The majority of the trail is a narrow 2' wide path with up to a 10% grade, although there are some steeper and rockier sections, especially near Mt. Watson.
Forest Service roads intersect the trail at several points, but primary access is from the trailheads at Tahoe City and Brockway Summit.
The route is marked by light-blue triangular Tahoe Rim Trail signs at major intersections with roads and other trails.
Between Tahoe City and Brockway Summit, the trail offers fine views of the Truckee River Canyon. Vistas of Lake Tahoe from this section of the trail are sporadic, but spectacular.
Thirteen and a half miles east of Tahoe City lies Watson Lake, a pleasant spot for fishing, picnicking, and camping. The lake's outlet, Watson Creek, is thickly fringed with wildflowers in the spring and summer.