Who would’ve thought a packaged trail bar could evoke lush mountains, pearly lakes, and Arizona canyons, ripe with Saguaros? Tahoe Trail Bars bring the outdoors to you, even if you’re munching on them between classes or in an office building.

I first discovered Tahoe Trail Bars at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, stacked in a cubby of free snacks ranging from Rx Bars to dried mango leather. Their intense flavor was surprising, and it had all the force of a “power bar” without any of the plastic aftertaste – and it was vegan and gluten-free!

Since that windy afternoon in Menlo Park, I have been pounding these trail bars in Florida and bringing them with me on outdoor expeditions to Hawthorne Trail and Lake Wauberg. Although the “nature” in Florida is flatter compared to the ravines and rocks of California, a Tahoe Trail Bar tastes just as good in Alachua County as it does perched on the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean.

About The Bar

Mackenzie Patel

Tahoe Trail Bars were hatched on the shores of Lake Tahoe in 1955 and quickly became a favorite among the mountaineering, open-air locals. The natural ingredients (“chocolate peanut butter oat goodness”) fit in with the rugged landscape and were an easy solution to the problem of needing high-quality fuel during hikes. Tahoe Trail Bars have their own mythology and origin story, the Zeus of all of the granola and hiking bars!

Today, a variety of trail bars are offered: caramel chocolate chunk, peanut butter chocolate, mango coconut, and dark chocolate cherry. If you’ve got a sweet tooth and a guilty conscious, these bars satisfy one and placate the other – the perfect combination for any snack food.

Mackenzie Patel

My favorite is the peanut butter chocolate; the sticky grains are connected by rich chocolate and a nutty overtone, creating a healthy dessert in your mouth. Most granola bars are just filler food, the calories that connect meals without adding much value. Tahoe Trail Bars are the opposite of that; they are filling without being overwhelming, and the natural, plant-based ingredients (i.e. soy protein, oats, raisins, sunflower seeds) taste pure.

Tahoe Trail Bars are also environmentally conscious, and 1% of their revenue is donated to non-profit organizations that maintain and protect trails in the U.S. Their website said it most eloquently:

“We believe in the healing power of a trail and recognize the unique benefit that comes from disconnecting to get truly connected with the outdoors.”

Where to Buy Tahoe Trail Bars

Mackenzie Patel

Although I savored my first Tahoe Trail Bar in Palo Alto, they are also available for purchase on their website and Amazon. Their trial pack of Tahoe Trail Bars is AMAZING and free with the code TAHOESAMPLER. 12-packs of individual flavors are also available for $29.88 each, and coupons for returning customers are always popping up in my inbox.

If you live in Northern California (i.e. San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Sacramento), you can find their bars in-store at Whole Foods Markets, Raley’s, Bel Air & Nob Hill Grocery Stores, and Nugget Markets.

Hawthorne Trail

Mackenzie Patel

Since Tahoe Trail Bars scream outdoorsy and “one with nature,” I was inspired to explore the trails around Gainesville, Florida, which begin ten minutes from my apartment. The Hawthorne Trail is the most traversed trail in Gainesville, famous for being the old railroad line snaking throughout Alachua County. The iron has been replaced by pavement and the cargo by the streams of bikers, walkers, and roller-bladers that now populate the trail.

I accessed the trail from Depot Park, where the downtown connector trail turns into the Hawthorne Trail past Willison Road (which is terrifying to cross, so be careful!). From there, I was enveloped by the quietness of fields, forests, and small bogs crawling with algae. The trail presents a different side to the “Florida Man” lore – the trails are pensive, lush, and challenging compared to the flatness of Florida.

The amount of wildlife is also staggering; there are random turtle crossings, wild horses in La Chua trail, and armadillos skittering by the underbrush. It’s great for bikers like myself who are (slightly) terrified of cars and buses.

Mackenzie Patel

Another afternoon, I brought my friends onto the trail, and we explored Sweetwater Preserve in 40-degree weather (bonus: no mosquitoes). Eating Tahoe Trail Bars while overlooking alligator-ridden ponds and barbed-wire fields was satisfying and necessary – we had been walking for 2.5 hours, weary but happy.

Overall, Tahoe Trail Bars are a nourishing intersection of everything I love: California, the outdoors, chocolate, and local food communities. The visceral connection of ingredients to the ground that grows them and their commitment to trails makes Tahoe Trail Bars a flagship for anyone who respects nature. And good eating!