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Lake Tahoe Trails

Angora Lakes

Hiking distance: 1.5 miles round trip
Hiking time: 1 hour
Elevation gain: 250 feet
Summary of hike: A visit to the Angora Lakes is an easy, enjoyable trip. The short hike leads to Lower and Upper Angora Lakes. It is a great place to lay on the beach, swim, fish, rent a boat, slip lemonade and eat.
Driving directions: From the Y-junction of Highway 50 and Highway 89, drive 3.1 miles west on Highway 89 (Emerald Bay Road) to Fallen Leaf Road on the left (south)—turn left. From the west, drive 0.8 miles east of the Baldwin Beach turnoff to Fallen Leaf Road on the right. Continue 2 miles to Tahoe Mountain Road and turn left. Drive 0.4 miles to the first road on the right-Angora Ridge Road #1214-turn right. This partially paved road follows the ridge 2.9 miles to the trailhead parking lot at the end of the road.

Brockway to Mount Rose

Hiking distance: 4 miles round trip
Summary of hike: This moderate hike, generally forested, has panoramic views from a vista spur trail one mile east of the summit and from Martis Peak.
Driving directions: Trailhead is located 200 feet east of Highway 267, accessed via a dirt road and parking pull-off a half-mile south of the summit, across from Brockway summit access.

Cascade Falls

Hiking distance: 1.5 miles round trip
Hiking time: 1 hour
Elevation gain: 100 feet
Summary of hike: Cascade Falls tumble 200 feet down smooth granite rock into Cascade Lake. The hike to Cascade Falls follows a hillside ridge 350 feet above Cascade Lake, a glacially carved lake surrounded by forest.
Driving directions: From Y-junction of Highway 50 and Highway 89, drive 7.6 miles northwest on Highway 89 to Bayview Campground on the left. Turn left and continue a short distance to the trailhead parking lot at the end of the road.

Chimney Beach/Hidden Beach via South Flume Trail

Hiking distance: 14 miles round trip
Elevation gain: 1,500 feet
Summary of hike: This difficult hike, travels from beach to mountains and back to beach. Following Marlette Creek, climb to the outlet dam at Marlette Lake. From this point follow the old Flume Trail for five miles north until it reaches the junction with Tunnel Creek Road. While on the Flume Trail watch out for mountain bikes. Square head nails may also be found on this trail, which were used to construct the original flume in the 1870s. Once at Tunnel Creek Road, descend the road to Hidden Beach.
Driving directions: Begin at the paved parking area 2.6 miles south of Sand Harbor. This hike requires two cars, one at the beginning and one parked at the end in the scenic pullout just north of Sand Harbor.

Diamond Peak to Snowflake Lodge

Hiking distance: 2.6 miles round trip
Hiking time: 2 hours including sightseeing
Elevation gain: 700 feet
Summary of hike: If you are looking for a short, refreshing hike to one of the Lake Tahoe's best picnic sites, look no further.
Driving directions: Park at the Diamond Peak base lodge and follow the dirt and stone covered road alongside the Lodgepole Quad Chair and around the Crystal Quad base loading area.

Donner Memorial State Park, Donner Lakeshore Trail & Donner Creek Nature Trail

Hiking distance: 4.4 mile and 0.6 mile round trips
Hiking time: 2 hours and half an hour
Elevation gain: level hiking
Summary of hike: The Donner Lakeshore Trail parallels the shoreline of 3-mile-long Donner Lake. The hike includes sandy beaches with interpretive display panels with information about the area's history, geography, and ecology. The Donner Creek Nature Trail is a short loop trail along Donner Creek that starts at the Emigrant Trail Museum.
Driving directions: From the intersection of Highway 89 and Interstate I-80, drive 0.8 miles west on I-80 to Donner State Park/Donner Lake exit. Turn left, crossing over I-80, and continue along the frontage road 0.5 miles to the state park entrance and turn left.

Emerald Bay, Vikingsholm, and Eagle Falls

Hiking distance: 2.5 miles round trip
Hiking time: 1.5 hours
Summary of hike: This hike leads down to Vikingsholm, a Scandinavian style mansion completed in 1929 that resembles an 11th century Viking castle. It is a popular trail that passes numerous water cascades to the shores of Lake Tahoe's spectacular, glacier-carved Emerald Bay.
Driving directions: From the Y-junction of highways 50 and 89, drive 8.7 miles northwest on Highway 89 to the large Vikingsholm parking lot.

