Hiking

Sawmill Lake |  2.5 miles  |  Moderate 

The trailhead is located at the top of the Big Springs Gondola at Northstar. From here, follow the foot path that begins at the bottom of the Vista Express chairlift past the Cross-Country Center. The trail meanders through the forest toward Sawmill Lake. Be sure to explore the red caboose parked out by Sawmill Lake.

 

Spur View / Picnic Rock  |  2 miles  |  Easy to Moderate  

Travel south on Hwy 267 towards Lake Tahoe. As you summit the peak of Hwy 267 and start downhill, turn into the parking area on the right-hand side. Once parked, carefully cross the street to access the trailhead. One of the most popular short hikes in Lake Tahoe because of its stunning panoramic views from the top. You can continue hiking the Rim Trail for up to nearly 19 miles to Tahoe Meadows, or just take the shorter loop and enjoy a picnic at the top.

 

Martis Creek / Tompkins Memorial Trail  |  Length varies  |  Easy 

Follow Highlands View Road almost three miles downhill, and turn left onto Hwy 267.  Drive until approximately the middle of the valley, and turn left at the brown sign on the left that reads, “Martis Creek Wildlife Area.” Park at the end of the dirt road.  There are 14.6 miles of trails with convenient maps dotting the park. Options range from 40 minutes to half-day hikes with picnic tables throughout the park.

 

Truckee River Legacy Trail  |  Length varies  |  Easy 

From Donner Pass Road in Downtown Truckee Turn onto Bridge Street then turn right into the Truckee Regional Park. Park in the lot behind the baseball fields and tennis courts, then walk to the trailhead through the amphitheater and disc golf course toward the river. This newer, paved trail is a locals’ favorite that runs along the Truckee River from Truckee Regional Park to the neighborhood of Glenshire. The scenery is beautiful as you wind from open spaces to forested areas with interpretative signs along the way. Leashed dogs are welcome and love to cool off in the river.

 

Stateline Lookout  |  0.5 miles  |  Easy  

Travel south on Hwy 267 towards Kings Beach. At the end of 267, turn left onto Hwy 28 and follow to the Nevada state line. Turn left onto Reservoir Drive just past the Tahoe Biltmore Casino. Turn right onto Lakeshore Avenue, then right on Forest Service Road 1601. Park on the street in designated parking areas, just below the lookout trail. This is a short, self-guided nature trail with signs explaining the history of North Lake Tahoe. Telescopes placed along the trail provide great views of the lake, and volunteers are available to answer any questions.

 

Tahoe Meadows  |  1.2 miles roundtrip  |  Easy to Moderate  

Travel south on Hwy 267 towards Kings Beach. At the end of 267, turn left onto Hwy 28 and follow to the town of Incline Village. At the roundabout, take the third exit onto Hwy 431 East (Mt. Rose Hwy), and drive six miles to the trailhead parking lot on the right.  This is a relatively flat, wheelchair- and stroller-accessible trail just west of the Mt. Rose summit on Hwy 431. The trail weaves through wildflower patches, over streams, past fir and pine trees and around large granite boulders.

 

Mount Rose  |  6 to 10 miles  |  Moderate   

From Incline Village, take Hwy 431, and park at the trailhead (behind restrooms at the Mt. Rose Pass) The 10,778-foot-high Mt. Rose is one of the highest peaks in the Lake Tahoe area and offers breathtaking views of the lake and Nevada desert. A three-mile dirt road leads to a lodgepole pine-cloaked forest. The right-hand route from the trailhead is the most direct route to the summit.  Highlights include weather pillars of volcanic rock, a waterfall and a creek crossing.

 

Five Lakes  |  5 miles  |  Moderate  

Take 89 South from Tahoe City 4.2 miles to the Caspian Picnic Area, and turn right onto Blackwood Canyon Rd.  Continue 7.1 miles to Barker Pass, where the pavement ends, then 2.3 miles farther to the trailhead. There is a small sign just off the road. From the Five Lakes trailhead, follow a well-manicured trail up through the valley between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. The five serene lakes are available for fishing and swimming. Alternatively, the trail can be accessed via Barker Pass.

