Van Sickle Bi-State Park - Hiking

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About

Summary

The Van Sickle Bi-State Park opened in 2011 to the excitement of both hikers and mountain bikers. It's trail is a perfect day hike for people of all abilities

Written by

Aaron Hussmann

Distance

5.0 miles

The Van Sickle Connector Trail is five miles, but you can hike in 1.7 miles to a beautiful waterfall and still have a great hike. After the five miles, the trail connects with the Tahoe Rim Trail, which leaves you with plenty of opportunity to lengthen your hike.

Destination Distance From Downtown

11.0 miles

Difficulty

2 of 5 diamonds

The hikes in this park can be adjusted to fit all skill levels from the beginner to the more experienced.

Time To Complete

3 hours

Depending on how far along the Van Sickle Connector Trail you decide to go, time for your adventure will vary.

Seasonality

Summer

Early summer is a great time to experience amazing color along the hike.

Dog Friendly

No

Fees Permits

No

Review

Intro

Straddling both the California and Nevada state lines, Van Sickle Bi-State Park on Lake Tahoe’s South Shore opened in 2011 to the excitement of both hikers and mountain bikers. As South Lake Tahoe gains popularity as a mecca of outdoor recreation, rather than just as a gambling getaway, Van Sickle Bi-State Park’s close proximity to the casinos allows both locals and visitors recreational opportunities within a short five-minute stroll from the highway.

What Makes It Great

The Van Sickle connector trail is a perfect day hike for people of all abilities, as well as a technical singletrack mountain bike ride for more advanced riders. The newly constructed trail meanders through the recovering burn scar of the 2002 Gondola Fire, with stunning verdant growth in the early summer months. The lack of tree cover also means plenty of gorgeous views of Lake Tahoe as the trail climbs the hillside.

 For those still adjusting to Lake Tahoe’s 6,200-foot altitude, a pleasant waterfall with views of Tahoe is a short 1.3 miles and 600 feet of elevation gain from the trailhead. The waterfall is a great hike on its own, or a lovely spot to rest before continuing up the mountainside, eventually moving into a shaded forest of Sugar Pine, Fir, and Jeffrey Pine.

 After another 3.7 miles with more than 1,300 feet in elevation gain, a worthwhile view awaits at 7,777 feet (Tahoe’s gambling history still pervades). This vista is also the junction of the trail with the 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail. If you are feeling extra ambitious, continue up to the 10,067-foot summit of Monument Peak via the Rim Trail and a network of service roads on Heavenly Mountain Resort.

Who is Going to Love It

Hikers, picnickers, and mountain bikers can all enjoy Van Sickle Bi-State Park. Hikers seeking a quick adventure and rewarding view can trek 1.3 miles up to the waterfall vista, while those looking for more of a challenge can follow the trail another 3.7 miles to its junction with the Tahoe Rim Trail. 

The California side of the park has picnic tables, restrooms, and historical/interpretive signage. Mountain bikers will love the technical singletrack, but should be aware of the heavy foot traffic along the trail.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

To get to the Van Sickle Bi-State Park entrance from South Lake Tahoe, drive east on Highway 50 toward the Stateline area. Turn right on Park Avenue and continue until the road meets the entrance of the park.

Van Sickle Bi-State Park is open from dawn until dusk during the summer months and there are no entrance or parking fees.

Because this trail sees many users, including occasional equestrians, all users should yield to horses, bikers should yield to hikers and runners, and downhill traffic should always yield to uphill traffic.

Location

Van Sickle Bi-State Park

38.954594, -119.940234

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