Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT): Mt. Rose Summit to Spooner Summit

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Mount Rose Wilderness

Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT): Mt. Rose Summit to Spooner Summit is a 25.4 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Reno, Nevada that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length25.4 miElevation gain2,929 ftRoute typePoint to point
Dogs on leashBackpackingCampingCross-country skiingFishingHikingHorseback ridingMountain bikingNature tripsRock climbingSnowshoeingBike touringBird watchingRunningBeachCaveForestLakeRiverViewsWaterfallwild-flowersWildlife
Description
Waypoints (0)

HIGHLIGHTS Christopher’s Loop (the most photographed section of the TRT) and Marlette Lake View. Between Tahoe Meadows (8740′) and Spooner Summit (7150′), the TRT roams high above sparkling Lake Tahoe and Marlette Lakes, through sun-warmed conifer stands, and across steep, flower-strewn slopes. This segment is celebrated for its magnificent views, stretching across Lake Tahoe and the high Sierra and past the jagged ranges of the Great Basin. The route is rich in historical reminders, skirting lakes and flumes built to supply water to distant miners on the Comstock. It traverses both dense forests that sprang up after clear-cutting a century ago, and ancient red fir stands spared the ax by their remoteness. Between the lush grasses of Tahoe Meadows and Twin Lakes, the trail winds through rolling, wooded terrain. Breaks in the trees showcase grand vistas of the Tahoe Basin and Washoe Valley. The steeper, often open interior of the segment travels through Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park including possible side trips to North Canyon Campground and Marlette Lake. A TRT spur leads to Christopher’s Loop and a glorious cliff perch that seems to float above Lake Tahoe’s translucent shallows and Sand Harbor at the trail’s most photographed spot. The trail segment reaches its highest point as it threads between the bare rock of Snow Valley Peak (9214′) and shimmering aspen groves that turn North Canyon to gold each fall. Near Spooner Summit, the trail slips back into the pines, but still offers occasional panoramic lake and valley views.

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Reviews (29)
Photos (1,036)
Recordings (24)
Completed (127)
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Brian Forman
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HikingGreat!

The trail was amazing. The Sand Harbor lookout was mind blowing. The first day was 15mi but not a ton of climbing so it made it reasonable. The Marlette Campground was great. The water pump worked well. Bathrooms too! The 2nd day to Spooner was a breeze compared to the first day. Gorgeous views of Marlette/Tahoe.

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scott ore
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Backpacking
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scott ore
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Backpacking
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Natalie Liabeuf
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Hiking

Great trail. We did 18 miles the first day (with detour) and 10 the following day. The detour? We had to trek down to Marlette lake for water. There were no streams or creeks- everything was dried up. I’d plan on heading straight to Marlette lake for a water source. The campground has no available water (despite the multiple that advertises it) - the pump is broken. Aside from Marlette Lake we found no reliable water sources we felt comfortable using. (Long day with only the water we brought in.) Great weather and friendly folks. Lots of mountain bikers on the first section - from Mt Rose to Tunnel Creek. After we finished at the lake and found a camp spot that evening, the following day was super quiet with just a few hikers.

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Xiaoming Zhang
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Hiking

It is not hard for me and my dog Mochi, she is small breed Shihtzu and she enjoys it. Lots dirt and she gets dirty easily. Many hiking trails along this road Mount Rose highway, and we will do one at a time.

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Karen Roth
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HikingGreat!

We decided to break this segment up due to work constraints. The first part was Mt Rose to Tunnel Creek. Great day hike with a nice finish. Total was 14 miles. The next week we hiked back up Tunnel creek, stopped by Monkey Rock for a photo sesh, then on to Marlette Peak campground. No running water (pump was out) so we filtered water at a creek about 1/2 mile away. Was perfect. Camp was great, then we hiked the rest of the trail to Spooner. Great views along the East Shore.

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George Velarde
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Backpacking

I am backpacking the TRT in sections and I planned to do Mt Rose Summit to Spooner (25 mi.) over the course of 2.5 days. I parked in the parking lot right at the summit and crossed the highway waking in on Mount Rose Summit Ski Rd (the road that leads to Mt Rose Campground); there is a trail head there. I couldn’t park at the Tahoe Meadows parking lot because the gate was locked. I began at 3:30 in the afternoon so that I would cover 8-9 miles and then set up camp for the night. I did it that way because camping inside Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park (between Tunnel Creek Road and Spooner Summit) is only allowed in designated campgrounds, and I didn’t want to hike 16 miles to get to Marlette Peak Campground. So at 8.7 miles I found a nice spot to set up for the night on the east side of the trail. The next morning my friend and I hiked about 8 miles to get to Marlette Campground (filling up our water at Twin Lakes). Make sure to take the Christopher Loop detour, even though you may be tired from just climbing 700’ it is worth the extra effort. It’s a great place to kick off your boots and have a snack. On the trail it is not called “Christopher’s Loop” the sign says “Sand Harbor Lookout.” When you get to Marlette peak you either go right or left. We opted for the easier route and turned left (the East face of Marlette Peak). Good thing we did other wise we would not have crossed a small stream flowing about a 1/4 mile just before the Campground since we did not know that the water pump had been broken for over a year. Some workers were actually trying to fix the pump the day we were there and said they replaced all the top components of the pump but were still unable to draw water. The problem they said was down at the bottom of the well and they were going to have to do some more research on how to fix it. All that to say, don’t count on water at the pump, hike back to that stream I mentioned. We arrived at the Campground at 1pm which was great because we were able to set up camp, ditch our gear and hike down to the lake for a swim. It was so refreshing and well worth the 1-mile, 500’ climb back up to camp. The morning of the third day we finished off the 9 miles of the trail by noon and went into Incline Village for a much craved, well deserved burger and a beer at Inclined Burgers. It was an amazing trip!

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Jacquelyn Britton
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HikingMuddySnow
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Madee Leombruno
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Amazing

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Paul Remmenga
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Backpacking
First to Review

This is a very large section of the Tahoe Rim Trail. I started off early in the morning and was finished just as the heat of the day was full on. Christopher's Loop is marked as "Sand Harbor Overlook" by signs on the trail. This whole section is very well marked on the trail as to just where the TRT is, sometimes determining it looking at various online maps makes it somewhat questionable. They've done a great job with this section!

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Brooke Gabster
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Hiking
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Dylan Jones
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Hiking
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Rachel Flynn
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Hiking
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Kyle Buckingham
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Cindy Smith-Derby
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Hiking
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Connie Mitchell
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Hiking
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Brooke Openshaw
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Hiking
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Steve Crowder
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Hiking
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Gavin Buck
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Maggie Nunez
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Hiking
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Janet McGrath
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Brittany Lathrop
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Robert Skog-Viking
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Hiking
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Drew Furgerson
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Hiking
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Kirsten Kroner
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Steve Finlay
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Hiking
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Ken Conway
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Dylan Jones
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Jesse Cassaboon
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Hiking
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