Top Trails Lake Tahoe
by Mike White (Wilderness Press)
© 2015 Mike White/Wilderness Press. All Rights Reserved.
An excellent, well-maintained trail with beautiful views. Don't try the loop above Upper-Velma much earlier in the year, however, as the trail is easy to loose when covered by snow, and the snow-melt makes crossing the streams around Velma lakes exciting.
The only thing we regretted about this hike was that we did it all in a day and did not plan it as a backpacking trip. From the moment your boot hits the trail the views are stunning: Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay, Cascade Lake and Fallen Leaf Lake are all spread at your feet on one sumptious platter within the first half-hour. The visual feast seems endless as you wind through the basin taking in over 10 lakes in the 10 odd miles of hiking. If the Lady Tahoe can be trumped, it would be by the luscious Fontanallis Lake, ringed by granite with several cozy, tree-dotted nooks along the many-coved eastern shore.
As if the alpine-blue lakes were not enough, there are the expansive stretches of rock, sparsely forested with ponderosa pine, red and white fir, western juniper, tamrac and the heavenly scented Jeffrey pine. The sheer granite walls that made us dizzy to look upon were like eye-candy to the small group of young rock climbers we encountered as we passed through this enchanted land.
This trail is not for light, weekend hikers. The "moderate" rating is a bit conservative; although not technical it starts off with quite a grunt, which turns into a quad-kicker on the return. Would I recommend it or do it again? Is Lake Tahoe blue?
Sign in/up to upload photos.
Keep Me Informed
Weekly newsletters, announcements and offers from Trails.com to your inbox.
We HATE spam and promise to keep your email addresses safe and secure.