Lakes Basin - Cycling

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This challenging 45 mile ride takes you through the scenic countryside of the Lakes Basin area.

Written by

Jill Sanford


45.0 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

52.1 miles


5 of 5 diamonds

Multiple steep climbs make this 45 minute ride a tough one. Keep an eye out for trucks trailing boats or RVs on these country highways.

Time To Complete

3 hours

An average cyclist pedaling at 15 miles an hour would finish this route in about 3 hours. The steep climbs will call for a little more time than average for most athletes.


Spring, Summer, and Fall

This area is snowy in the winter, cycling here is best during the summer months.

Dog Friendly


Fees Permits




The Lakes Basin area offers all the stunning beauty of the Sierra that is found in nearby Lake Tahoe with comparatively mild crowds. The Gold Lake loop is great for a serious and well conditioned cyclist since it climbs about 7,000 feet over the course of 45 miles.

What Makes It Great

This ride features stunning vistas of the Sierra Buttes and substantial uphill climbs. It’s worth getting off the beaten track and exploring new terrain for the peaceful, lesser known country roads and million dollar views. 

While you can start your ride anywhere on the loop, a great place to begin is Bassetts off Highway 49. Be prepared to climb, either direction on the loop will take you uphill right away on. Head east towards Sattley and gain 1000 feet in elevation in the first 7 miles before descending to the junction with Highway 89 and turning north. 

The next section of the road features another climb before you descend into Graeagle. This is the lowest point on your route, so if you want to pedal into town for some refreshments now is your chance. From there, turn right onto Gold Lakes Highway. 

The final leg features the steepest uphill yet and a false summit, but you will be rewarded throughout your climb with a view of the Buttes directly in front of you. Get into the rhythm of your climb and crest the final hill and coast back downhill to your parking spot. 

Who is Going to Love It

Peak condition athletes will love this ride because of the challenge. There isn’t just one climb and then an easy descent. The rolling hills test your endurance but will leave you pumped full of endorphins and with a giant appreciation for the beauty and challenge of the Sierra. 

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

From the Truckee/Tahoe area, take Highway 89 north to Sierraville. Turn left onto Highway 49 and take this road all the way to Bassetts. Look for the parking area at the corner of Highway 49 and Gold Lakes Road. The lot has bathrooms, some public parking and a nearby general store for refreshments. 

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