TAHOE RIM TRAIL
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. tahoerimtrail.org
Marlette Lake Moderate | 9 miles RT | Dogs
Walk along the dirt path through the picnic area and follow signs to Marlette Lake. Mostly sun exposed. Great wildflowers in early summer. Start at Spooner Lake State Park.
Secret Harbor & Chimney Beach Easy | 3 miles RT | Dogs
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). Off Hwy. 28.
Skunk Harbor Moderate | 2.8 miles RT | Dogs
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. Park north of gate; do not block gate off Hwy. 28.
Spooner Lake Easy | 1.8-mile loop | Dogs/Kids
Spooner Lake is a great, easy hike for any season with interpretive displays. At Spooner Lake State Park.
Picnic Rock Moderate | 3.6 miles RT | Dogs
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. Off Hwy. 267.
Stateline Lookout Easy | .5 miles RT | Dogs/Kids
This short hike offers superb views of Lake Tahoe. A short, self-guided nature trail explains the history of the North Shore. Hwy. 28 in Crystal Bay.
Lower & Upper Echo Lakes Easy | 2.4-4.8 miles RT | Dogs
Lower and Upper Echo Lakes is a little-known paradise perched atop Echo Summit, 5 miles west of Meyers on Hwy. 50. 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. Taxi schedule (530) 659-7207.
Cascade Lake Moderate | 1.4 miles RT | Dogs
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 Bayview Campground off Hwy. 89. Not recommended for small children or small dogs.
Eagle Rock Moderate | 1 mile RT | Kids
A quick hike to the top of a volcanic outcropping offers panoramic views of the area off Hwy. 89 south of Tahoe City.
Eagle Falls & Lake Easy-Moderate | .1-3 miles RT | Dogs/Kids
Great views of Lake Tahoe & Emerald Bay. Falls 5-minute walk from parking lot. Steady ascent to Eagle Lake not recommended for young children. West end of picnic area across from Emerald Bay, Hwy. 89.
Emerald Bay & Vikingsholm Castle Moderate | 2.5 miles+ RT | No dogs | Handicap accessible
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. Call ahead for ADA access (530) 525-9529.
Granite Lake Moderate | 2.2 miles RT | Dogs
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 Bayview Campground off Hwy. 89.
Page Meadows Easy-moderate | 4-6 miles RT | Dogs
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 off Hwy. 89 along the Tahoe Rim Trail for a longer hike or from Ward Creek Boulevard off Hwy. 89.
Rubicon Trail & Lighthouse Easy-Moderate | .5-9 miles | No dogs/Kids
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, which is easy to access with small children. 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. The Rubicon Trail continues to Emerald Bay with spectacular views and secluded coves. Look for nesting eagles and ospreys.
Balancing rock Easy | .5 miles | Kids
A short, self-guided nature trail featuring Balancing Rock, an overlying rock of 130 tones balanced on a rock below.
Sugar Pine Point State Park Easy | 1.5 miles RT | Kids/Handicap accessible
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. The paved 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 below the Ehrman Mansion. Other trails accessible throughout the park. TART
Five Lakes Strenuous | 5 miles RT | Dogs
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 across from 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 May 15-July 15.
Shirley Canyon & Shirley Lake Easy-Strenuous | .5-5 miles RT |Dogs/Kids
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. And, the first section that follows Shirley Creek is great for kids. 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 to the valley (check schedule at squawalpine.com).
Squaw & Emigrant Peaks Moderate | 3.4-4.4 miles RT | Dogs/Kids
Ride the Aerial Tram to High Camp, elev. 8,200’, and choose from a variety of trails (with maps available from Guest Services or squawalpine.com). 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. Tram ticket required; check schedule. Hikes in the meadows good for small children; older kids to reach peaks.
Mount Rose Strenuous | 10 miles RT | Dogs
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. Park at the trailhead off Hwy. 431 1 mile before (south of) the summit.
Glacier Meadow Loop Easy | .5 miles RT | Dogs/Kids
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.
Martis Creek Wildlife Area Easy | 4 miles RT | Dogs/Kids
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. Look for Wildlife Viewing Area sign and turn right into the parking area. Dog waste must be picked up.
Pacific Crest Trail/Mount Judah Loop Moderate | 4.6 miles RT | Dogs
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.