Glen Alpine Trail 17E06

Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, California

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6 Reviews
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Glen Alpine Trail (17E06) is a hiking and horse trail in El Dorado County, California. It is within Desolation Wilderness and Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. It is 2.3 miles long and begins at 7,918 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 4.7 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,425 feet. The trail ends near the Glen Alpine Spring and the Glen Alpine Resort information board.
Distance: mi Elevation: ft
Glen Alpine Trail (17E06) is a hiking and horse trail in El Dorado County, California. It is within Desolation Wilderness and Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. It is 2.3 miles long and begins at 7,918 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 4.7 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,425 feet. The trail ends near the Glen Alpine Spring and the Glen Alpine Resort information board. This trail connects with the following: Pacific Crest Trail (TRT), Half Moon Lake Trail (17E31), Grass Lake Trail (17E06A) and 12n16.
Activity Type: Backpacking, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Trail Running, Walking
Nearby City: Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
Distance: 2.3
Elevation Gain: 1,425 feet
Trailhead Elevation: 7,918 feet
Top Elevation: 7,918 feet
Features: Waterfalls
Accessibility: Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
Driving Directions: Directions to Glen Alpine Trail (17E06)
Parks: Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
Elevation Min/Max: 6801/7918 ft
Elevation Start/End: 7918/7918 ft
PREMIUM FEATURE

For a more curated experience check out trail guides from our partner publishers.

Five-Star Trails: Lake Tahoe: 40 Unforgettable Hikes in the Central Sierra Nevada

Five-Star Trails: Lake Tahoe: 40 Unforgettable Hikes in the Central Sierra Nevada

Ready yourself for varied terrain as you climb away from your trailhead, situated between Angora and Cathedral peaks. Pass historic Glen Alpine Springs Resort while ascending its namesake creek to the west. Linger at lightly treed Susie Lake, where Jacks and Dicks peaks loom in the background. Climb to the outlet stream of rockbound Heather Lake’s azure waters, brightened by the polished snow-clad Crystal Range. Briefly ascend to Lake Aloha, where your viewfinder will be full of Pyramid, Agassiz, and Price looming overhead. Mosey along Aloha’s shore over granite and then take an uphill path away from Lake of the Woods, heading toward Haypress Meadow. Forgo the easy trails down to Echo and view a trio of lakes—Ralston, Cagwin, and Tamarack— from your high route toward Triangle Lake. Return to Lily Lake by descending the steep Tamarack Creek Trail, which is laden with vistas of Tahoe and Fallen Leaf lakes.

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Afoot & Afield: Tahoe-Reno: 201 Spectacular Outings in the Lake Tahoe Region

Afoot & Afield: Tahoe-Reno: 201 Spectacular Outings in the Lake Tahoe Region

The short, easy hike to Grass Lake is a great way to spend a morning or afternoon enjoying some of the southeastern fringe of Desolation Wilderness. The lake is surrounded by the characteristic Desolation granite and has a pretty cascade that tumbles down cliffs on the west side. Since the lake is only 2.5 miles from a trailhead, don’t expect to be alone.

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Backpacking California: Mountain, Foothill, Coastal, & Desert Adventures in the Golden State

Backpacking California: Mountain, Foothill, Coastal, & Desert Adventures in the Golden State

This trip goes into southern Desolation Wilderness, everyone’s favorite wilderness in the Northern Sierra. Enormously popular and accessible as Desolation Wilderness is—right on Lake Tahoe’s western edge—it’s nevertheless possible to find quieter nooks like Half Moon Lake. And from there you have access to some wonderful dayhikes, including bagging Mt. Tallac, a spectacular 9735-foot viewpoint over the incomparable Tahoe region. Take at least one layover day here to enjoy this beautiful area.

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Top Trails Lake Tahoe

Top Trails Lake Tahoe

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.

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Afoot & Afield: Tahoe-Reno: 201 Spectacular Outings in the Lake Tahoe Region

Afoot & Afield: Tahoe-Reno: 201 Spectacular Outings in the Lake Tahoe Region

Perhaps the most symmetrically round lake in the Tahoe area, lodgepole-rimmed Gilmore Lake is an excellent destination for dayhikers and backpackers alike. The lake is named for Nathan Gilmore, perhaps the original pioneer of the area around Fallen Leaf Lake and also one of the first proponents of preserving lands around Lake Tahoe for the public.