 

Shirley Canyon to Shirley Lake  |  4 to 8 miles  |  Moderate to Strenuous

From Interstate 80, exit at Hwy 89 South toward Lake Tahoe. Follow 89 South through the roundabout and continue about eight miles. Turn right at the stoplight for Squaw Valley Rd and follow all the way to the Village at Squaw Valley parking lot. Park and walk down Squaw Peak Rd. The trailhead will be to the left side as the road curves to the right. This moderately strenuous hike wanders up through thick forests, over granite slabs and along Shirley Creek for four miles to Shirley Lake, one of the jewels of Squaw Valley resort. Hike a few more miles and you can make your way to the High Camp complex and take the aerial tram, which affords stunning views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains, back to the valley. Note: This trail may sometimes be hard to follow, so remember the general rule is to keep the creek on your left side and follow it until you arrive at the base of the mountain and look for blue lines marked on rocks. There are also some steep sections to negotiate through the granite, so hiking boots are strongly recommended.

 

Marlette Lake  |  5 miles  |  Moderate  

From Incline Village, take Hwy 28 almost to the Hwy 50 junction, and park at the Spooner Lake trailhead. Located in Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park, this uphill hike leads you through the aspen-lined North Canyon to Marlette Lake Dam. Marlette Lake is a fishing hatchery, therefore no fishing is allowed. Leashed dogs are welcome, and there is a parking fee.

 

Eagle Rock  |  0.75 mile  |  Moderate  

From Tahoe City, drive five miles south on Hwy 89, and park in the lot just south of Eagle Rock. Rising a couple hundred feet immediately above Tahoe’s West Shore, Eagle Rock has been a popular destination for locals and visitors alike to get a sweeping vista of the lake. A new, three-quarter-mile trail (short but steep) to the summit was recently constructed, obviating the need for tramping up the many makeshift, erosion-causing trails that had existed for years.

 

Ward Canyon to Page Meadows  |  1.4 miles roundtrip  |  Easy to Moderate 

Follow directions to Hwy 89 via the west shore of Lake Tahoe (approximately two miles south of Tahoe City). From Hwy 89, turn right onto Pineland Drive, then turn left at the “Y.” Follow the trail two miles to the Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) trailhead on the left. Take the TRT on the right and go north to Page Meadows. The trail up to Ward Canyon has a smooth, steep climb, and the second trail loops around a meadow abundant with wildflowers. This trail is a must-do in the autumn when the leaves on the aspens surrounding the meadow change to hues of red and gold!

 

Tahoe Rim Trail  |  Varying up to 165 miles  |  Easy to Strenuous 

There are five trailheads to access the “TRT” in North Lake Tahoe:

*Brockway – (strenuous, 13.4 miles to Watson Lake and back) Take 267 South over the summit. The entrance is less than a half-mile south of the summit. Park in the small cut-out lot on the right side of the highway.

*Tahoe Meadows – Take Hwy 431 (Mt. Rose Hwy) from Incline Village almost to the Summit. From here, you can take an easy 1.2-mile hike on the Interpretive Loop.

*Mt. Rose – Take Hwy 431 (Mt. Rose Hwy) North from Incline Village to the summit. The trailhead is on the north side of the highway. From here, you can take a moderate 5-6 mile hike on the Mt Rose Loop Trail.

*Ward Creek Blvd – Take Hwy 89 South from Tahoe City for about 2.5 miles, and turn right on Ward Creek Blvd. Follow the road another 2.5 miles until you reach the TRT kiosk. This is an easy 1.4-mile roundtrip hike from Ward Canyon to Page Meadows.

*Barker Pass – Take Hwy 89 South from Tahoe City about four miles, and turn right onto Blackwood Canyon Rd at Caspian Campground. Follow the road 7.5 miles to the trailhead. Barker North to Vista Point is a moderate 3.5-mile roundtrip hike with views of the lake. The TRT is a 165-mile loop around the mountain peaks of the Lake Tahoe Basin and is open to hiking, horseback riding, and skiing (even in    summer). Mountain biking is permitted in sections. For day use and overnight hiking information, see www.tahoerimtrail.org.

 

Rubicon and Lighthouse Trails at D.L. Bliss Park  |  Varying  |  Moderate 

Take Hwy 89 South from Tahoe City, and follow along the west shore of Lake Tahoe about 16 miles to D.L. Bliss State Park. There is a parking fee. The Rubicon Trail meanders along the shoreline with stunning views of Lake Tahoe and coves around the area for swimming or picnicking. The Lighthouse Trail extends through the trees and then along cliffs overlooking the lake, offering additional views. Dogs are not permitted. The Rubicon Trail is 5 miles to Emerald Point (one-way), or 6.5 miles to the end of the trail extension that passes Vikingsholm in Emerald Bay; allow at least four hours. The Lighthouse Loop is 2 miles total, complete with a bit of history at the Old Rubicon Point Lighthouse; allow about an hour.

