National Forest Foundation

Big Chief Trail

Supported by REI

For millions of Californians and Nevadans, the Tahoe National Forest and Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit are their backyard playgrounds. Anchored by stunning Lake Tahoe, these forests are a year-round recreation destination, but also provide critical resources like fresh water and abundant wildlife.

One of the most popular trails in the area is the Tahoe Rim Trail, which traverses 165 miles of the forests, peaks and meadows that surround Lake Tahoe. While some trail users through-hike its entire length, most people enjoy day tripping or overnighting on the multi-use trail.

With support from REI, the National Forest Foundation and our partners improved access to the Tahoe Rim Trail and provided additional mountain biking, trail running and hiking opportunities on the Tahoe National Forest and Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (both managed by the U.S. Forest Service) by building a new 6.5-mile multi-use trail to connect the popular Sawtooth Trail to the Tahoe Rim Trail.

In addition to providing thrilling mountain biking, trail running and hiking opportunities, the project also addressed user-created trails that are negatively impacting water quality and wildlife habitat. The new trail, called the Big Chief Trail, is complete!


We are super pleased that the Big Chief trail is now complete and rideable. Trail riders are raving about the trail, the mountain-biking-specific features and the flow. More than 100 volunteers helped build this trail, which is sure to become a Tahoe-area classic.

Project Updates

The Big Chief Trail is complete! Get out and enjoy this newest addition to Tahoe-area trails.

Photos by Austin Price Photography