Stanford Rock is a Tahoe Classic mountain bike ride. People have been cranking their way up this long continuous climb since the first mountain bike came out, only to skid down a rubbly, stair-steppy descent. Why?
Used to be because it was there. Now we're older, it's because it's super beautiful terrain, tucked beneath Twin Peaks, along a creek at times, and surrounded by wildflowers. A 5" travel bike is certainly called for at least for a halfway pleasant ride down, and don't bring a beginner. Even intermediate riders will have to walk most of the way down. An expert cross country rider can clear the descent without dabbing, no freeride skills required.
Bring a spare tube and bug spray. There are some sharp rocks used in the water diversion on the Rim Trail that take finess to ride over without flatting.
The Stanford Rock Loop isn't real long. You can start on the bike path just south of a small bridge, where the old Blackbear Tavern property is (no sign anymore). Or ride (drive?) up Ward Canyon Road to an unsigned trail crossing Ward Creek (not the rim trail, but south of it by a mile).
At the top of the climb you descend a little and turn right at a wooden post marked Tahoe Rim Trail. If you have time, park your bike here and walk up to Twin Peaks and the Pacific Crest Trail (another half hour).
I like to include a Paige Meadows ride in the Stanford Rock Loop. This evens out the day with some more moderate terrain and faster riding. Start in Tahoe City, ride up the Granlibakken fire-road, go through Paige Meadows to meet Ward Canyon Road, turn left and ride down the road a mile to start the Loop, and come back all the way to TC on the Rim Trail.
The climb offers no views until you're at the top, and isn't a great descent, so this is not a crowded trail. On saturday in the summer however you'll find lots of hikers on the Rim Trail descent. If you're not ready to tackle the ride yet, you might ride up the rim trail descent from
Ward Canyon Road until you hit the rocky stairs, stash the bike, and walk up for awhile to see the flowers.
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