Flume Trail In South Dakota

Here is everything you need to know about the Flume Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: South Dakota
  • Length: 11 miles.
  • Type: Biking
  • Surface: dirt
  • Managed By: Tahoe Rim Trail Association
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website: Info not available.

The Flume Trail, located in the Lake Tahoe region of Nevada and California, holds a significant historical background. Originally constructed in the late 1800s, the trail served as a vital transportation route for the Comstock Lode mining operations. The Comstock Lode was one of the richest silver and gold deposits in the United States, attracting thousands of miners and settlers to the area.

The Flume Trail was specifically built to transport lumber from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the mining towns of Virginia City and Gold Hill. Lumber was an essential resource for the mining industry, used for constructing mine shafts, buildings, and supporting the growing infrastructure. The trail’s construction involved the creation of a wooden flume, a long trough-like structure, which allowed for the efficient transportation of logs down the mountainside.

The flume itself was an engineering marvel of its time, stretching over 50 miles and utilizing gravity to move the logs downhill. The trail followed the path of the flume, providing access for workers to maintain and repair the wooden structure. The Flume Trail played a crucial role in sustaining the mining operations during the peak of the Comstock Lode’s production, which lasted from the mid-1860s to the early 1880s.

Today, the Flume Trail stands as a testament to the ingenuity and perseverance of the early settlers and miners in the Lake Tahoe region. While the mining industry has long since declined, the trail has been repurposed as a popular recreational destination, offering breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains. Its historical significance and natural beauty continue to attract hikers, mountain bikers, and outdoor enthusiasts, providing a unique connection to the area’s rich past.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Spooner Lake: This is the most popular access point for the Flume Trail. It offers ample parking and restroom facilities. From here, you can either hike or bike to the Flume Trail.

2. Tunnel Creek Café: Located on Highway 28, this access point offers parking and a café where you can grab a bite to eat before starting your adventure. It is a popular starting point for mountain bikers.

3. Marlette Lake Trailhead: This trailhead is located near the Marlette Lake campground. It offers parking and restroom facilities. From here, you can hike or bike to the Flume Trail.

4. Sand Harbor State Park: This access point is located on the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe. It offers parking, picnic areas, and a beautiful beach. You can hike or bike to the Flume Trail from here.

5. Incline Village: There are several access points in Incline Village, including the Ponderosa Ranch parking lot and the Incline Village Recreation Center. These access points offer parking and are convenient for those staying in Incline Village.

6. Spooner Summit: This access point is located at the top of Spooner Summit on Highway 50. It offers parking and restroom facilities. From here, you can hike or bike to the Flume Trail.

7. Tahoe Meadows: This access point is located on Mount Rose Highway (Highway 431). It offers parking and restroom facilities. From here, you can hike or bike to the Flume Trail.

These are some of the major access points or trailheads along the Flume Trail. There may be additional access points or trailheads depending on the specific route or variation of the trail you choose to take.

Transportation Available

1. Flume Trail Bikes – Bike rental and shuttle service for the Flume Trail.
2. Tahoe Bike Shuttle – Shuttle service for cyclists to access the Flume Trail.
3. Tahoe Treetop Adventure Park – Offers zipline tours and shuttle service to the Flume Trail.
4. Tahoe Adventure Company – Provides kayak and paddleboard rentals with shuttle service to the Flume Trail.
5. Tahoe Rim Trail Shuttle – Shuttle service for hikers and mountain bikers to access the Flume Trail.
6. Tahoe Brew Tours – Brewery tour company offering shuttle service to the Flume Trail.
7. Tahoe Sierra Transportation – Shuttle service for various outdoor activities, including the Flume Trail.
8. Tahoe City Kayak – Kayak rental and shuttle service to the Flume Trail.
9. Tahoe Mountain Guides – Guided mountain bike tours with shuttle service to the Flume Trail.
10. Tahoe Adventure Shuttle – Shuttle service for outdoor enthusiasts, including access to the Flume Trail.


The Flume Trail offers the following amenities:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available at the trailhead or nearby visitor centers.

2. Parking: There is designated parking available at the trailhead or nearby parking lots.

3. Camping Sites: The Flume Trail does not have designated camping sites. However, there may be nearby campgrounds or camping areas where visitors can stay overnight.

4. Picnic Areas: There are picnic areas available along the trail or at the trailhead. These areas provide a scenic spot for visitors to enjoy their meals or snacks.

5. Water Stations: There may be water stations or fountains available at the trailhead or along the trail for visitors to refill their water bottles.

