5 miles
224 ft
-981 ft
Avg time
Trail Supporters, Builders & Maintainers of Big Chief (Lower Section) Trail


  • Activities
    • Mountain Bike
    • Hike
    • Trail Running
    • Horse
  • Riding Area
    Truckee, California
  • Difficulty Rating
  • Voted Difficulty
    Black Diamond (1 vote)
  • Hiking SAC Scale
    T1 Hiking
  • Trail Type
  • Bike Type
    AM, XC
  • Trail Usage
    Biking Primary
  • Direction
    Both Directions
  • Climb Difficulty
    Black Diamond
  • Physical Rating
  • Trail Visibility
    Always easy to follow
  • Dogs Allowed
  • eBike Allowed
  • TTFs on Trail
    Berm, Drop, Jump, Gap Jump, Log Ride, Rock Face
  • Global Ranking
    #9131 in Mountain Biking
  • Local Popularity
    100 in Mountain Biking [+]
    • 65 in Trail Running
    • 5 in Hiking
    • 5 in Horseback

The Truckee Trails Foundation worked with the USFS and Northstar California on a 7-mile non-motorized trail connecting the southern tip of the Sawtooth Trail up to Watson Lake and the Tahoe Rim Trail. Construction was completed in fall of 2018. A huge thanks to the National Forest Foundation and REI for making this possible

Local Trail Association
More Stats for Big Chief Trail (Lower Section) mountain bike trail
  • Altitude change
    -757 ft
  • Altitude min
    6,352 ft
  • Altitude max
    7,138 ft
  • Altitude start
    7,109 ft
  • Altitude end
    6,352 ft
  • Grade
  • Grade max
  • Grade min
  • Distance climb
    4,557 ft
  • Distance down
    4 miles
  • Distance flat
    2,651 ft
  • Avg time
  • Avg reverse time
  • view trail stats
on Jul 21, 2020
Avg: 4 (19 votes)

view (732)
Trail Conditions
  • Unknown
  • Snow Groomed
  • Snow Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • Ideal
  • Dry
  • Very Dry
Trail Ridden Direction
Trailforks scans users ridelogs to determine the most popular direction each trail is ridden. A good flowing trail network will have most trails flowing in a single direction according to their intension.
The colour categories are based on what percentage of riders are riding a trail in its intended direction.
  • > 96%
  • > 90%
  • > 80%
  • > 70%
  • > 50%
  • < 50%
Trail Last Ridden
Trailforks scans ridelogs to determine the last time a trail was ridden.
  • < 2 days
  • < 1 week
  • < 2 weeks
  • < 1 month
  • < 6 months
  • > 6 months
Trail Ridden Direction
The intended direction a trail should be ridden.
  • Downhill Only
  • Downhill Primary
  • Both Directions
  • Uphill Primary
  • Uphill Only
  • One Direction
Colors indicate trail is missing specified detail.
  • Description
  • Photos
  • Description & Photos
  • Videos
Trail Popularity ?
Trailforks scans ridelogs to determine which trails are ridden the most in the last 9 months. Trails are compared with nearby trails in the same city region with a possible 25 colour shades. Think of this as a heatmap, more rides = more kinetic energy = warmer colors.
  • most popular
  • popular
  • less popular
  • not popular
Max Vehicle Width

Trail Difficulties
  • Access Road/Trail
  • White
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Black
  • Double Black Diamond

Trail Report Status
  • Clear / Green
  • Minor Issue / Yellow
  • Significant Issue / Amber
  • Closed

  • Land Owner Overlay
  • Wilderness (typically no bikes in USA)
  • BLM (public)
  • USFS (Wildlife sanctuaries darker than usfs)
  • State land
  • Indigenous
  • Military
Trail Conditions
  • Unknown
  • Snow Groomed
  • Snow Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • Ideal
  • Dry
  • Very Dry
  • Map Markers
  • trail Trail Head
  • photo Photo
  • place Directory Listing
  • region Riding Area
  • Parking Parking
  • Viewpoint Viewpoint
  • Information Information
  • Warning Warning
  • Directions Directions
  • Sight Sight
  • Restrooms Restrooms
  • eBike Charging Point eBike Charging Point
  • Water Fountain/Source Water Fountain/Source
  • Gate Gate
  • Trail Sign Trail Sign
  • Table or Bench Table or Bench
  • Ladder Ladder
  • Stairs Stairs
  • Bridge Bridge
  • Camping Camping
  • Cabin Cabin
  • Lodge Lodge
  • Bear Cache Bear Cache
  • Dock Dock
  • Ranger Station Ranger Station
  • Summit Summit
  • Other Other
      Directions to big-chief-trail-lower-section trailhead (39.235010, -120.170040)
      update trails status or condition

