Top Trails Lake Tahoe  by Mike White

Top Trails Lake Tahoe Guide Book

by Mike White (Wilderness Press)
Top Trails Lake Tahoe  by Mike White
Top Trails Lake Tahoe explores the best trails for hiking and biking in the Tahoe area. The guide features the best hikes including the north side's splendid backcountry, the lake’s sedate western side, the picturesque and popular areas south of the lake, including Desolation Wilderness, and D. L. Bliss and Emerald Bay state parks and the relatively undeveloped eastern side. Several hikes follow sections of the Tahoe Rim Trail and Pacific Crest Trail.

© 2015 Mike White/Wilderness Press. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Top Trails Lake Tahoe" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 50.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 50.

This partial loop trip, consisting of 10.5 miles through the heart of the Desolation Wilderness, samples several cirque-bound lakes amid the characteristic granite terrain that makes the area sopicturesque. Whether you’re just out for the day or on an overnight backpack, the lakes provide great scenery, along with fine swimming and fishing.
Tahoe City, CA - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Trail Running - Trail Length: 10.5
A lightly used pocket of the Granite Chief Wilderness offers fine scenery and a healthy dose of peace and serenity. While daily quotas and fees are the rule of thumb in nearby Desolation Wilderness, a permit is not even required for overnighters in Granite Chief.
Tahoe City, CA - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Trail Running - Trail Length: 13.4
With arrangements for a shuttle, a nearly 8-mile trip travels through the heart of the proposed 31,100- acre Meiss Meadow Wilderness. Following sections of the Tahoe Rim and Pacific Crest trails, recreationists can travel from Highway 89 to Highway 88, visiting Big Meadow, Round Lake, and Meiss Meadows along the way. A 1.3-mile side trip to scenic Dardanelles Lake provides a fine diversion.
Woodfords, CA - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Trail Running - Trail Length: 10.4
A short hike leads to Cascade Falls, which during the height of snowmelt puts on a turbulent display of raucous watery splendor plummeting 200 feet down a granite cliff into Cascade Lake. Above the falls are several delightful picnic spots on granite slabs near swirling pools and tumbling cascades along aptly named Cascade Creek.
Tahoe City, CA - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Trail Running - Trail Length: 1.5
A climb to one of North Tahoe’s highest summits provides summiteers with an expansive view of the northern Sierra, which on clear days includes distant Lassen Peak in the north and the coastal hills to the west.
Donner, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 9.6
Although most of this route travels outside the proposed Castle Peak Wilderness, plenty of pleasant terrain is encountered along the way, including two picturesque meadows and an excellent view from atop Andesite Peak. Both Castle and Round meadows offer the chance to see raptors in search of prey or deer browsing the tender foliage. Throw in the Peter Grubb Hut for a bit of Tahoe Sierra history and you have the makings of a fine adventure.
Donner, CA - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Trail Running - Trail Length: 9.6
For good reasons, the Rubicon Trail is popular with hikers and tourists alike. Following above the lakeshore, travelers are treated to incredible lake views throughout the mile-long section of trail to Calawee Cove. By combining the Rubicon Trail with the Lighthouse Trail, you can follow a 2-mile loop, complete with Tahoe views and a bit of history at the old Rubicon Point Lighthouse.
Tahoe City, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2
The short but steep 1-mile climb to Eagle Lake along the Eagle Lake Trail is one of Tahoe’s most popular hikes, and for good reason. Where else can one visit such a picturesque lake tucked into an alpinelike granite cirque with such little effort? The Forest Service has recently built a short nature trail close to the trailhead, providing hikers and sightseers with an interesting and informative loop diversion.
Tahoe City, CA - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 1
This section of the famed Pacific Crest Trail is perhaps the most popular route into the heart of Desolation Wilderness. The relatively high elevation start coupled with the ability to shave off 2.5 miles of hiking by taking the water taxi across the lakes make this a highly desirable entry point for backcountry enthusiasts. With a bounty of scenic lakes and plenty of dramatic mountain scenery so easily accessible, the area’s popularity is no mystery. While backpackers contend for a limited number of wilderness permits, hikers are free to roam the backcountry within a day’s journey at will—just don’t expect to be alone.
South Lake Tahoe, CA - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Trail Running - Trail Length: 12.6
Lake of the Woods, with numerous coves, islands, and campsites, is a popular destination accessible by maintained trail. The rest of Desolation Valley beyond Lake of the Woods is one of the most picturesque corners of Desolation Wilderness. Beneath the rugged east face of majestic Pyramid Peak, the granite, glacier-scoured basin holds a plethora of lakes and ponds, most of which are not accessible by developed and maintained trail. Hikers and backpackers with rudimentary cross-country skills have a fantastic playground for exploration of the nooks and crannies of this alpinelike basin.
South Lake Tahoe, CA - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 13
