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Sure, we love our snow here at Lake Tahoe, but once April comes around it is also nice to have the opportunity to have your feet take a stroll on the actual earth. Tahoe City Public Utility District has solved that problem by carrying out a herculean effort to open up the bike trails around the north shore. Now you can walk from Sunnyside Lodge to Tahoe City, from Tahoe City to Dollar Hill, and most recently from Tahoe City along the raging Truckee River to Squaw Valley.
That last segment to Squaw Valley took a lot of effort to clear. A snow blower as wide as the trail removed up to eight feet of snow. I walked along the river today and was quite appreciative of their efforts. The snow along the sides was still very high, on others it had melted down to bare earth. It’s an opportunity to be reminded about the importance of orientation towards the sun and shade in figuring out how quickly the snow will melt. Spring is coming, but it has a ways to go.
This past week the Truckee River Watermaster has been releasing around 1100 cubic feet per second (cfs) from the dam in Tahoe City. That’s a lot of water flowing into the river, but since the lake is just a foot below the legal maximum and a ton of snow still sits in the hills there is a possible chance for overflow on to the trails.
A few caveats if you head out in the next few weeks – In some places the trail may be narrower than usual because of the high snow banks on both sides. On a cold morning, be careful and be sure to bring a jacket. Snow melts onto the trail during the day, and then can freeze at night. So expect a wet trail during the day and an icy one early in the morning. And before you go, check how much water is being released into the river at https://waterdata.usgs.gov/ca/nwis/uv/?site_no=10337500. If it’s any more than 1300 cfs there’s a chance your feet and knees may get wet.