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East Shore

Marlette Lake  |  Moderate  |  9 miles RT  |  Dogs OK
Walk along the dirt path through the picnic area and follow signs to Marlette Lake. Mostly sun exposed. Great wildflowers in early summer. Trailhead at Spooner Lake State Park, 12.7 miles south of Incline Village on Hwy. 28. 

Secret Harbor & Chimney Beach  |  Easy  |  3 miles RT  |  Dogs OK
Follow the trail to Chimney Beach trail and follow the trail to the end and over a group of boulders to reach the sandy beaches of Secret Harbor (the wooden steps off the trail lead to the nude beach at Secret Cove). West end of picnic area across from Emerald Bay, Hwy. 28, 5.91 miles south of Incline Village.

Skunk Harbor  | Moderate  |  2.8 miles RT  |  Dogs OK
This interesting hike ends at a beautiful cove lined with boulders and a luxurious sandy beach on the edge of Lake Tahoe with some of the warmest waters around the lake. Visitors can look inside the historic party house owned by George and Caroline Newhall in the 1920s along beach.

Heavy sun exposure in the afternoon. Follow the trail to the cove; junction on left after three-tenths of a mile leads to Slaughterhouse Canyon. 11.4 miles south of InclineVillage on Hwy. 28, gated road below crest of hill on lake side. Park north of gate; do not block gate.

Spooner Lake  |  Easy  |  1.8-mile loop  |  Dogs on leash only  |  Kid friendly
Spooner Lake is a great, easy hike for any season from summer to spring to fall with interpretive displays. 12.7 miles south of Incline Village, Hwy. 28 at Spooner Lake State Park. Parking fee.

North Shore

Picnic Rock  |  Moderate  |  3.6 miles RT  |  Dogs OK
This aptly named hike is the perfect way to combine a picnic lunch or dinner with a little exercise and a lot of fresh air. Just off the Tahoe Rim Trail, the expansive view from the top provides a panorama of both Lake Tahoe and the Martis Valley. A single track winds up, offering a gradual climb with no technical challenges, until reaching Picnic Rock, an old volcanic rock. Hwy. 267 north of Kings Beach for 3.8 miles below Brockway Summit and park in left side of the road. Follow Tahoe Rim Trail 1.6 miles, turn left at unmarked junction.

Stateline Lookout  |  Easy  |  .5 miles RT  |  Dogs OK  |  Kid friendly
This short hike offers superb views of Lake Tahoe. A short, self-guided nature trail explains the history of the North Shore. Take Hwy. 28 to Crystal Bay and turn left on Reservoir Drive, just past the Tahoe Biltmore Casino. Turn right on Lakeview Avenue, then park before the gate (do not block gate or driveways). May drive to the top when gate is open.

South Shore

Lower and Upper Echo Lakes  |  Easy  |  2.4-4.8 miles RT  |  Dogs OK
Lower and Upper Echo Lakes is a little-known paradise perched atop Echo Summit, 5 miles west of Meyers on Hwy. 50.

Take Hwy. 89 through South Lake Tahoe until it becomes Highway 50 (about 30 miles from Tahoe City). Continue about 5 miles west of Meyers and turn left on Echo Lakes Road to the upper parking lot. The trailhead begins at water’s edge next to the dam.

Once you reach Upper Echo Lake, 2.4 miles from the start, you’ll see a kiosk at a dock for a taxi. You can take a taxi back or return the way you came, or continue into Desolation

Wilderness. The ride is a relaxing 20-minute tour through the channels connecting the two lakes. Parking fee. (530) 659-7207. Call for taxi schedule.

West Shore

Cascade Lake  |  Moderate  |  1.4 miles RT  |  Dogs OK
This boulder-strewn hike takes hikers to the waterfall descending from Desolation Wilderness into Cascade Lake. The falls are raging in the spring and are often a trickle by late summer. Since the trail is exposed to the sun throughout the day, save this hike for the morning or early evening. This will be a workout for your knees. Near the end of the trail, walk up a large, flat boulder to the top of a hill where the trail can become confusing. Look for wooden posts marking the trail. Trailhead at end of Bayview Campground off Hwy. 89, 21.5 miles south of Tahoe City. Not recommended for small children or small dogs.

Eagle Rock  |  Easy-Moderate  |  1 mile RT  |  Dogs not recommended  |  Kid friendly
6.5 miles south of Tahoe City on Hwy. 89. Dirt area for parking on west side of road. Quick hike to the top of a volcanic outcropping offers panoramic views of the area.