Fallen Leaf Lake - Moraine Trail

Hiking distance: 2.5 miles round trip
Hiking time: 1.5 hours
Elevation gain: level
Summary of hike: Picturesque Fallen Leaf Lake, measuring three miles long, is the second largest alpine lake in the Tahoe Basin. The Moraine Trail crosses the Fallen Leaf Lake dam and parallels the west shore to Sawmill Cove.
Driving directions: From the Y-junction of Highway 50 and Highway 89, drive 3.1 miles west on Highway 89, the Emerald Bay Road, to Fallen Leaf Road on the left (south) — turn left. From the west, Fallen Leaf Road is on the right, 0.8 miles east of Baldwin Beach turnoff. Drive 0.7 miles to the fallen Leaf Campground on the right.

Five Lakes Trail

Hiking distance: 4.5 miles round trip
Hiking time: 3 hours
Elevation gain: 980 feet
Summary of hike: The Five Lakes Trail climbs along a ridge overlooking a rocky canyon into the Granite Chief Wilderness with spectacular granite formations and sheer cliffs. The hike up to the lakes is the best part of the trip. All five tree-lined lakes are small yet beautiful.
Driving directions: From the intersection of Highway 89 and Highway 28, drive 3.8 miles northwest on Highway 89 to Alpine Meadows Road and turn left. From the intersection of Highway 89 and Interstate I-80, drive 9.9 miles south on Highway 89 to Alpine Meadows Road. Continue on Alpine Meadows Road 2.1 miles to the trailhead parking pullouts along the road.

Hidden Beach to Twin Lakes

Hiking distance: 15 miles round trip
Elevation gain: 1,500 feet
Summary of hike: Follow the same directions as Chimney Beach/Hidden Beach via South Flume Trail hike, but continue on along the clearly marked road one additional mile to the Twin Lakes.

Lower and Upper Echo Lakes

Hiking distance: 2.7 miles one way with boat shuttle return, 5.4 miles round-trip hike
Hiking time: 2 hours with boat shuttle and 3.5 hours without
Elevation gain: 100 feet
Summary of hike: This a near-level hike along the north shore of two beautiful alpine lakes. The hike overlooks the lakes the entire trip. The boat shuttle passes close to the island of Upper Echo Lake. After 5 p.m. there is no shuttle service.
Driving directions: From the Y-junction of Highway 50 and Highway 89 in South Lake Tahoe, drive 9.8 miles south on Highway 50 to the Echo Lake/Sno-Park turnoff on the right-turn right. Continue 0.6 miles to Echo Lakes Road-turn left. Drive 0.9 miles to the parking lot overlooking Lower Echo Lake.

 

Marlette Lake

Hiking distance: 12 miles round trip
Summary of hike: This is a beautiful hike at any time of the year, but the abundance of Aspen trees along its path makes it especially beautiful in the fall. Once you arrive at Marlette Lake, which is a manmade lake, you can see both Marlette and Lake Tahoe at the same time. It is a medium to difficult hike up North Canyon, but follows a wide, sandy path and is easy to find.
Driving directions: The trailhead is at the Spooner Lake parking lot just north of the junction of Highway 28 and Highway 50 on the East Shore. A day use fee is charged at the campground.

Nevada Shoreline

Hiking distance: 4 miles round trip
Elevation gain: 300 feet
Summary of hike: This is an easy hike that leads to several secluded beaches along Lake Tahoe's east shore. The trail drops to the beach and follows the shoreline, passing Chimney Beach, Secret Harbor and Whale Beach. The trail eventually connects to a service road which can be followed back to the parking area.
Driving directions: Begin at the paved parking lot on Highway 28, 2.9 miles south of Sand Harbor.

Pacific Crest Trail, Donner Summit to Squaw Valley

Hiking distance: 15 miles
Hiking time: It's a long way, but well worth the effort.
Summary of hike: Some of the most spectacular views around Tahoe can be seen from this trail, but make sure you're a hardy hiker before you try it. The windswept ridges of the Sierra crest will take you from Donner Summit's Old Highway 40 to Squaw Valley by way of Anderson Peak and Tinker Knob.
Driving directions: You will need two cars to hike this trail; leave one at Squaw Valley and drive the other to the Pacific Crest Trail. That trailhead can be found left of Old Highway 40 after driving 4 miles west from the west end of Donner Lake.

Relay Peak

Hiking Distance: 11 miles round trip
Hiking Time: 5-6 hours
Elevation Gain: 1,575 feet
Summary of hike: Standing on the 10,338-foot summit of Relay Peak provides bragging rights for the highest point along the entire 176-mile Tahoe Rim Trail, as well as fine views of Lake Tahoe and the Truckee-Donner area. Be alert for mountain bikers on the Relay Ridge Service Road (they are forbidden on the single-track section of trail from Relay Ridge to Relay Peak). 
Driving directions: Head southwest from Reno on the Mt. Rose Highway, cross the highway summit and continue 0.4 mile to the start of the Relay Peak Service Road. Park on the highway shoulder as space allows. The service road begins near a concrete block building.

