Breakfast

As you journey along the east shore bike path, you’ll come across 16 vista points where you can take a break and admire the breathtaking views and take a refreshing dip, there are several beach access.

Don’t forget to read the inscriptions on the Tahoe-shaped plaques, left by generous vista point donors. here are some of my tahoe east shore trail photos.

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At the start of the trail, there is Tunnel Creek Café located at the northern trailhead, a great spot to grab coffee and breakfast and rest. We started our day with Coffee and breakfast here before heading out on our bikes.

I Loved the hidden beach cove you’ll find halfway along the trail. We locked up our bikes and headed down to the beach with our pups. The beach was fairly busy but there were areas to sit. Please keep your pups on a leash here so they don’t bother other people around you.

Explore Sand Harbor State Park

At the southernmost end of the trail lies Sand Harbor State Park, a true gem of Nevada. The entrance fee is just $2 for both cyclists and pedestrians, and you’ll be rewarded with giant boulders, crystal-clear water, sandy beaches, kayak rentals, and so much more! View my Guide on visiting Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe.

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Now that you’re armed with all the info you need, it’s time to plan your East Shore Trail adventure. Whether you choose to walk, bike, or take the shuttle, Tahoe’s East Shore promises an unforgettable experience filled with stunning views and memorable moments. So, get out there, explore, and make the most of your time at this incredible destination.

FAQ

How long does it take to do the Tahoe East Shore Trail?

The 3 mile point to point trail takes about 55 minutes to 2 hours to complete depending on stops are

How much does it cost to park at the East Shore trail in Tahoe?

IParking varies based on the time $1-6

Is there a trail that goes all the way around Lake Tahoe?

the Tahoe East Shore trail is. a3 mile paved portion of the tahoe trail that connects all around Lake Tahoe.

How long is the East Shore trail?

The trail is 3 miles long one way

Which side of Lake Tahoe is more scenic?

I personally say the Nevada East side of lake Tahoe is prettier and less developed.

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