Mileage is roundtrip (RT), with levels based on family access.
All trails are more heavily used on weekends.
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’. Visit tahoerimtrail.org for maps, guided hikes & descriptions.
Moderate | 9 miles RT | Dogs
Walk along the dirt path through the picnic area and follow signs to Marlette Lake. Mostly sun exposed. Great wildflowers in early summer. Start at Spooner Lake State Park.
Secret Harbor & Chimney Beach
Easy | 3 miles RT | Dogs
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). Off Hwy. 28.
Moderate | 2.8 miles RT | Dogs
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. Park north of gate; do not block gate off Hwy. 28.
Easy | 1.8-mile loop | Dogs. Kids.
Spooner Lake is a great, easy hike for any season with interpretive displays. At Spooner Lake State Park.
Moderate | 3.6 miles RT | Dogs
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. Off Hwy. 267.
Easy | .5 miles RT | Dogs. Kids.
This short hike offers superb views of Lake Tahoe. A short, self-guided nature trail explains the history of the North Shore. Hwy. 28 in Crystal Bay.
Lower & Upper Echo Lakes
Easy | 2.4-4.8 miles RT | Dogs
Lower and Upper Echo Lakes is a little-known paradise perched atop Echo Summit, 5 miles west of Meyers on Hwy. 50. The trailhead begins 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 water 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. Taxi (530) 659-7207.
Moderate | 1.4 miles RT | Dogs
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. 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 Bayview Campground off Hwy. 89. Not recommended for small children or small dogs.
Moderate | 1 mile RT | Kids
Quick hike to the top of a volcanic outcropping offers panoramic views of the area off Hwy. 89 south of Tahoe City.
Eagle Falls & Lake
Easy-Moderate | .1-3 miles RT | Dogs. Kids.
Great views of Lake Tahoe & Emerald Bay. Falls 5-minute walk from parking lot. Steady ascent to Eagle Lake not recommended for young children. West end of picnic area across from Emerald Bay, Hwy. 89.
Emerald Bay & Vikingsholm Castle
Moderate | 2.5 miles+ RT | No dogs. Handicap accessible.
Steep descent to Vikingsholm Castle. 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 Emerald Bay on Hwy. 89. ADA access (530) 525-9529.
Moderate | 2.2 miles RT | Dogs
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 Emerald Bay. Steady ascent of 850’ in less than 1 mile. Trailhead at Bayview Campground off Hwy. 89.
Easy-moderate | 4-6 miles RT | Dogs
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 off Hwy. 89 along the Tahoe Rim Trail for a longer hike or from Ward Creek Boulevard off Hwy. 89.
Rubicon Trail & Lighthouse
Easy-Moderate | .5-9 miles | No dogs. Kids.
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, which is easy to access with small children.
Easy | .5 miles | Kids
A short, self-guided nature trail featuring Balancing Rock, an overlying rock of 130 tones balanced on a rock. At D.L. Bliss State Park.
Sugar Pine Point State Park
Easy | 1.5 miles RT | Kids. Handicap accessible.
The nature 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 below Ehrman Mansion.
Strenuous | 5 miles RT | Dogs
Five Lakes is a great hike inside Granite Chief Wilderness, with the first 1 mile+ a steady ascent with great views of Alpine Meadows. Trailhead 1.8 miles up Alpine Meadows Road from Hwy. 89 across from Deer Park Drive. Dogs prohibited May 15-July 15.
Shirley Canyon & Shirley Lake
Easy-Strenuous | .5-5 miles RT | Dogs. Kids.
This hike follows a creek as it passes by waterfalls and spectacular granite boulders along Shirley Creek. Park at the end of Squaw Peak Road. The first section that follows the creek is great for kids. 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 to the valley (schedule at squawalpine.com).
Squaw & Emigrant Peaks
Moderate | 3.4-4.4 miles RT | Dogs. Kids.
Ride the Aerial Tram to High Camp, elev. 8,200’, and choose from a variety of trails (maps from Guest Services or squawalpine.com). 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. Tram ticket required. Hikes in the meadows good for small children.
Strenuous | 10 miles RT | Dogs
Mount Rose at 10,776’, is one of the highest peaks near Lake Tahoe and offers spectacular views of the Lake, Reno and the Tahoe Basin. 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. Park at the trailhead off Hwy. 431 1 mile before (south of) the summit.
Glacier Meadow Loop Easy | .5 miles RT | Dogs. Kids.
Short, self-guided nature loop with signs that explain how glacial action carved and polished the surface landscape. Take Interstate 80 W from Truckee to the Castle Peak/Boreal Ridge Road exit.
Martis Creek Wildlife Area Easy | 4 miles RT | Dogs. Kids.
Loop through Martis Creek meadow for a walk along the creek. Off Hwy. 267.
Pacific Crest Trail/Mount Judah Loop
Moderate | 4.6 miles RT | Dogs
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.