Rubicon Trail

Hiking distance: 6 miles round trip
Hiking time: 3.5 hours
Summary of hike: The Rubicon Trail parallels and overlooks Lake Tahoe along the west side cliffs through D.L. Bliss State Park. The hike begins along the cliffs at Rubicon Point and eventually loops around Emerald Point at the mount of Emerald Bay.
Driving directions: From the Y-junction of Highway 50 and Highway 89, drive 10.8 miles northwest on Highway 89 to the D.L. Bliss State Park turnoff on the right. Continue 2.4 miles, following the "Beach" signs on Lester Beach Road to the parking lot at the end of the road.

Slaughter House Canyon Trail

Hiking distance: 3 miles round trip
Summary of hike: This trail has two equally beautiful destinations: a classic Sierra meadow, or one of Tahoe's most secluded beaches.
Driving directions: The trailhead for this hike is located 2¼ miles north of the Highway 50/28 junction. Look for a green gate on the west (lake) side of the road. Follow this road down to a fork at about 1 mile. The left fork will continue to Prey Meadows while the right fork continues on to skunk Harbor on the Lake's shore.

Snow Valley Peak

Hiking distance: 12.5 miles round trip
Hiking Time: 6-7 hours
Elevation gain: 2,450 feet
Summary of hike: Hike a mostly forested section of the Tahoe Rim Trail from Spooner Summit to the summit of Snow Valley Peak, where you'll be treated to a fine view of Marlette Lake and the Lake Tahoe basin. Bring plenty of water, as by mid-season the entire route is dry.
Driving directions: The well-marked trailhead is near Spooner Summit on Highway 50, 0.75 mile east of the junction with Highway 28.

South Camp Peak

Hiking distance: 10.5 miles round trip
Hiking Time: 5-6 hours
Elevation gain: 1,875 feet
Summary of hike: A seldom-used section of the Tahoe Rim Trail heads south from Spooner Summit, quickly gaining the Carson Range crest. Along the way are views to the east of Eagle Valley and west of Lake Tahoe, culminating in a supreme view of the entire Tahoe basin from broad-topped South Camp Peak. Pack plenty of water as none is available en route.
Driving directions: Follow Highway 50 west from Carson City to the Spooner Summit picnic area on the south side of the highway, 3/4 mile east of the junction with Highway 28

Spooner Lake to Marlette Lake

Hiking distance: 6 miles round trip
Summary of hike: This is a scenic moderate hike up the North Canyon Road to beautiful Marlette Lake. This road is popular with mountain bikers and equestrians. Thick stands of quaking Aspen trees make this hike very scenic during the fall. For the first five miles the road climbs gently, then steeply to a low summit. From here, the trail drops down to the east shore of Marlette Lake. This lake serves as a fish hatchery for the State of Nevada. This lake also supplies drinking water for Carson City and Virginia City.
Driving directions: Park at the Spooner Lake parking lot, fee required. Begin the hike along the road heading north.

Spooner Lake

Hiking distance: 2.1 miles round trip
Hiking time: 1 hour
Elevation gain: near level
Summary of hike: Spooner Lake is located on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe at 7,000 feet. This trail circles Spooner Lake's 1.6-mile perimeter, weaving in and out of an aspen and pine forest. These meadows are home to osprey, killdeer, and bald eagles. The hike includes several bridge crossings, a dam, and an outdoor interpretive exhibit.
Driving directions: from the junction of Highway 50 and Highway 28 on the east side of Lake Tahoe, drive 0.6 miles north on Highway 28 to the Spooner Lake State Park entrance.

Squaw Creek

Hiking distance: 2.5 miles round trip
Hiking time: 1.5 hours
Elevation gain: 400 feet
Summary of hike: This short but exciting hike follows Squaw Creek along an endless variety of waterfalls, cascades, swimming pools, and grottos. To the west of the creek are forested trails and steep mountain cliffs.
Driving directions: From the intersection of Highway 89 and Highway 28, drive 5.1 miles northwest on Highway 89 to Squaw Valley Road and turn left. From the intersection of Highway 89 and Interstate I-80, drive 8.6 miles south on Highway 89 to Squaw Valley Road. Continue 2.2 miles on Squaw Valley Road to the Squaw Valley ski Complex. The road curves left into the parking lot. At the first road on the right—Squaw Peak Way—turn right. The road curves right and passes condominiums to a parking lot at the end. Park here.

