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Hiking

Hiking

EAST SHORE

Marlette Lake 

Moderate  |  9 miles RT  |  Dogs OK

Walk along the dirt path through the picnic area and follow signs to Marlette Lake. Mostly sun exposed. Great wildflowers in early summer. Trailhead at Spooner Lake State Park, 12.7 miles south of Incline Village on Hwy. 28.

 

Secret Harbor & Chimney Beach 

Easy  |  3 miles RT  |  Dogs OK

Follow the trail to Chimney Beach trail and follow the trail to the end and over a group of boulders to reach the sandy beaches of Secret Harbor (the wooden steps off the trail lead to the nude beach at Secret Cove). West end of picnic area across from Emerald Bay, Hwy. 28, 5.91 miles south of Incline Village.

 

Skunk Harbor 

Moderate  |  2.8 miles RT  |  Dogs OK

This interesting hike ends at a beautiful cove lined with boulders and a luxurious sandy beach on the edge of Lake Tahoe with some of the warmest waters around the lake. Visitors can look inside the historic party house owned by George and Caroline Newhall in the 1920s along beach. The family lived on the West Shore, but built the pavilion for parties and would frequently travel by boat across the lake to the secluded spot. Georgia Whittell bought it in 1937 to use as a guest house for his estate, Thunderbird Lodge.

Heavy sun exposure in the afternoon. Follow the trail to the cove; junction on left after three-tenths of a mile leads to Slaughterhouse Canyon. 11.4 miles south of InclineVillage on Hwy. 28, gated road below crest of hill on lake side. Park north of gate; do not block gate.

 

Spooner Lake 

Easy  |  1.8-mile loop  |  Dogs on leash only

Spooner Lake is a great, easy hike for any season from summer to spring to fall with interpretive displays. 12.7 miles south of InclineVillage, Hwy. 28 at SpoonerLakeState Park. Parking fee.

 

North Shore

Picnic Rock  

Moderate  |  3.6 miles RT  |  Dogs OK

This aptly named hike is the perfect way to combine a picnic lunch or dinner with a little exercise and a lot of fresh air. Just off the Tahoe Rim Trail, the expansive view from the top provides a panorama of both Lake Tahoe and the Martis Valley. A single track winds up, offering a gradual climb with no technical challenges, until reaching Picnic Rock, an old volcanic rock. Hwy. 267 north of KingsBeach for 3.8 miles below Brockway Summit and park in left side of the road. Follow Tahoe Rim Trail 1.6 miles, turn left at unmarked junction.

 

Stateline Lookout  

Easy  |  .5 miles RT  |  Dogs OK

This short hike offers superb views of Lake Tahoe. A short, self-guided nature trail explains the history of the North Shore. Take Hwy. 28 to Crystal Bay and turn left on Reservoir Drive, just past the Tahoe Biltmore Casino. Turn right on Lakeview Avenue, then park before the gate (do not block gate or driveways).

 

South Shore

Lower and Upper Echo Lakes

Easy  |  2.4-4.8 miles RT  |  Dogs OK

Lower and Upper Echo Lakes is a little-known paradise perched atop Echo Summit, 5 miles west of Meyers on Hwy. 50. The trail along the edge of these pristine lakes offers hikers spectacular views of the surrounding ecosystems that turn from large granite cliffs covered in thick Manzanita to lush conifer forests sprinkled in alpine wildflowers.

Take Hwy. 89 through South Lake Tahoe until it becomes Highway 50 (about 30 miles from TahoeCity). Continue about 5 miles west of Meyers and turn left on Echo Lakes Road to the upper parking lot. The trailhead begins at water’s edge next to the dam.

Once you reach Upper Echo Lake, 2.4 miles from the start, you’ll see a kiosk at a dock for a taxi. You can take a taxi back or return the way you came, or continue into Desolation Wilderness. The ride is a relaxing 20-minute tour through the channels connecting the two lakes. Parking fee. Trail opens in June.

 

West Shore

Cascade Lake  

Moderate  |  1.4 miles RT  |  Dogs OK

This boulder-strewn hike takes hikers to the waterfall descending from Desolation Wilderness into Cascade Lake. The falls are raging in the spring and are often a trickle by late summer. Since the trail is exposed to the sun throughout the day, save this hike for the morning or early evening. This will be a workout for your knees. Near the end of the trail, walk up a large, flat boulder to the top of a hill where the trail can become confusing. Look for wooden posts marking the trail. Trailhead at end of Bayview Campground off Hwy. 89, 21.5 miles south of TahoeCity. Not recommended for small children or small dogs.