      Big Chief Trail... Trail Reports

      Jul 21, 2020 @ 3:00pm
      Jul 21, 2020
      Great conditions...but watch the drops!
      Jun 25, 2020 @ 1:38pm
      Jun 25, 2020
      May 27, 2020 @ 7:45pm
      May 27, 2020
      Snow free and running great. Go get it!
      May 15, 2020 @ 9:39pm
      May 15, 2020
      More snow than dirt still. I stopped and hiked back out.
      May 15, 2020 @ 10:24am
      May 15, 2020
      Mostly perfect. Scattered patches of snow. (top section of big chief is ideal, and perfect)
      view all reports »

      Recent Ridelog Activity on Trail

      Past Week
      • 25 rides
      • 16 miles avg distance
      6 Months
      • 320 rides
      • 17 miles avg distance
      • 59 rides


      more »
      11 |
      Jul 27, 2020 @ 4:49pm
      Jul 27, 2020
      16 |
      Jul 24, 2020 @ 7:48am
      Jul 24, 2020
      71 |
      Jun 29, 2020 @ 2:46pm
      Jun 29, 2020
      63 |
      May 29, 2020 @ 7:25pm
      May 29, 2020

      Routes with this trail

      Dieter And Dave's
      15 miles
      Sawtooth, Upper & Lower Big Chief
      24 miles
      Dave And Dieter's Long Ride
      28 miles

