Autumn Colors in Page Meadows near Tahoe City
While the Sierra is not New England when it comes to fall colors, our aspen groves in the fall can be quite spectacular. One of my favorite places for beautiful trees is Page Meadows, right in Tahoe City’s backyard. (Some people spell it “Paige” incorrectly, according to the authoritative book Tahoe Place Names, by Barbara Lekisch.)
Page Meadows is surrounded by aspens bursting in yellow, gold, and red, and hikers get glimpses of Twin Peaks, Grouse Rock, Ward Peak, and Scott Peak in the distance, above the trees.
There are two basic ways to get to the area. The Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) goes right through one of the meadows, with a spur trail that will take you through the rest. The TRT can be accessed via the 64 Acres/Truckee River Access parking lot in Tahoe City. From the parking lot it is about 3 miles to the meadows, uphill through a forest of white fir, Jeffrey pines, and sugar pines.
You can also catch the TRT on Ward Creek Boulevard in Ward Canyon. Drive south on Highway 89 to just past Sunnyside; turn right on Pineland Drive; then veer left at the “Y” where it says Ward Valley. Follow the road about two miles to the Tahoe Rim Trail trailhead on the left. Take the TRT trail on your right and head north about 1.5 miles to Page Meadows.
The easiest walking route is from the top of Talmont Estates. Drive south on Highway 89 and turn right on Pine Street, which is two miles south of Tahoe City. Go to Tahoe Park Heights street. Drive west, uphill, all the way to the top and choose Big Pine, the middle of three roads. Turn left off Big Pine onto Silvertip and drive to the end of the road. Park. The trail is straight ahead. Walk or ride your bike about 1/2 mile on the main trail; then take a right onto a trail which leads to the first meadow.
Whichever way you get to Page Meadows, wander around and explore all of the meadows. Each has it’s own personality and views. In addition to the aspens, other leaf-bearing plants provide a show, and it is not uncommon to see hawks, golden eagles, coyote, or even a bear. Walks through the meadows can be done by just about anyone, including small children.
Not only is Page a great area for hiking, but in the fall the meadows and the trails surrounding them are perfect places for mountain biking. If the trails are wet, it is best if bikers stay out of the meadows to prevent damage to the fragile ecosystem.
If you don’t get around to hiking Page Meadows this fall, is also a popular destination for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter, especially on full moon nights.
For more hiking information, see timstahoeadventures.com.