6. Bike Rentals: Some areas near the Flume Trail offer bike rental services, allowing visitors to rent bicycles for their ride along the trail.

7. Guided Tours: Guided tours may be available for visitors who want to explore the Flume Trail with the assistance of a knowledgeable guide.

8. Information Centers: There may be information centers or visitor centers near the trailhead, providing maps, brochures, and other helpful resources for visitors.

It is recommended to check with the local authorities or visitor centers for the most up-to-date information on the amenities available at the Flume Trail.

Nearby Services

1. Lodging: Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino – Upscale lakeside resort offering luxurious accommodations.
2. Lodging: The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe – Elegant mountain resort with a spa and multiple dining options.
3. Lodging: Tahoe City Inn – Budget-friendly motel located in the heart of Tahoe City.
4. Food Services: Sunnyside Restaurant & Lodge – Lakefront eatery serving American cuisine with stunning views.
5. Food Services: Rosie’s Cafe – Casual diner offering classic American comfort food.
6. Food Services: West Shore Market & Deli – Deli and grocery store providing sandwiches, snacks, and essentials.
7. Emergency Services: Tahoe Forest Hospital – Local hospital providing emergency medical care.
8. Emergency Services: North Tahoe Fire Protection District – Fire department offering emergency response services in the area.

Flume Trail Difficulty Notes

The Flume Trail, located in Lake Tahoe, is renowned for its breathtaking views and challenging terrain, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. With its narrow paths, steep ascents, and technical sections, the trail poses a moderate to difficult level of difficulty. Hikers and mountain bikers must navigate rocky sections, tight switchbacks, and occasional exposure to heights, requiring a certain level of skill and endurance. However, the reward is well worth the effort, as the trail offers stunning vistas of the crystal-clear waters of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains, making it a thrilling and unforgettable adventure for those seeking a challenge.

Features And Attractions

The Flume Trail is a popular hiking and biking trail located in the Lake Tahoe area, specifically in the Tahoe Meadows, Nevada. Along the trail, you can find several scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and other points of interest. Here are some notable ones:

1. Marlette Lake: This beautiful alpine lake is located about 4 miles into the trail. It offers stunning views and is a great spot for a picnic or a quick swim.

2. Tunnel Creek: As you continue along the trail, you’ll pass through Tunnel Creek, which offers picturesque views of the surrounding mountains and forests.

3. Sand Harbor Overlook: This viewpoint provides breathtaking vistas of Lake Tahoe’s crystal-clear waters and the surrounding Sierra Nevada mountains.

4. Skunk Harbor: A short detour from the Flume Trail will take you to Skunk Harbor, a secluded and serene beach on the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe. It’s a great spot to relax and enjoy the beauty of the lake.

5. Flume Overlook: This viewpoint offers panoramic views of the Flume Trail itself, as well as the surrounding forests and mountains. It’s a great spot to take a break and soak in the scenery.

6. Spooner Lake: Towards the end of the Flume Trail, you’ll reach Spooner Lake, a peaceful and picturesque lake surrounded by pine trees. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy the tranquility of nature.

7. Historic Flume: Along the trail, you’ll come across sections of the historic wooden flume that was used to transport lumber from the mountains to the Carson City area in the late 1800s. These remnants provide a glimpse into the area’s rich history.

8. Wildlife: The Flume Trail is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, squirrels, chipmunks, and various bird species. Keep an eye out for these creatures as you explore the trail.

These are just a few of the many scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks you can encounter along the Flume Trail. The trail offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty of Lake Tahoe’s natural surroundings while also experiencing its rich history.

Usage Guidelines

– Dogs are not allowed on the Flume Trail.
– Bicycles are only allowed on the Flume Trail from November 1st to May 15th.
– Hiking and running are allowed year-round.
– Camping is not permitted along the Flume Trail.
– Fires are strictly prohibited.
– Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail.
– Stay on designated trails and do not venture off into restricted areas.
– Leave no trace: Pack out all trash and dispose of it properly.
– Respect wildlife and do not disturb or feed them.
– Be aware of and yield to other trail users, including hikers and runners.
– Follow any additional rules or guidelines posted at trailheads or along the trail.

Seasonal Information

The Flume Trail, located in Lake Tahoe, is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. The best times of the year to visit the Flume Trail are during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. During these months, the weather is generally pleasant, and the trail offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and the crystal-clear waters of Lake Tahoe.