Eagle Falls & Lake  |  East-Moderate  |  3 miles RT  |  Dogs OK
Great views of Lake Tahoe & Emerald Bay. Falls 5-minute walk from parking lot. Steady ascent to Eagle Lake. West end of picnic area across from Emerald Bay, Hwy. 89, 18.2 miles south of Tahoe City. TART

Emerald Bay & Vikingsholm Castle  |  Moderate  |  2.5 miles+ RT  |  No dogs
Steep descent to Vikingsholm Castle. Can continue to Eagle & Emerald Points around the bay for easy hikes. Connects to Rubicon Trail (see below). Park on either side of rocky overlook in Emerald Bay on Hwy. 89, 18.2 miles south of Tahoe City. TART

Granite Lake  |  Moderate  |  2.2 miles RT  |  Dogs OK
A small alpine lake situated on the cusp of Desolation Wilderness, the hike is a popular entrance for hikers and equestrians to the back country and a spectacular trek towering over the pristine waters of Emerald Bay. Steady ascent of 850’ in less than 1 mile. Trailhead at end of Bayview Campground off Hwy. 89, 21.5 miles south of Tahoe City.

Homewood  |  Moderate to strenuous  |  Trails vary  |  No dogs
Homewood has opened a free trail network to hikers on mountain accessible from the North and South lodges; lifts will not be running for trail access. Trails map at Retail Shop or skihomewood.com. TART

Page Meadows  |  Easy to moderate  |  4-6 miles RT  |  Dogs OK
The hike to Page Meadows is a local favorite because of its easy access and beautiful scenery through forests to an expanse of several meadows. You can start the hike to Page Meadows from 64 Acres along the Tahoe Rim Trail. Starting from the 64 Acres parking lot, just south of the Tahoe City wye on Hwy. 89, follow the road along the Truckee River. The paved section turns to a dirt road and after passing the second gate and crossing a small creek, you’ll see the familiar Tahoe Rim Trail blue marker.

Follow the TRT through several gentle switchbacks as you begin to climb. The trail will pass above Granlibakken, where you’ll see a turnoff to the resort. You can take a short side trip down this path for an array of blooming flowers including Mule’s Ears and lupine. Continue along the TRT, where the trail is lined with Snowplant (a protected flower), lupine, flowering Manzanita, Snowberry, Crimson Columbine and various other wildflowers. The climb continues for the first 2 miles until you reach an intersection of trails. Follow the TRT marker for Ward Creek Road for about 1 mile until you reach the meadows. Follow the trail back to 64 Acres.

For an easy, 4-mile alternative, take Hwy. 89 south of Tahoe City for 2 miles and turn right on Pineland Drive. Take the left fork at Twin Peak Road, which turns into Ward Creek Boulevard, for 1.5 miles until you see an unmarked, gated road. Park on either side and follow the trail; do not block the gate. TART

Rubicon Trail & Lighthouse  |  Moderate  |  9 miles RT  |  No dogs
Hike starts at Calawee Cove at D.L. Bliss State Park or Emerald Bay. Trail follows cliffs and coves along Lake Tahoe, nesting ospreys and eagles, short side trail to Rubicon Lighthouse. Although the lighthouse was only used from 1916 to 1919 to warn sailors of the dangerous rocks just below the water’s surface, during its short use the lighthouse was considered the world’s highest elevation maritime navigation light. Parking fee.

Sugar Pine Point State Park  |  Easy  |  1.5 miles RT  |  Dogs OK on paved trails only  |  Kid friendly
If you’re looking for a nice, relaxing hike, try the Edward F. Dolder Nature Trail skirting Lake Tahoe through the park’s nature preserve. Take Hwy. 89 10 miles south of Tahoe City. Follow the paved trail past the beach and into the woods. The trail loops through the forest past an array of wildflowers and through several sections of dense slash bleached nearly white from years of sun exposure.

There are great spots to relax on the beach. There’s also a spectacular view, a spattering of downed trees and underbrush of meadow buttercups. Once you’re back on the trail, you’ll come across another side path leading to the Sugar Pine Point Lighthouse, which is not really a lighthouse, but a navigational beacon. Parking fee. TART


The Tahoe Rim Trail is a 164.8-mile loop trail that encircles Lake Tahoe. The trail is open to hikers and equestrians, and mountain bikers in some sections. It is generally moderate in difficulty, with a 10 percent average grade and elevations ranging from 6,300 to 10,333’. The trail is marked with light-blue triangular Tahoe Rim Trail markers. There are eight trailheads around Lake Tahoe. Guided hikes are offered in the summer. Visit tahoerimtrail.org for maps, guided hikes and descriptions.


Alpine Meadows

Five Lakes  |  Strenuous  |  5 miles RT  |  Dogs prohibited May 15-July 15
Five Lakes is a great hike inside Granite Chief Wilderness, with the first 1 mile+ a steady ascent with great views of Alpine Meadows (be sure to stop and look back). Trailhead 1.8 miles up Alpine Meadows Road from Hwy. 89 on the right side across from the intersection with Deer Park Drive. Look for a well-worn path leading to the trail (designated by a large brown kiosk). Dogs prohibited during fawning season for deer.


