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Best Hiking and Walking Trails in Lake Tahoe, California

If you are planning a visit to Lake Tahoe, you will need to know which trails provide you with the best scenery! Here are a few to try out.

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Best Hiking and Walking Trails in Lake Tahoe, California

Lake Tahoe is located on the California Nevada border. It is known for being one of the top attractions for nature lovers. The lake and its surrounding areas are prime real estate for hiking, biking and water activities.

If you are planning a visit to Lake Tahoe, you will need to know which trails provide you with the best scenery! Here are a few to try out.

Rubicon Trail

The Rubicon Trail starts at a small car park on a road that sits just below Emerald Bay State Park Lookout. It takes you around Emerald Bay, one of the most iconic bays near Lake Tahoe. It is a short drive from Emerald Bay Road.

The trail is not for the faint hearted. It spans 16 miles, and may not be possible for everyone to complete. But the stunning bay views will take your mind off the exertion.

As you near the end of it, you will make it into D.L. Bliss State Park which is known for its boulder rich coves and insanely clear waters.

Eagle Falls Trail

Eagle Falls Trail’s trailhead is located in a small car park on the side of Emerald Bay Road. The carpark fills up quickly during the summer months so get there early. The trail is a 2.5-mile loop that takes you through the hills on the southwest end of Lake Tahoe making for a terrific morning or afternoon outing.

Although the trail is not very long, it inclines quickly going through wooded fields. Take the stairs which are carved into hilly areas up onto the Upper Eagle Falls Bridge. Once there, pause to take in views of the water and surrounding boulders. Continue on to Eagle Lake if you have the time and energy.

Cascade Falls Trail

If you are looking for a quick hike that offers terrific views of Emerald Bay, Cascade Falls Trail may offer the perfect solution. At just 1.5 miles it provides stunning scenery of the legendary body of water and makes for a quick workout that can easily be completed in a day.

The trailhead is between the ponderosa pines behind Bayview Car Park. Although it starts as part of Bayview Trail, it quickly veers to the left taking you up a mountainside among an array of trees and boulders. Once you get to the top, you will be treated to a stunning view of Cascade Falls which falls over rocks into Cascade Lake.

Eagle Rock Hiking Trail

This half mile off trail kicks off by Blackwood Creek which can be found where the Tahoe Pines reach West Lake Boulevard. While the trail is short, it’s also quite steep. It will take you over jagged rocks and big boulders to a breathtaking lookout point that offers views of stone nature-formed monuments, the eastern shore and the Carson Range.

Fallen Leaf Lake Trail

Fallen Leaf Lake Trail is a terrific alternative to the more heavily trafficked south side of Tahoe. It tends to attract fewer hikers because it is located south of Tahoe proper, but the views are equally as exquisite.

The hike starts at Keith’s Dome, a rock peak that may look a bit ominous and is often covered in snow. But beyond its questionable start, the journey will be quite pleasant taking you through a fragrant aspen wood. The view is especially nice in autumn when the foliage shows deep rust and gold colors.

Tahoe Rim Trail

The Tahoe Rim Trail is one of the best-known hiking trails in Tahoe. It spans 170 miles taking you around all of Lake Tahoe and through both California and Nevada. The entire length may take an experienced hiker 10 days to complete. It also requires special permits and bear protection equipment.

Most hikers start in Tahoe City and make their way through Tahoe Meadows and up Echo Lakes before ending up at Desolation Wilderness. It’s not an easy undertaking, but it certainly makes for a memorable experience.

Mt. Tallac Trail

This is another great ‘off the beaten path’ trail as it winds around the western banks of Fallen Leaf Lake well beyond South Lake Tahoe and Emerald Bay. It starts just past the Fallen Leaf Campground and heads south for a total of 11 miles.

While hiking, you will take in the sights of wildflowers and other forest plants. Then you will wind around Cathedral Creek before taking on the massive ascent of Mt. Tallic. The payoff will be the awe-inspiring view of Cascade Lake with Lake Tahoe in the background.

Marlette Lake Trail

If you are looking to explore the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe, Marlette Lake Trail is a great way to do it. The trail begins in the Spooner Lake Management Neighborhood which is just about an hour from Carson City. It spans just over 10 miles and will take you through wooded lands and exposed terrains.

The trail ends with a lookout point over Marlette Lake and Lake Tahoe. The view is especially impressive in the spring and early summer when the wildflowers are in bloom.

Lola Montez Lakes Trail

The Lola Montez Lakes Trail starts in dense forest land that can be accessed off the I-80 for Soda Springs which is over an hour from the shores of Lake Tahoe. After making your way through the trees, it will clear out onto a gravel path surrounded by muddy boulders.

The trail is 6.3 miles both ways and it will take you to the Lola Montez Lakes which are relatively small as compared to other Tahoe lakes, but just as lovely. They shimmer under the Andesite Peak. If you opt to continue on for a multi-day trek, you can connect the Hole in the Ground Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail.

Lake Tahoe is a great place to enjoy nature. Now that you know some of the trails that are available, you are ready to plan an exciting trip. Which will you be checking out when you’re in town? 

After a magical day of hiking, maybe you'd like to embark on a gorgeous 2-hour sailing cruise on Lake Tahoe? Make the most of your vacation and book now!

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