 

Eagle Rock  

Moderate  |  1 mile RT  |  Dogs not recommended

6.5 miles south of TahoeCity on Hwy. 89. Dirt area for parking on west side of road. Quick hike to the top of a volcanic outcropping offers panoramic views of the area.

 

Eagle Falls & Lake  

Moderate  |  3 miles RT  |  Dogs OK

Great views of Lake Tahoe & EmeraldBay. Falls 5-minute walk from parking lot. Steady ascent to Eagle Lake. West end of picnic area across from Emerald Bay, Hwy. 89, 18.2 miles south of Tahoe City. TART

 

Emerald Bay & Vikingsholm Castle

Moderate  |  2.5 miles+ RT  |  No dogs

Steep descent to VikingsholmCastle. Can continue to Eagle & Emerald Points around the bay for easy hikes. Connects to Rubicon Trail (see below). Park on either side of rocky overlook in EmeraldBay on Hwy. 89, 18.2 miles south of TahoeCity. TART

 

Granite Lake  

Moderate  |  2.2 miles RT  |  Dogs OK

A small alpine lake situated on the cusp of Desolation Wilderness, the hike is a popular entrance for hikers and equestrians to the back country and a spectacular trek towering over the pristine waters of EmeraldBay. Steady ascent of 850’ in less than 1 mile. Trailhead at end of Bayview Campground off Hwy. 89, 21.5 miles south of TahoeCity.

 

Page Meadows  

Easy to moderate  |  4-6 miles RT  |  Dogs OK

The hike to Page Meadows is a local favorite because of its easy access and beautiful scenery through forests to an expanse of several meadows. You can start the hike to Page Meadows from 64 Acres along the Tahoe Rim Trail. Starting from the 64 Acres parking lot, just south of the TahoeCity wye on Hwy. 89, follow the road along the TruckeeRiver. The paved section turns to a dirt road and after passing the second gate and crossing a small creek, you’ll see the familiar Tahoe Rim Trail blue marker.

Follow the TRT through several gentle switchbacks as you begin to climb. The trail will pass above Granlibakken, where you’ll see a turnoff to the resort. You can take a short side trip down this path for an array of blooming flowers including Mule’s Ears and lupine. Continue along the TRT, where the trail is lined with Snowplant (a protected flower), lupine, flowering Manzanita, Snowberry, Crimson Columbine and various other wildflowers. The climb continues for the first 2 miles until you reach an intersection of trails. Follow the TRT marker for Ward Creek Road for about 1 mile until you reach the meadows. Follow the trail back to 64 Acres.

For an easy, 4-mile alternative, take Hwy. 89 south of Tahoe City for 2 miles and turn right on Pineland Drive. Take the left fork at Twin Peak Road, which turns into Ward Creek Boulevard, for 1.5 miles until you see an unmarked, gated road. Park on either side and follow the trail; do not block the gate. TART

 

Rubicon Trail & Lighthouse  

Moderate  |  4.5 miles RT  |  Dogs not allowed

Hike starts at Calawee Cove at D.L. Bliss State Park or Emerald Bay. Trail follows cliffs and coves along Lake Tahoe, nesting ospreys and eagles, short side trail to Rubicon Lighthouse. Although the lighthouse was only used from 1916 to 1919 to warn sailors of the dangerous rocks just below the water’s surface, during its short use the lighthouse was considered the world’s highest elevation maritime navigation light. Parking fee. Closed for the season.

 

Sugar Pine Point State Park

Easy  |  1.5 miles RT  |  Dogs OK on paved trails only

If you’re looking for a nice, relaxing hike, try the Edward F. Dolder Nature Trail skirting Lake Tahoe through the park’s nature preserve. Take Hwy. 89 10 miles south of TahoeCity. Follow the paved trail past the beach and into the woods. The trail loops through the forest past an array of wildflowers and through several sections of dense slash bleached nearly white from years of sun exposure.

