Back to index Marlette Lake & Flume Hike
Trip Date:  06/04/2014

: 14.0 Miles

Vertical Gain: 1800'

Group Size: 6

Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate    Hard    Strenuous
MarletteLake & Flume Trail Route
Download GPX GPX for this trip
Marlette Lake & Flume Trail Elevation Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 39 06.360  W 119 54.947     End Coordinates:   N 39 14.099  W 119 55.816
Car Shuttle Req'd:   Yes Parking Directions:   Park one vehicle on the west side of Highway 28 (Tahoe Blvd) just across from the intersection with Tunnel Creek Road.  The Tunnel Creek Cafe is directly
across the street from this location, and offers car shuttles for those
wanting to make this a one-way trek from Spooner Lake.
The trailhead is south on Highway 28 at the Spooner Lake recreation area.  There is currently a $10 fee to park for the day ($8 for Nevada residents.)
Hazards of Note:   Steep dropoffs
Long sections with little shade
Significant early elevation gain
Crowd Factor:   Busy, especially on weekends.  This is a very popular mountain biking trail.
General Notes:
From the parking at Spooner Lake follow the trail to the north which is marked as the Marlette Flume trail.  Within the first half mile you will come to a point where you can either head up the dirt road with the mountain bikers, or you can hike along a pathway just for hikers and equestrians.  The first five miles are a gradual climb from about 7000 feet to a little over 8100 feet, which gets you to the south shore of Marlette Lake.  
Continue around the west side of the lake until you get to the area that was dammed up in the 1850s to create the lake in the first place, and then find the sign that starts the official Flume Trail.  The next 4 and a half miles are along the old Marlette flume trail, and the views of Lake Tahoe and the mountains beyond are outstanding.  Some of the best I have seen.
Just before you reach the junction with Tunnel Creek Road, where the trail starts to drop significantly,
you will reach a multiple trail junction.  From here you can continue on the Flume trail, head up toward the Tahoe Rim Trail or off toward Twin Lakes.  Keep going straight on your path to the right to finish the Flume section and start on the Tunnel Creek Rd section.   This starts a steep downhill which continues like this for the next three miles.  At the end of the road is the Tunnel Creek Cafe and Highway 28, which is where you will finish the trip.

Our group at Spooner Lake parking lot ready to head on out. Ready to head out
Our grup at one of the new signs along the first half of the hike giving all sorts of good information. New signs
Snow Valley Peak served as a guide for much of the first few miles of the hike. Snow Valley Peak
Early along the way is an old home from the gold rush days (Spencer house) which has been converted to a winter warming hut. Checking out the Spencer warming hut
Lots of Aspen and lots of wildflowers along the way as well. Wildflowers amongst the Aspen
Marlette Lake was created back in the middle 1800s by gold seekers when they dammed up Marlette Creek in this high basin area.   Marlette Lake
Department of wildlife and game was busy helping the lake trout to spawn as the water levels were too low for them to go upriver and take care of things on their own. Fish spawning     Great fishing
Nothing but the chimney left from an old homestead on a lake peninsula. Remains
Heading toward the Marlette Lake dam and the start of the Marlette Flume trail section. Heading toward Marlette Dam
Perhaps not the most comfort-inducing welcome sign ever. That's welcoming...
Right from about the very start of the Flume Trail, the views are outstanding. The views
Members of our hiking group stopping to check out the sights from high above. Our group enjoying the sights
Heading toward the Marlette Lake dam and the start of the Marlette Flume trail section. Some of the rebuilt flume from the 1960s
Nice look at the Thunderbird Lodge and Bay lighthouse. Thunderbird Lodge
Kayakers enjoying the clear waters off of Sand Harbor. Kayakers at Sand Harbor
Heading toward the Marlette Lake dam and the start of the Marlette Flume trail section. Castle and Basin Peaks in the distance
How I often look while hiking. Me hiking
Heading toward the Marlette Lake dam and the start of the Marlette Flume trail section. One more view of the lake
GPX images of the hike. GPS track of hike       GPS track of hike