Chinese Downhill

October 23rd, 20091:41 pm by


Fast Facts

Mary Cook

Mary Cook

  • Pseudonym: Kingsbury Stinger
  • Length: 3.4 miles
  • Highlights: Shuttleable downhill trail
  • Technical: Intermediate-Advanced
  • Time: 30 min – 2 hours
  • Season: Spring – Fall
  • Tread: Singletrack

Getting There

From Stateline, ascend Kingsbury Grade (Route 207) until you intersect with North Benjamin Drive. Turn left onto North Benjamin Drive and continue on pavement, as North Benjamin turns into Andria Drive and finally, Genoa Peak Road. At the road’s end, look for Castle Rock Trailhead on your left, marked by a green entrance gate, and shortly after on the same side, the Tahoe Rim Trailhead. Park here, and take either trailhead (although the Tahoe Rim Trail is shorter, only 0.6 miles compared to 1.4 miles of Castle Rock) to link up with Chinese Downhill.

Another option is to tackle the steeply graded continuation of Genoa Peak Road, a doubletrack jeep road, for less than half a mile. Look for a connector trailhead on your left and benefit from dropping immediately into downhill terrain for 0.2 miles to a three-way junction with the Tahoe Rim Trail and Chinese Downhill.

Mary Cook

Mary Cook

0.6 Miles of Tahoe Rim Trail

This short section of the dusty Tahoe Rim Trail is mostly flat with moderate climbs and descents. Twist and turn your front wheel through tight granite rocks, which may get your sidewall in a pinch, until you reach a reprieve in technicality at the Tahoe Rim Trail’s junction with Chinese Downhill. Turn left for a much wider, smoother, and sandier singletrack.

Chinese Downhill

Chinese Downhill’s slang name originated some years back, when the trail dumped out at a Chinese restaurant close to the northeast corner of Route 50 and Kingsbury Grade. Since then, the Chinese restaurant shut down, while Thai and Mexican eateries took its place, but the name still holds.

Mary Cook

Mary Cook

For 2.5 miles, dirt bike-friendly Chinese Downhill’s wide, covered-in-fine-dust singletrack meanders over descending mounds of whoop-de-doos through open forest. About 1.2 miles in, a sandy, arduous climb awaits and kudos to those hammerhead mountain bikers who can grind in the correct gear and shift their weight accordingly, without loosing tire traction, to steadily grunt up to the climb’s pinnacle.

Mary Cook

Mary Cook

Thereafter, slip and slide your bike through some more – at sometimes very steep – sandy singletrack until you see an imminent meadow and a succession of log kickers at a fork in the trail. Take the less-traveled right split bordering a grassy, straw-colored meadow which bleeds out onto neighborhood Chimney Rock Road.

Follow the paved road down and to the right to connect back up with the trail. Crunch your tires over pine needles, dodge pinecones, and somehow manage to stay upright in the silt, for 0.9 miles, on this mellow bottom half of Chinese Downhill.

The trail navigates through connecting elementary school outdoor basketball courts, with a gnarly, launching kicker positioned just as the blacktop kisses dirt again. Cruise a narrow straightaway through yet another meadow, duck into more pines, and suffer one last rocky section, before emptying onto a parking lot opposite Thai Delight and Cilantro Mexican Cantina.

Mary Cook

Mary Cook

While Chinese Downhill is notorious for its loose Tahoe sand, autumn rain has the restorative ability to transform sand into dirt. For a packed-down rendition of Chinese Downhill, ride this trail during or slightly after a downpour.