Fast, flowy, and fun, the Emigrant Trail is a great singletrack experience. The lion's share of the trail is non-technical, smooth, sweetness that twists and turns through the beautiful alpine forests and reaches its northern terminus at the Stampede Reservoir.
What Makes It Great
There is nothing extreme about the Emigrant Trail but what it does right, it does extremely well. The rolling singletrack is the prefect place to get your flow on. While there are no huge climbs or descents, the sustained quality of the trail means you can push as hard as you like -- or dial it back and enjoy a more casual tour. Meadows and forest alternate as you head north towards the end of the trail at Stampede Reservoir, a fine place to recharge and rally for the ride back.
At times, dirt roads will intersect the trail but the main path is well-signed. As an added bonus, this is often one of the first trails to thaw out after winter.
Who is Going to Love It
Given the non-technical nature of the Emigrant Trail, it's a fantastic place for beginners and intermediates thanks to it's longer length and non-intimidating lines. Experts will enjoy pushing themselves and maximizing their flow throughout the ride. If you happen to be riding with a mixed skill group, this is one trail that will make everyone happy.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
While there are several places to start the ride, a popular one is the Donner Pass Picnic Area. Take Interstate 80 to Highway 89 N, near town of Truckee. Take Highway 89 2.5 miles to picnic area (a sign is posted). Maps are available at the Truckee Ranger District office.