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.
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.
"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."
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.
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.
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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