Ed Z’berg-Sugar Pine Point State Park has a trio of easy nature trails that are sure to please the most discriminating sightseer. History abounds on the quarter-mile Lakefront Interpretive Trail, including one of Tahoe’s splendid architectural wonders, the Hellman-Ehrman Mansion. The Rod Beaudry Trail provides a connection between the mansion grounds and the General Creek Campground through the Edwin L. Z’berg Natural Preserve. The 1.7-mile loop along the Dolder Nature Trail offers a serene stroll past a sandy beach with beautiful lake views to the Sugar Pine Point Lighthouse, and a return through quiet forest to the day-use parking area. Be sure to pack a lunch to enjoy at any of the several excellent picnic spots sprinkled around the park.
Tahoe City, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.7
Ellis Lake and Ellis Peak occupy a ridgetop that lies between Blackwood and McKinney canyons. Blackwood Canyon contains a paved road, while a major off-highway vehicle track runs through McKinney Canyon. In contrast, Ellis Lake and Peak are an island backcountry sanctuary. Although the first 0.7 mile of trail are as steep as any in the Tahoe Basin, few routes reach both a scenic lake and a 360- degree mountaintop vista in such a short distance.
Tahoe City, CA - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 8.6
Two lakes, one large and one small, provide hikers with two distinctly different portraits of the Carson Pass environs. More than half the journey follows the shoreline of Caples Lake, a 600-acre, humanmade reservoir, where scads of recreationists boat, swim, and fish. The 4-mile trail ends at Emigrant Lake, a diminutive, natural lake filling the basin of a steep cirque rimmed by 9500-foot-plus peaks.
Kyburz, CA - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Trail Running - Trail Length: 8.2
A short but steep climb leads to a forested basin holding five serene, forest-rimmed lakes which are well suited for an afternoon of sunbathing, picnicking, fishing, or just relaxing. Since the lakes are only an hour from the trailhead don’t expect to be alone, particularly on weekends.
Tahoe City, CA - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 4
The Flume Trail is one of the West’s most renowned mountain biking trails, with great views of Lake Tahoe and an easy graded section of single-track trail combining for Tahoe’s ultimate fat-tire excursion. While a stiff climb makes up the first 5 miles, once the incredible views begin the effort is quickly forgotten for the remainder of the downhill romp. All this grandeur does have one drawback—the trail can be quite crowded on sunny summer weekends.
Carson City, NV - Hiking - Trail Length: 13
These two quiet lakes are far enough off the beaten path to ensure a peaceful visit for those in search of some serenity. The first 2.75 miles follow a cool and shady course up the wide, forested valley of General Creek, gaining only 200 feet of elevation along the way to the Lily Pond junction. A short climb beyond the junction to Lily Pond leads to a good turnaround point for groups with young children, or anyone else looking for a relaxing stroll. Past the junction, the General Creek Trail climbs more steeply before reaching the lakes, which provide refreshing swimming opportunities.
Tahoe City, CA - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Trail Running - Trail Length: 13
This trip provides a fine example of the classic Desolation Wilderness experience. An easy section of trail takes visitors to the historical setting of Glen Alpine Springs, before a moderate climb leads to three picturesque lakes in the shadow of Jacks Peak. John Muir’s endorsement of the area reads, “The Glen Alpine Springs tourist resort seems to me one of the delightful places in all the famous Tahoe region. From no other valley, as far as I know, may excursions be made in a single day to so many peaks, wild gardens, glacier lakes, glacier meadows and alpine groves, cascades, etc.” Don’t anticipate huge doses of solitude, as this area is deservedly popular with hikers and backpackers alike.
South Lake Tahoe, CA - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Trail Running - Trail Length: 11.8
At 9006 feet, Granite Chief is the centerpiece of the surrounding Granite Chief Wilderness, directly west of Squaw Valley USA. An excellent view from the summit is available from two different approaches requiring two different levels of commitment. The first alternative follows a stiff climb from Squaw Valley along Squaw Creek, past Shirley Lake, and over the Sierra Crest to the base of the peak. The second utilizes the aerial cable car from Squaw Valley to High Camp, greatly reducing the effort and time involved to reach the summit. Whichever way you choose, the view from the top is excellent and the scenery along the way is quite rewarding as well.
Tahoe City, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 10.2
Tumbling down the head of the deep, ice-sculpted granite cleft of Pyramid Creek canyon, the thin ribbon of Horsetail Falls is dramatically scenic at any time of year, but especially spectacular during the height of snowmelt. Located a mere 1.5 miles from a major highway linking the Sacramento Valley with Lake Tahoe, conditions are ripe for this area to become very popular with both recreationists and sightseers alike. Parking improvements and construction of a short loop trail have made the area even more attractive.
Kyburz, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 3
The Loch Leven Lakes provide hikers itching for summer an early-season opportunity to reach a trio of picturesque lakes nestled into a granite basin. A pleasant side trip to Salmon Lake increases the total of lakes to four. Swimmers will appreciate the relatively warm waters and scads of slabs and islands for sunbathing, while anglers can test their skills on the stocked trout that inhabit the lakes.
Soda Springs, CA - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Trail Running - Trail Length: 8