Summit Lake

Hiking distance: 4.5 miles round trip
Hiking time: 3 hours
Elevation gain: 350 feet
Summary of hike: Summit Lake sits at 7,400 feet and is surrounded by forest. Along the way the trail curves through a meadow, climbs along a glaciated granite ridge, crosses streams, and passes through tunnels under I-80.
Driving directions: From the intersection of Highway 89 and Interstate 80, drive 8.5 miles west on I-80 to the Castle Peak exit. Turn left and drive 0.2 miles to the frontage road south of I-80. Turn left and drive 0.4 miles to the trailhead parking lot at the end of the road.

Tahoe Meadows

Hiking distance: 1.3 miles round trip
Hiking time: 1 hour
Elevation gain: near level
Summary of hike: Tahoe Meadows is a high elevation meadow (8,870 feet) covered in wildflowers and marbled with numerous tributaries. The meadow is bordered by a lodgepole pine forest and rolling hills while Mount Rose towers above in the east.
Driving directions: Highway 431 (Mount Rose Highway) to the trailhead parking lot. There is additional parking below in the lot by the rock building.

Tahoe Rim Trail

Hiking distance: 150 miles total
Summary of hike: Come hike, bike, and horseback ride on the spectacular Tahoe Rim Trail as it follows the ridges and mountain tops that circle Lake Tahoe. Winding for 150 miles through national forest, wilderness, and state park lands, the trail crosses thick conifer forests and wildflower-filled meadows, meanders alongside aspen-bordered creeks, and skirts the shores of crystalline lakes. Along the route, dense woods part to reveal tantalizing glimpses of sparkling water framed between the branches of ancient firs. Limitless vistas sweep around the horizon from atop high granite peaks. The TRT was built to accommodate hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians, and to showcase breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe, California's High Sierra, and the Great Basin of western Nevada. For more information: www.tahoerimtrail.org
Driving directions: Going toward Truckee on Highway 89, turn right after the Shell Station on Fairway Drive. The trailhead is just opposite the Fairway Community Center.

Tahoe Rim Trail/Brockway to Mt. Rose

Hiking distance: 8 miles round trip
Summary of hike: Begins at 7,200 feet. Generally forested, it has panoramic views form vista spur trail 1 mile east of the summit and from Martis Peak.
Driving directions: The trailhead (east) access is 200 feet east of Highway 267, accessed via dirt road and parking pull-off 0.5 mile south of the summit, across from Brockway summit (west) access.

Tahoe Rim Trail/Spooner Summit

Hiking distance: 13 miles round trip
Summary of hike: This moderate hike is part of the Tahoe Rim Trail. This section, departing north from Spooner Summit, offers a moderate climb and beautiful views of Lake Tahoe. For the more adventurous, one can walk the full 13 miles, past Snow Valley Peak high above Marlette Lake. To get great views, leave the trail to climb any of the many rocky outcrops easily seen from the trail. To the west, Lake Tahoe offers beautiful views; to the east, the high desert of western Nevada. An alternative hike that makes a nice loop is to proceed four miles on the Rim Trail.
Driving directions: Park at the dirt pullout on the north side of Highway 50 at the summit. The trail switchbacks above Spooner Lake.

Tamarack, Ralston, and Cagwin Lakes

Hiking distance: 3.5 miles with boat shuttle both ways, 9 miles round trip without boat shuttle
Hiking time: 3 hours with boat shuttle and 5 hours without
Elevation gain: 450 feet
Summary of hike: This hike leads to three distinctly different lakes in the scenic Desolation Wilderness. Tamarack Lake is a deep lake with a beautiful tree-covered island. Ralston Lake sits in a bowl with the steep walls of Ralston Peak rising more than 1,400 feet from its shore. Cagwin Lake is a small, quiet lake surrounded by forest. A boat shuttle takes you from Lower Echo Lake to the west end of Upper Echo Lake to begin the hike.
Driving directions: Follow the same directions as Lower and Upper Echo Lakes hike.

Upper Eagle Falls and Eagle Lake

Hiking distance: 2 miles round trip
Hiking time: 1.5 hours
Elevation gain: 500 feet
Summary of hike: The trail to the lake crosses and parallels the cascading waters and pools of Eagle Creek. The hike includes a bridge crossing of Eagle Creek at Upper Eagle Falls. Eagle Lake is in the Desolation Wilderness. Be sure to fill out a wilderness permit at the trailhead.
Driving directions: From the Y-junction of Highway 50 and Highway 89, drive 8.6 miles northwest on Highway 89 to Emerald Bay Picnic Area on the left. Additional parking is available at the Vikingsholm parking lot.