There are great spots to relax on the beach. There’s also a spectacular view, a spattering of downed trees and underbrush of meadow buttercups. Once you’re back on the trail, you’ll come across another side path leading to the Sugar Pine Point Lighthouse, which is not really a lighthouse, but a navigational beacon. Parking fee. TART

 

Tahoe Rim Trail

The Tahoe Rim Trail is a 164.8-mile loop trail that encircles Lake Tahoe. The trail is open to hikers and equestrians, and mountain bikers in some sections. It is generally moderate in difficulty, with a 10 percent average grade and elevations ranging from 6,300 to 10,333’. The trail is marked with light-blue triangular Tahoe Rim Trail markers. There are eight trailheads around Lake Tahoe. Guided hikes are offered in the summer. Visit tahoerimtrail.org for maps, guided hikes and descriptions.

 

REGIONAL HIKES

Alpine Meadows

Five Lakes  

Strenuous  |  5 miles RT  |  Dogs OK (prohibited May 15-July 15)

Five Lakes is a great hike inside Granite Chief Wilderness, with the first 1 mile+ a steady ascent with great views of Alpine Meadows (be sure to stop and look back). Trailhead 1.8 miles up Alpine Meadows Road from Hwy. 89 on the right side across from the intersection with Deer Park Drive. Look for a well-worn path leading to the trail (designated by a large brown kiosk). Dogs prohibited during fawning season for deer.

 

Olympic Valley

Shirley Canyon & Shirley Lake  

Strenuous  |  5 miles RT  |  Dogs OK

This trail is your best bet for seeing how those snowy slopes look in summertime. This lovely hike follows a creek as it passes by waterfalls and spectacular granite boulders along Shirley Creek. As you climb, the trail may sometimes be hard to distinguish, so keep the creek on your right going up and on your left going down. Can continue a strenuous climb to High Camp and take the Aerial Tram back to Squaw Valley (check schedule in advance). Follow Squaw Valley Road from Hwy. 89 to the ski area, take a right at the Tram building onto Squaw Peak Road, park at the end (about half a mile up) and follow the sandy path at the end of the condo development to the trailhead. Closed for the season. TART

 

Squaw & Emigrant Peaks  

(530) 583-6985  |  squaw.com

Moderate  |  3.4-4.4 miles RT  |  Dogs OK

Ride the Aerial Tram to High Camp, elev. 8,200’, and choose from a variety of trails (with maps available from Guest Services or online). Climb to the weathered buttresses atop Squaw Peak, visit the historic Watson Monument at Emigrant Peak or meander through the meadows covered with wildflowers, and enjoy the panoramic views afforded from Squaw’s spacious upper mountain. Dogs must be leashed while riding the Aerial Tram and inside any buildings or facilities at High Camp. Aerial Tram ticket required; check schedule in advance. Tram  closed for the season. TART

 

Mount Rose

Mount Rose  

Strenuous  |  6 miles RT  |  Dogs OK

Mount Rose at 10,776’, is one of the highest peaks near Lake Tahoe and offers spectacular views of the Lake, Reno and the TahoeBasin. Follow a dirt road for 3 miles through a forest full of Lodgepole, mule ears and sagebrush. A meadow at the halfway point bears lupine, paintbrush and larkspur. The last 2 miles follow slippery switchbacks to the ridge line. Don’t forget to sign the log book when you make it to the top. Take Hwy. 431 north from Incline Village. Park at the trailhead 1 mile before (south of) the summit.

 

Truckee

Glacier Meadow Loop  

Easy  |  .5 miles RT  |  Dogs OK

This is a short, self-guided nature loop offering a half-hour walk with informational signs along the way that explain how glacial action carved and polished the surface landscape. Take Interstate 80 West from Truckee to the Castle Peak/Boreal Ridge Road exit. Follow signs to the Tahoe National Forest Trailhead.

 

Martis Creek Wildlife Area   

Easy  |  3 miles RT  |  Dogs OK

Loop through Martis Creek meadow for a level walk along the creek. Lots of dogs on this trail. Connects with Tompkins Memorial Trail. Off Hwy. 267, about 6 miles from Interstate 80. Look for Wildlife Viewing Area sign and turn right into the parking area. Dog waste required to be picked up.

 

Pacific Crest Trail/Mount Judah Loop   

Moderate  |  4.6 miles RT  |  Dogs OK

This 4.6-mile loop offers many excellent vista points on the way including awe-inspiring views from the summit of Mount Judah. There is a section of the loop that connects with the Pacific Crest Trail. Pack plenty of water. Take Soda Springs exit off Interstate 80 and follow Donner Pass Road for 3.7 miles and turn onto Mark Lake Road next to Sugar Bowl Academy. Follow signs for the PCT, and then Mount Judah.

 

Mileage is roundtrip, with levels based on family access. All trails are heavily used on weekends.