Hike America: Northern California
by Dan Brett (The Globe Pequot Press)
© Dan Brett/The Globe Pequot Press. All Rights Reserved.
This is an excellent trail because of the high percentage of the time that you are on the shoulder with great views or otherwise above treeline with a gratifying sense of openness. The two lakes you pass along the way are welcome opportunities to kick back for a few minutes and remember to enjoy being at peace as well as moving briskly.
This was a great trail!!! My daughter and friend had a wonderful time on this trail. The view was spectacular from the top of Mt. Tallac! Definitely a must do hike if you're in Tahoe and have about 5 hours to kill.
I did not hike to the top of Mt Talmac. However, the view of Fallen Leaf Lake was beautiful. I am not in the best of shape but I was still able to hike to Floating Island Lake. The mosquitos at Floating Island Lake were horrible. The trail is rocky and steep on the way up, but does level out. But of course it is all downhill on the trip back. I was very surprised to see snow on the mountain tops. The weather was around 85 degrees and it felt like 90. The view of Lake Tahoe and Fallen Leaf Lake is post card perfect. Both lakes are lined with Pine Trees and with Lake Tahoe's turquiose blue waters and Fallen Leaf Lakes smooth shimmering water, you couldn't help but wish you could dive right off of the cliff into the lake and cool off. About one mile up, there is a great place to stop and take pictures. Off to your left is Lake Tahoe, below and to your right is Fallen Leaf Lake. The trip to this point is hard but well worth it just to see the views. I recommend this hike to anyone. Make sure you wear sunscreen and a hat and bring lots of water.
Note: Rating was given based on part of trail hiked. I did not go to the top of Tallac or even the top of the ridge.
I started up the trail @ 10am and was surprised to see a decided lack of snow at the TH. Within the first 0.5mi that surprise quickly changed to angst as I continuously lost the trail in the 2 ft deep snow. I was surprised and awed by the size of Fallen Leaf lake. It's huge presence adds immensely to the views. Unfortunately the weather was not cooperating. Visibility was less than 1 mile, and hail was starting to bombard me. The trail is supposed to go by Floating Isle and Cathedral Lakes, but the route I was following didn't take me by any lakes! I continued up till I reached a lone Spruce (?) ~200 yards below the rim. The weather was getting worse, and I couldn't see the rim any longer. After taking into account my lack of food, warm clothes, compass, map and common sense I decided to head back to the car. On the way back I stumbled upon Floating Isle lake, and broke through the crust of snow into a 5 ft deep whole! Then inadvertently followed tracks for a 0.5 mile that turned out to be bear tracks (guess the claw marks should have given that away in retrospect!). Eventually I re-encountered the trail about a quarter mile from the TH. This was an exciting hike, given the bush-whacking nature it took on. I've heard amazing things about the views from the top and plan to try it again when the snow melts down a little bit!
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