Kingsbury South to Big Meadow
▲Passes highest peaks in Lake Tahoe Basin
▲ Star lake ▲ Trout fishing
Segment Description Between Kingsbury Grade South and Big Meadow, the trail follows the spine of the Carson Range from sun-drenched meadows to cool pine forests and windswept mountain passes. Starting at Kingsbury Grade the trail climbs through a dense forest of large red firs and white pines, majestic survivors of the Comstock logging era. Further south, open ridges and rocky outcrops showcase breathtaking views of the Carson Valley. Hemlock-ringed Star Lake offers inviting campsites and a nice fishing spot for brown trout. This secluded lake nestles at the feet of three of the highest mountain peaks in the Tahoe Basin, Freel Peak, Jobs Sister and Jobs Peak. The more rugged central portion of the segment weaves through monumental old growth junipers and across granite passes with stunning vistas of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra. From here the TRT descends gently south to the Big Meadow trailhead through forests and past small meadows dotted with flowers in the spring and summer and outlined with the golden shimmer of aspen leaves in the fall. Two mi before the end one can take a 0.6 mi shortcut to Grass Lake, an alternate trailhead.
Kingsbury Grade South: From Hwy 207 just W of summit, turn S onto Tramway Dr and follow signs for Heavenly Stagecoach parking lot. No facilities.
Big Meadow: On Hwy 89 5.3 mi S of junction with Hwy 50 in Meyers. Paved and horse trailer parking, vault toilets.
Alternate Access: Grass Lake, on Hwy 89 S of Big Meadow. Limited roadside parking
The trail from Kingsbury Grade south (7,520’) to Big Meadow (7,300’) maintains a 10% or less grade, however there are some steep rocky sections around Monument Pass. Much of this route is open, unshaded and above 9,000’ in elevation.
This section is open to hikers, bikers and equestrians.
Biking – Recommended for experienced riders only!
- Water – Star Lake (8 miles from Kingsbury Grade trailhead) is a permanent source of water. Additionally there are some seasonal water sources on or near the trail. All water found on the trail must be treated before drinking.
- Caution – Be prepared for sudden weather changes, strong winds, and high altitudes. Please carry a map, as many unmarked trails and fire roads cross the TRT.
- Signage - The trail is marked at intervals with light blue, triangular TRT logo signs
- Leave-No-Trace—The TRTA supports and encourages LNT practices while on the trail. (see map for details).
- Camping – is allowed within 300’ of the trail and 200’ away from a water source.
- Fire – Fire danger can be extreme, and fires, camp stoves, and smoking may be prohibited. Check trailhead kiosks or call the USFS (530-543-2600) for current regulations.
- Side Trip - from the TRT one can reach Freel Peak, which at 10,891’ is the tallest peak in the Basin and thus offers bragging rights and amazing views.