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Benjamin Spillman Reno Gazette Journal USA TODAY NETWORK

If there’s a downside to Northern Nevada’s embarrassment- of-riches outdoors scene it’s too many choices and too little time.

That’s why it’s important to jump at any adventure that promises to pack a lot of variety into a single day.

Taking a mountain bike ride from Spooner Summit to Genoa via Sierra Canyon is just such an adventure.

It crams a demanding climb, stunning views of Lake Tahoe, about 4,000 feet of thrilling descent and a historic Nevada saloon into one ride, which we did on a recent Saturday.

The first order of business was leaving a vehicle in the tiny, historic town of Genoa on the west side of Carson Valley at the foot of Genoa Canyon.

We then loaded the bikes and gear into a second vehicle for the 25-mile drive to Spooner Summit on U.S. Highway 50. We parked at the Tahoe Rim Trail parking lot on the south side of the highway. The parking lot is usually busy on weekends so getting there early makes finding a spot easier. The lot also has restrooms and a trailhead sign with maps for the Tahoe Rim Trail.

From the parking lot the trail climbs immediately, ascending from about 7,150 feet elevation to 8,800 feet in the first five miles. There are a few short breaks from the uphill where riders can build speed on flat or slightly downhill terrain. Still, it’s a demanding ride and most riders will have to push their bikes for part of it, especially near the top.

But don’t get dismayed by the climb because once you reach the top you’re in for one of Nevada’s best mountain biking experiences.

The first highlight is a large, rock outcropping at the apex of your route that makes for a perfect place to enjoy the view of Lake Tahoe and take a recovery break.

From there the trail traverses the ridge for about a

See SUMMIT, Page 2D

Spooner Summit to Genoa via

Sierra Canyon makes for an incredible mountain biking adventure — plus, the oldest operating saloon in Nevada

Outdoors writer Benjamin Spillman descends Sierra Canyon near Genoa, Nev., on Sept. 22, 2018.

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