Luther Pass


Luther Pass is a nice climb south of the busy resort town of South Lake Tahoe. This is a monumentally wide road with a huge shoulder, that is not destroyed by rumble strips, just like in the days when bicycling on US highways was not dangerous at all - before the invention of rumble strips. There are also one or two fair views along the way on the western side.

1.(6260ft,mile00.0) START-END EAST: South Lake Tahoe lakefront
2.(6350ft,mile06.7) Pioneer Trail merges from west
3.(6360ft,mile07.5) jct with Ca50: Lincoln Highway; profile stays left on US89
4.(7790ft,mile16.1) TOP: highest point on road, just west of jct with dirt road; official elevation of pass is 7740ft
5.(7080ft,mile18.7) route turns left down, when joining Ca88, joining Carson Pass Highway
6.(4780ft,mile32.0) START-END WEST: jct Ca88 - Ca206

Approaches

From East. Leaving South Lake Tahoe on busy US50, the road barely gains elevation, even though it feels like it must be climbing, since you are riding away from a lake, ringed by mountains. Much of the traffic disappears when this route turns left onto Ca89. There is either a wide shoulder without rumble strips, and also a bike path next to the golf course on this lower part. Soon there seems to be a crease in the road, as the grade abruptly increases.

A special spot along the road is the Big Meadows Trailhead, where you can cut off part of the big monster road with a short section of narrow paved road that turns and twists with the landscape. A few more hundred feet of climbing on good shoulder and the summit is reached. There is no view to speak of. The official summit sign is reached after following along a large summit meadow. This explains the long flat area on the summit in the elevation profile.

From West. (described downwards) But as you roll down the other side, a nice view of the main range in the Sierra Nevada appears to the west, somewhat obscured by trees. On a bicycle you have time to stop and admire it. All the cars seem to stop just after that, at the jct between Ca89 and Ca88, just when they realized they missed something.

The profile turns left and the bike rolls at full speed down Ca88 to Woodfords. The placename Sorensens on the map is just a resort hotel. Even after entering Carson Valley, the bike keeps on rolling for some distance north, as the road descends the huge alluvial fan at the mouth of the canyon.


Sierra Nevada Range from east side of Luther Pass

Dayride:

COMPLETELY PAVED:

(  <Edwards Creek(sh) | Tahoe Rim Trail: section Armstrong Pass - Daggett Pass > )
Luther Pass , Daggett Pass , additional out and back :
Big Meadows Trailhead on Ca89 > Ca89 south > Luther Pass > Ca88 east > Sorensens > Woodford > Foothill Rd(NV206) north > up Kingsbury Grade > Daggett Pass <> out and back on several roads north from summit into ski area > serveral slow miles of sight seeing in South Lake Tahoe > US50 west > Ca89 south <> out and back on Grass Lake Rd > back to starting point: 62.0miles with 5190ft of climbing in 5:24hrs (VDO MC1.0 r2:13.6.26)

 
all the way at the bottom, approaching Minden, after riding over Luther Pass



 


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