Cabin Creek Loop


Difficulty 3 Intermediate
Length 4.4 miles round trip
6250 feet
+800, -800 round trip
Navigation Road, marked trail and map
Time Half day
Season Late December through early April
Snowmobiles Low
USGS Topo 7.5' series, Truckee
Start Near the sanitary land fill that is located on Cabin Creek Road. From Interstate 80 drive 3.2 miles south on Highway 89 toward Tahoe City. Turn northwest onto Cabin Creek Road and drive 1.0 mile to the trailhead on the west (left) side of Cabin Creek Road where a snow-covered road is located. The trailhead is marked with a Forest Service ski touring sign.You have gone 0.2 mile past the trailhead if you reach the dump.


The Cabin Creek Loop is a short tour with a little bit of everything including fine views from breaks in the woods. Most of the tour is on snow-covered roads although there is one cross-country section. The whole route, including the cross-country section, was remarked in 1987 by volunteers; that's so long ago that you should expect them to be in poor repair.

The loop is described in a counter-clockwise direction. However, you can change the descent on the narrow road paralleling the creek (mileage point 10 to point 11) into an uphill climb by skiing the loop in the reverse direction. You may find this alternative preferable if you do not trust your control on a narrow road or when snow conditions are poor.

Be aware that Coldstream Adventures runs snowmobile tours in the Cabin Creek area so you may find the loop tracked. However, the number of snowmobiles you will encounter is not great according to a local who skis there many mornings each week.

Mileage Log
Numbers in parentheses
correspond to mileage points on map

Miles: 0.0 - 0.2
Elevation change: +100 feet

From the trailhead (1) ski west on the snow-covered road for 0.2 mile until you reach a road junction (2) where the loop begins and ends.

Miles: 0.2 - 0.6
Elevation change: Nil

Turn north (right) and ski on the road for 0.4 mile until you reach a fork in the road (3). The sanitary land fill is visible nearby to the east (right).

Miles: 0.6 - 1.2
Elevation change: +100 feet

Continue north on the west (left) fork for 0.6 mile until you reach a road junction (4).

Miles: 1.2 - 1.3
Elevation change: +50 feet

Make a sharp turn to the west (left) and ski on the road for 0.1 mile until you reach another road junction (5).

Miles: 1.3 - 1.6
Elevation change: +150 feet

Turn onto the south (left) fork and ski 0.3 mile until you reach a sharp turn (6) to the northwest (right).

Miles: 1.6 - 2.1
Elevation change: +200 feet

Ski northwest on the road for 0.5 mile until you reach a sweeping turn (7) to the south (left). You can get good views toward Truckee by skiing off the road to the northeast just before you reach the turn.

Miles: 2.1 - 2.3
Elevation change: +100 feet

Ski south on the road for 0.2 mile until you reach a turn (8) to the southwest. Up to this point you have been climbing steadily, but just ahead the road crests and begins to descend.

Miles: 2.3 - 2.8
Elevation change: +50, -150 feet

Ski southwest on the road for 0.5 mile until you reach an arrow (9) on the south (left) side of the road indicating that the marked trail leaves the road. As you start to descend you can see Anderson Peak straight ahead.

The tour leaves the road at this point, however, an alternative is to continue down the road for 0.3 mile to the road's lowest point, then leave the road, and ski southeast down the drainage until you reach the narrow road described below.

Miles: 2.8 - 3.1
Elevation change: -150 feet

Leave the road on the marked trail and descend south into the drainage for 0.3 mile until you reach an old, narrow roadbed (10). Early and late in the season this road is marginal for skiing because it is rock-covered.

Miles: 3.1 - 3.9
Elevation change: -400 feet

Descend southeast on the narrow road along the northeast side of the creek for 0.8 mile until you reach a larger road (11). An alternative to skiing on the northeast side of the creek is to cross to the southwest side of the creek and descend along that side.

Miles: 3.9 - 4.2
Elevation change: +50 feet

Turn north (left) onto the larger road and ski 0.3 mile until you reach the first road junction (2) in the tour.

Miles: 4.2 - 4.4
Elevation change: -100 feet

Turn east (right) and ski 0.2 mile back to the trailhead (1).

Elevation Profile
Elevation profile
Link to elevation profile
Link to waypoint data
Link to full page map
Link to see and submit reviews and corrections about tour