 

Lake Aloha  |  12 miles  |  Moderate to Strenuous  

Take Hwy 89 South from Tahoe City, and follow along the west shore of Lake Tahoe for 32 miles until you reach South Lake Tahoe. Stay straight to continue on Hwy 50 West to Echo Summit. Turn onto Johnson Pass Rd, then stay left for the parking area by Lower Echo Lake. Walk to the right of the boat docks, over the dam, then to the right to access the trail. Wilderness permit required. In the shadow of Pyramid Peak, the sprawling, shallow, high-mountain reservoir is dotted with hundreds of tiny granite islands. Various trails converge on Lake Aloha’s shores, the perfect end to an invigorating hike up from the basin floor. Hikers encounter other small lakes throughout the 12-mile roundtrip hike from the trailhead, including Upper Echo Lake, Tamarack Lake and Lake of the Woods. Leashed dogs are welcome.

 

Eagle Falls  |  Varying  |  Moderate to Strenuous  

From Tahoe City, take Hwy 89 South along the west shore of the lake for about 18 miles until you reach Emerald Bay. The trailhead and parking for Eagle Falls Picnic Area are on the right. Wilderness permit required. This steep trail leads back into the heart of Desolation Wilderness, passing several lakes along the way. One mile to Eagle Lake, which is a popular day-hike for picnicking or swimming; 4.5 miles to Dick’s Lake, Upper and Middle Velmas; 5 miles to Fontanillas.

 

Bayview Trail  |  Varying  |  Strenuous  

From Tahoe City, take Hwy 89 South along the west shore of the lake for about 19 miles to the Bayview Campground across from Inspiration Point. Parking is located at the far end of the campground. Wilderness permit required.  This steep trail ascends the side of Maggie’s Peak into Desolation Wilderness. Hike 1 mile to Granite Lake, 2.7 miles to an intersection with Eagle Falls Trail, 4 miles to Azure Lake, and 5 miles to Dick’s Lake. Corral and watering facilities for horses are available at the trailhead.

 

Vikingsholm Castle  |  2.5 miles  |  Easy to Moderate  

Take Hwy 89 South to Tahoe City, and follow along the west shore of the lake for about 18 miles until you reach scenic Emerald Bay. There is a parking lot on the left side of the road overlooking Emerald Bay. Enjoy beautiful views of Emerald Bay and Fanette Island from the shoreline and make sure to bring your camera. Tours of a Viking castle replica built in 1929 are available mid-June through Labor Day for a nominal fee. There is also a short hike to lower Eagle Falls across from the castle.

 

Rubicon  |  8 miles roundtrip  |  Easy to Moderate 

Travel south on Hwy 267 towards Kings Beach. At the end of 267, turn right onto Hwy 28. Turn left onto Hwy 89 South in Tahoe City, and follow along the west shore of the lake until you reach scenic Emerald Bay (approximately 20 more minutes). There is a parking lot on the left side of the road overlooking Emerald Bay. Parking area off Highway 89 on the northwest side of Emerald Bay. If you want an up-close view of Tahoe and Emerald Bay, this is the hike for you and your family. The trail begins at Vikingsholm, descends a couple hundred feet nearly to the bay’s shoreline, then heads north along the cobalt blue water. The relatively flat track parallels the shore of Lake Tahoe, weaving in and out of the forest until it approaches the campground at D.L. Bliss State Park. Retrace your steps to return to the trailhead.

 

Cascade Falls  |  1.5 miles  |  Easy to Moderate   

Travel south on Hwy 267 towards Kings Beach. At the end of 267, turn right onto Hwy 28. Turn left onto Hwy 89 South in Tahoe City and follow the west shore of the lake about 20 miles to Bayview Campground, located across from Inspiration Point. Wilderness permit required. Cascade Falls tumbles 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. Also in full view to the north and east is Lake Tahoe 600 feet below. Beyond Cascade Falls and along Cascade Creek are deep pools, tumbling white water and superb picnic spots. The best season is spring time when the snowmelt is at its peak.

 

Fallen Leaf Lake  |  Length varies  |  Easy to Moderate 

Follow directions to Hwy 89 via the west shore of Lake Tahoe. Then from Hwy 89, turn onto Fallen Leaf Lake Road and drive about a mile to the campground. Park outside the campground entrance and walk in to access the trail. Miles of trails surround the South Shore’s Fallen Leaf Lake.  Most are fairly flat and meander through aspen groves and alongside Taylor Creek.