      19 Reviews & Comments

      • + 4
      flag traildweller (Aug 19, 2018 at 14:42)
       Just rode it yesterday. Started at the Sawtooth parking area and rode up as far as Robie Equestrian Park. Then back down. WOW! Great features for testing your trials skills, fun to ride downhill, great berms and a wild log skinny to try out. In some ways better than Corral Trail. Only downside I see is that climbing it may be a bit hazardous should you encounter shredders coming down from above. Might be better to ascend on the 06 log road, then ride down.
      • + 2
      flag tylerc8899 (Aug 19, 2018 at 16:37)
       Looks incredible so far. The berms are so fun and smooth. Great work on a great trail. It should probably be a "downhill only" trail with uphill traffic staying on the road to make it the most fun for people coming down (and safer too)
      • + 3
      flag Mockg (Aug 31, 2018 at 20:53)
       While normally I'm all about uphill riders getting the right-of-way, this trail would be an exception for me. The downhill gets going quick and there are many technical features to focus on. You're better off riding up the road to Robie Park instead, but if you do decide climb this singletrack be on the lookout for those descending.
      • + 0
      flag almostcool231 (Sep 8, 2018 at 15:08)
       Man great trail, killer job building it. Lots of fun terrain with awesome features such as log rides some decent size drops and jumps. However its just not steep enough going downhill. Really makes it tough to ride on larger travel bikes. Still in search of true downhill in the area thats not tyrolean or dirty harry.
      • + 1
      flag gasman1 (Sep 17, 2018 at 16:03)
       huge Thank You to the people involved with building this trail. Some serious work and thought going into this trail. Will be a classic soon I reckon! (more flow for the newer top half please.....)
      • + 1
      flag gasman1 (Sep 19, 2018 at 0:34)
       People are going to hit each other if we climb the first section, which can be blisteringly fast coming down those berms.
      If your going uphill you'd better be aware of what's coming!
      • + 0
      flag anomandaris (Sep 19, 2018 at 7:34)
       Really fun trail. Truckee trails has really done a great job with this addition. Trail Forks should reverse the direction though. It is a cross country trail but best ridden south - north with access by climbing the 06 road (for now). Some fun "kinda techy" spots but all do-able for any intermediate rider. Great addition to the Truckee area and looking forward to the completion of it.
      • + 2
      flag Zeigler (Sep 24, 2018 at 23:18)
       Killer feature packed trail. Definitely should be done as a DH. There are some really unique and great features to the finished part of this trail. We attempted the entire trail but quickly found out that the upper portion of it still has quite a bit of work left until it is finished. We walked our bikes quite a ways until we said f*ck it and hiked them back down to sawtooth road. Where the trail intersects sawtooth road and continues down to sawtooth trail is finished, rideable and doooooope. Lots of jumps, berms, rock rolls, chunk gardens and even a tree ride. They have done a really good job so far on this trail and im looking forward to seeing the finished product next year. Would suggest doing a two car shuttle option from sawtooth lot or from where the trail meets with sawtooth trail. You should DH it from where Big Chief intersects sawtooth road. If you want to get your exercise in then just ride up sawtooth road. It pretty much parallels sawtooth rd the whole length of the trail.
      • + 0
      flag fancyshoes (Oct 14, 2018 at 22:54)
       Absolutely fantastic! Sooo much fun! I didn’t see the long log skinny though... gonna have to ride it again and look for it i guess! There are great feature options for all levels, you can choose to take on more gnarly stuff or not. Just a heads up, this is not a trail for those who want to have a relaxing ride. There are some flowy bits but there’s some rocky technical stuff too. This trail does not quit from the top all the way to the bottom.
      • + 0
      flag MisterDirtPaws (Oct 20, 2018 at 22:10)
       TTF and USFS did am amazing job on this trail. It’s a great out and back, or epic ride from Tahoe all the way to Truckee.
      Not sure why so many don’t think this isn’t a great climb. It’s a great climb and you get to check out all the features on the way up. No need to drive to ride your bike downhill. Kinda sad that I’ve seen lots of rad outdoor women climbing this with huge smiles on their faces, but lots of shredder bros seem to think it’s too hard and have to shuttle.
      • + 1
      flag TREdwards (Nov 20, 2018 at 8:51)
       This trail should definitely by one way! Pretty dangerous to ride up as people are ripping down features and around the turns. I strongly recommend taking the fire road to the south trail head.
      • + 0
      flag mekent (Jun 21, 2019 at 10:44)
       Completely open with the exception of 2-3 fallen trees and one small snow patch.
      • + 2
      flag cjdaking1969 (Jul 8, 2019 at 8:13)
       This is in great shape as of 4th of July weekend. Definitely take the 06 fire road up the hill, as it's safer, especially on Upper Big Chief
      • + 1
      flag DrHog (Jul 10, 2019 at 12:36)
       Really enjoyed it! There is a really cool section across a rough rockfall area where the trailbuilders painstakingly laid a granite slab path through the rubble--tons of work/skill and I've never seen anything like it. Lots of medium sized up & over granite boulders that were fun, and a good sized steep granite slab. Great berms on the end of the trail. Overall, trail definitely not sanitized, but still has good rhythm.
      • + 0
      flag Collidan (Jul 23, 2019 at 19:19)
       First of all......rocks. Lots and lots of rocks. Not recommended for hard tails unless you enjoy slowly selecting your line and proceeding with caution. Great trail and the berms/jumps/rock rolls all were very well thought out and built. Great piece of trail to really sharpen your skills on. Ride the fire road since climbing is just ridiculous with the amount of rock gardens towards the top half of the trail.
      • + 1
      flag whoisadam (Aug 14, 2019 at 15:35)
       I like the upper section more, lower section has some really great parts to it but as a whole I found it a bit too pedally and just lots of loose rocks to pedal through. I smiled a bit but also got bored at times. Worth a go, a lot of effort was put into this trail. We did it as a shuttle. If I had to pedal up the road and come down all sections I probably would have not thought it was worth it.
      • + 0
      flag leviprice (Aug 26, 2019 at 6:52)
       My stoke after this trail is way too high. Sooooooo good
      • + 0
      flag Crenshawwhitley (May 4, 2020 at 21:03)
       Still snow covered about ½ up
      • + 0
      flag tahoe-mic (Jul 3, 2020 at 10:13)
       Disappointing experience. While it’s obvious lots of great work has gone into building this trail it felt like a pain. A sense of lack of flow, a dastardly amount of rickety rocks Just didn’t provide the joy I was hoping for. Once committed, I recommend sticking to other it as road 6 is even worse... Wink

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