In the spring, the Flume Trail comes alive with vibrant wildflowers and lush greenery. The temperatures are mild, making it an ideal time for hiking, mountain biking, or simply enjoying a leisurely stroll along the trail. The summer months are perfect for those seeking adventure and water activities. Visitors can cool off by taking a dip in the lake or rent a kayak or paddleboard to explore the pristine waters. The fall season brings stunning foliage, with the surrounding trees turning shades of red, orange, and gold. It is a picturesque time to visit the Flume Trail and capture some incredible photographs.

It is important to note that the Flume Trail has seasonal closures due to snowfall during the winter months. Typically, the trail is closed from November to April, depending on weather conditions. During this time, the area experiences heavy snowfall, making it unsafe for visitors. However, the closure period allows for the preservation of the trail and its surrounding ecosystem. It is advisable to check with local authorities or the Flume Trail website for the most up-to-date information on closures and trail conditions before planning your visit.


1. Wheelchair Accessibility: The Flume Trail offers limited wheelchair accessibility, with some sections of the trail being paved and relatively flat, allowing for easier navigation.
2. Accessible Parking: Designated accessible parking spaces are available near the trailhead, providing convenient access for individuals with disabilities.
3. Accessible Restrooms: Accessible restrooms are located near the trailhead, equipped with features such as grab bars and wider doorways to accommodate wheelchair users.
4. Trail Surface: The Flume Trail features a mix of surfaces, including paved sections, compacted gravel, and natural terrain, which may pose challenges for wheelchair users.
5. Trail Width: The trail varies in width, with some sections being wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs, while others may be narrower, requiring caution and maneuvering.
6. Steep Sections: Certain parts of the Flume Trail have steeper inclines, making them more challenging for wheelchair users, requiring assistance or alternative routes.
7. Scenic Overlooks: The trail offers several scenic overlooks along the way, providing beautiful views accessible to wheelchair users.
8. Benches and Rest Areas: Benches and rest areas are available at various points along the trail, offering opportunities for wheelchair users to take breaks and enjoy the surroundings.
9. Assistance Animals: Service animals are permitted on the Flume Trail, providing support and assistance to individuals with disabilities.
10. Informational Signage: The trail features informational signage with braille and large print options, ensuring accessibility for individuals with visual impairments.

Safety Information

1. Trail Difficulty: The Flume Trail is considered a moderately difficult trail with steep sections and narrow paths, requiring hikers to be in good physical condition.
2. Weather Awareness: Check the weather forecast before starting the trail and be prepared for sudden changes in weather conditions, including strong winds and rain.
3. Proper Footwear: Wear sturdy hiking boots or shoes with good traction to navigate the rocky and uneven terrain of the trail.
4. Hydration: Carry an adequate amount of water to stay hydrated throughout the trail, as there are limited water sources along the way.
5. Sun Protection: Apply sunscreen, wear a hat, and bring sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun’s rays, as the trail offers limited shade.
6. Wildlife Encounter: Be aware of the potential presence of wildlife, including bears and mountain lions, and know how to react if you encounter them.
7. Trail Etiquette: Yield to uphill hikers and mountain bikers, and be respectful of other trail users by keeping noise levels down and leaving no trace.
8. Navigation: Carry a map or use a GPS device to ensure you stay on the designated trail, as there are multiple intersecting paths in the area.
9. Emergency Preparedness: Bring a first aid kit, a whistle, and a fully charged cell phone in case of emergencies, and inform someone of your hiking plans.
10. Time Management: Start the trail early in the day to allow enough time for completion, as it can take several hours to complete the full Flume Trail loop.

Conservation Notes

The Flume Trail, located in the Lake Tahoe Basin of Nevada and California, holds a conservation status that is of significant importance. The trail is situated within the boundaries of the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park, which is managed by the Nevada Division of State Parks. As a result, the Flume Trail benefits from the conservation efforts and regulations implemented by the state park system.

The conservation status of the Flume Trail can be attributed to its location within an ecologically sensitive area. The trail traverses through diverse habitats, including dense forests, rocky slopes, and alpine meadows. These habitats provide crucial habitats for a variety of plant and animal species, some of which may be rare or endangered. The conservation status ensures that the natural ecosystems along the Flume Trail are protected from human disturbances and that the delicate balance of the local flora and fauna is maintained.

To preserve the conservation status of the Flume Trail, certain regulations and guidelines are in place. These include restrictions on camping, hunting, and off-road vehicle use, as well as the prohibition of removing or damaging any natural features or artifacts. Additionally, visitors are encouraged to practice Leave No Trace principles, such as packing out their trash and minimizing their impact on the environment. These measures aim to maintain the ecological integrity of the Flume Trail and ensure its sustainability for future generations to enjoy.

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