Shirley Canyon & Shirley Lake  |  Moderate-Strenuous  |  5 miles RT  |  Dogs OK
This trail is your best bet for seeing how those snowy slopes look in summertime. This lovely hike follows a creek as it passes by waterfalls and spectacular granite boulders along Shirley Creek. As you climb, the trail may sometimes be hard to distinguish, so keep the creek on your right going up and on your left going down. Can continue a strenuous climb to High Camp and take the Aerial Tram back to Squaw Valley (check schedule in advance). Follow Squaw Valley Road from Hwy. 89 to the ski area, take a right at the Tram building onto Squaw Peak Road, park at the end (about half a mile up) and follow the sandy path at the end of the condo development to the trailhead. Tram opens May 22. TART 

Squaw & Emigrant Peaks  |  (530) 583-6985  |  squaw.com  |  Moderate  |  3.4-4.4 miles RT  |  Dogs OK
Ride the Aerial Tram to High Camp, elev. 8,200’, and choose from a variety of trails (with maps available from Guest Services or online). Climb to the weathered buttresses atop Squaw Peak, visit the historic Watson Monument at Emigrant Peak or meander through the meadows covered with wildflowers, and enjoy the panoramic views afforded from Squaw’s spacious upper mountain. Dogs must be leashed while riding the Aerial Tram and inside any buildings or facilities at High Camp. Aerial Tram ticket required; check schedule in advance. Tram opens May 22. TART

Mount Rose

Mount Rose  |  Strenuous  |  6 miles RT  |  Dogs OK
Mount Rose at 10,776’, is one of the highest peaks near Lake Tahoe and offers spectacular views of the Lake, Reno and the Tahoe Basin. Follow a dirt road for 3 miles through a forest full of Lodgepole, mule ears and sagebrush. A meadow at the halfway point bears lupine, paintbrush and larkspur. The last 2 miles follow slippery switchbacks to the ridge line. Don’t forget to sign the log book when you make it to the top. Take Hwy. 431 north from Incline Village. Park at the trailhead 1 mile before (south of) the summit.


Donner Lake Rim Trail  |  Strenuous  |  Up to 15 miles RT  |  Dogs OK
This trail is being built by the Truckee Donner Land Trust with volunteer labor. When complete, the Donner Lake Rim Trail will offer trail users a 23-mile loop through the high country surrounding Donner Lake. Currently 15 miles are complete. Hike the entire trail or sections.

Negro Canyon has nice shady spots, aspen groves, lots of wildlife and great sections of the Donner Lake Rim Trail. Negro Canyon is located off the Donner Lake Interchange. The
trail begins, and at this point is called Wendin Way, just behind
the gate, located about 100’ behind the Donner Lake Rim Trail
kiosk. Turn left on the trail, and begin a gentle climb for about
1.5 miles to the junction with the Donner Lake Rim Trail.

A right turn here will take you up a series of switchbacks to Donner Ridge, offering spectacular views as the reward for a steep climb. A left turn will take you through often open country with great views, and on to Summit Lake (about 3.5 miles further.) Off Interstate 80, take Donner Lake Interchange. Proceed down off ramp, and make a right turn onto a dirt road. The parking lot is on the right, marked with a trail head kiosk. Visit tdlandtrust.org for access points.

Glacier Meadow Loop  |  Easy  |  .5 miles RT  |  Dogs OK  |  Kid friendly
This is a short, self-guided nature loop offering a half-hour walk with informational signs along the way that explain how glacial action carved and polished the surface landscape. Take Interstate 80 West from Truckee to the Castle Peak/Boreal Ridge Road exit. Follow signs to the Tahoe National Forest Trailhead.

Martis Creek Wildlife Area  |  Easy  |  3 miles RT  |  Dogs OK
Loop through Martis Creek meadow for a level walk along the creek. Lots of dogs on this trail. Connects with Tompkins Memorial Trail. Off Hwy. 267, about 6 miles from Interstate 80. Look for Wildlife Viewing Area sign and turn right into the parking area. Dog waste required to be picked up.

Pacific Crest Trail/Mount Judah Loop  |  Moderate  |  4.6 miles RT  |  Dogs OK
This 4.6-mile loop offers many excellent vista points on the way including awe-inspiring views from the summit of Mount Judah. There is a section of the loop that connects with the Pacific Crest Trail. Pack plenty of water. Take Soda Springs exit off Interstate 80 and follow Donner Pass Road for 3.7 miles and turn onto Mark Lake Road next to Sugar Bowl Academy. Follow signs for the PCT, and then Mount Judah.


Mileage is roundtrip, with levels based on family access. All trails are heavily used on weekends.


Truckee & North Lake Tahoe: laketahoetransit.com
South Lake Tahoe: bluego.org