National Forest Foundation

Teaming up to Build a Trail on the Tahoe National Forest

Treasured Landscapes


The National Forest Foundation is excited to announce the launch of the Big Chief Trail project near Truckee, California! With support from REI, and in partnership with the Truckee Trails Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service, this new seven mile trail will be built in 2018 with the help of a dedicated field crew and volunteers. Big Chief will connect the popular Sawtooth Loop Trail near Truckee with the Tahoe Rim Trail that encircles Lake Tahoe. Optimized for mountain biking but open to multiple use, the trail will offer exciting new recreational opportunities to the region.  

The Tahoe-Truckee area is increasingly known for mountain biking, and the Forest Service designed the trail in particular to challenge and thrill riders, while also providing trail running, hiking, and equestrian opportunities. Running along the Sawtooth Ridge, the Trail will offer stunning views of surrounding mountains, valleys, and forests of the Tahoe-Truckee area. 

With such stunning scenery and close proximity to Truckee, the area is popular for local users but has lacked a sustainability designed trail. As a result, user-created trails have impacted sensitive bird habitat and increased erosion. The construction and use of Big Chief Trail will curb erosion and preserve wildlife habitat. 

Volunteers and trail crews broke ground on the project in May 2018.

Along with the newly completed Alder Creek Trail reconstruction, also near Truckee, the Big Chief project shows how partners can pool resources to meet the demand for new, high-quality and sustainably-designed trails. Recreation is a key economic backbone for Truckee and other Lake Tahoe communities, and partnerships are critical to helping the Forest Service meet this demand.

Local groups including the Truckee Trails Foundation brought this opportunity to the attention of the Tahoe National Forest’s Truckee Ranger District. REI is providing major funding, and the National Forest Foundation is providing additional funding and support. Thanks to this partnership, Big Chief will be the first new trail in two decades on the District. The Forest Service is planning additional projects to benefit equestrians and hikers in the area.

We have three upcoming Volunteer Days to help build the trail! Volunteers will help shape trail features and form the trail corridor. Follow these links to sign up or learn more:

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