Sipping on adventure on the new North Tahoe Ale Trail

Mountain Biking North Tahoe Ale Trail
A mountain biker heads into Tunnel Creek Station, a famous stop now linked to outdoor adventures along the North Tahoe Ale Trail. Photo: Tyler Bourns for North Lake Tahoe
It's not called the North Tahoe Drunken Trail for no reason. That's according to Andy Chapman, president and CEO of the Incline Village Crystal Bay Visitors Bureau, who has helped establish the area's new North Tahoe Ale Trail.

The point is not to drive around to a bunch of tap houses and get hammered, but to explore North Lake Tahoe, California, by foot, bike or boat with a frosty-beverage destination as a reward for a day well spent — outside. More treat, less tour.

Paddleboarding North Tahoe Ale Trail
A standup paddleboarder navigates one of the routes identified on North Tahoe’s new ale-and-adventure trail map. Photo: Tyler Bourns for North Lake Tahoe
The North Tahoe Ale Trail map identifies 16 trails, routes and waterways designed for hiking, mountain biking, road biking and paddleboarding/kayaking, with 12 food and craft-brew stops along the way. Outdoor adventures range from a sampling of the world-renowned Flume Trail to a pleasant paddling route that takes you away from the crowds.

In the winter, the Ale Trail could translate to snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or just touring the famous shoreline of Lake Tahoe.

The fun, interactive trail map is designed to give outdoor enthusiasts more of what they already say they love: a day of adventure followed by a cold one among friends.

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"We wanted to really look at connecting the dots between our human-powered sports concept — that active outdoor lifestyle," Chapman says. "We started looking at trails and the natural 'watering holes' as the benefit at the end of the trail — a cold beer at a nice location."

Road Biking Borth Tahoe Ale Trail
Alibi Ale Works, a hot spot after road biking, is one of the hidden gems along the North Tahoe Ale Trail. Photo: Tyler Bourns for North Lake Tahoe
Kevin Drake, who owns Alibi Ale Works, one of the two official breweries on the map, says it's already helping both visitors (and locals) find more places like Alibi, a production facility/public tap house, that are off Tahoe's main highway.

"It's helping people discover some of the less-obvious places, like us. We're on a side street that no one is going to find unless they are storing a boat at our neighbor's house," Drake laughs.

Other Ale Trail establishments range from lakefront cafés to a saloon-style spots to a tapas joint, but all have a focus on craft drinks, from local beer to inventive cocktails to a signature rumrunner.

The North Tahoe Ale Trail identifies 16 trails, routes and waterways linked to 12 craft food and brew spots.
The North Tahoe Ale Trail identifies 16 trails, routes and waterways linked to 12 craft food and brew spots. Photo: Tyler Bourns for North Lake Tahoe
Chapman calls the map, available in digital form online or as a hard copy at visitor centers in Incline Village or Tahoe City, a "living document," meaning it will expand as more craft-beer-style watering holes open up. Drake admits Tahoe is a little behind the times and that a true brewery scene is still emerging.

Road Biking North Tahoe Ale Trail
Road-biking routes are shown on the North Tahoe Ale Trail, along with epic mountain bike rides, hiking spots and paddleboarding/kayaking destinations. Photo: Tyler Bourns for North Lake Tahoe
The North Tahoe Ale Trail map is also set up to assist visitors with gear. So if you fly in, choose a mountain bike ride and plan on lunching at Tunnel Creek Station, that café also conveniently rents bikes.

We'll drink to that.

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