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Backpacking California: Mountain, Foothill, Coastal, & Desert Adventures in the Golden State

Backpacking California: Mountain, Foothill, Coastal, & Desert Adventures in the Golden State

As one of the most heavily used wildernesses in the West, Desolation Wilderness can be a difficult nut to crack when searching for some solitude and serenity. Since Half Moon Lake lies off the beaten track at the head of a dead-end cirque and the trailhead quota is a mere 5 backpackers per day, overnighters can expect at least a modicum of elbow room and some peace and quiet while enjoying the fine scenery.

The lake is an excellent base camp for setting out on adventures to some of the surrounding points of interest, including 9735-foot Mt. Tallac and the incomparable view of the Tahoe basin from its 9735-foot summit.

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Hiking Waterfalls in Northern California

Hiking Waterfalls in Northern California

Two waterfalls, roaring with snowmelt in late spring and early summer, enliven the cobblestone road/trail that climbs to ruins of the historic Glen Alpine Springs Resort. Glen Alpine Creek drops over two falls in the final leg of its descent from the Desolation Wilderness to Fallen Leaf Lake, and depending on the quantity of snowmelt and the timing of your visit, the falls can be furious.

But the hiking is not: The route follows a wide, moderately graded, gravel-and-cobblestone road that offers access to
private cabins, the remnants of the Glen Alpine Springs Resort, and the Wilderness.

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Best Easy Day Hikes: Lake Tahoe

Best Easy Day Hikes: Lake Tahoe

Though the native Washoe were the first to enjoy the
springs at what would become known as Glen Alpine Springs
Resort, it was Nathan Gilmore, prospector and cofounder of
the Sierra Club, who would turn the area into Lake Tahoe’s
first bona fide upscale getaway. This easy walk up a forest
road paved in river stones leads to the remnants of the resort.

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Afoot & Afield: Tahoe-Reno: 201 Spectacular Outings in the Lake Tahoe Region

Afoot & Afield: Tahoe-Reno: 201 Spectacular Outings in the Lake Tahoe Region

This trip provides a fine example of the classic Desolation Wilderness experience, visiting the granite country for which the area is noted. 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 both hikers and backpackers alike.

View Guide

Recent Trail Reviews

5/7/2012
0

This is my favorite hiking trail. I have been doing this hike, all the way to the top, every few years since I was about 10. Be carefull climbing to the top, and avoid to pool the main fall drops into. It looks like a simple climb down, but the rocks can be slippery and it's a LONG way down. The view from the top is great and there is lots of exploring and further hiking you can do from the top.


8/15/2009
0

Steep trail up to Heather Lake. Took my 13 and 11 year old boys who did just fine. Great views of the Desolation Wilderness and huge granite mountains.


5/1/2009
0

Once summer rolls around, the initial stretch of the Glen Alpine trail gets packed full of tourists, but in late May to early June there is just enough snow to scare them away, but not so much as to prevent anyone with a decent set of boots from enjoying some of the best scenery Desolation has to offer without the crowds that usually make it anything but desolate. As always, wilderness permits are required for overnight stays, and check with the rangers beforehand to see what the snow levels are.


7/1/2008
1

Beautiful easy hike for the most part. Lots of glacial granite to play on; the kids will love it but falling on the granite is unforgiving so bring some first aid material. (Best thing for scrapes is just water and fresh air.) There are a couple water holes you can play in DEPENDING ON THE FLOW. When I was up there in July 2008 it was moving pretty good and the swimming holes can become a bit of work. Just be skilled at swimming and you should be fine. About 3/4 up the western side of the falls the climbing becomes a little "free-hand" technical. I've seen 8 year olds scale to the top. Be smart though. Its also a great very short hike to just take a lunch and sit by the creek


8/12/2006
0

The weather was perfect and the falls were beautiful. The only problem that I encountered was that the trail was not very well marked, so you kind of had to find a safe route through trial and error. It was a weekend so it was pretty crowded after about 10:30 at least near the bottom of the trail. The trial is very easy, unless you hike to the top of the falls, then it's basically on granite and straight up in some places and a little slippery too. I would hike it again. It was a lot of fun.



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May 2018