This is a beautiful hike, but it's rated hard for a reason! Some of the trail markers are different than the names on the trail map so it's easy to lose your way. There are multiple lakes and a couple small waterfalls, even during the summer, and the changes in terrain are amazing, but the last couple miles of the hike are extremely steep and it's easy to lose the trail. I can imagine coming up from that end of the loop would have been even harder. At the very end there's a sign stating that it is not maintained, would have been nice to know. All in all it took us 2.5 hours longer than we expected, accounting for the times we had to turn back after going down incorrect trails. Be sure you leave prepared and give yourself plenty of time! If you do this you will be greatly rewarded. It was absolutely gorgeous and quite a work out. At the end before descending the steepest part of the trail there's a breathtaking view of both Fallen Leaf Lake and South Lake Tahoe. Happy trails!!
This has been one of my favorite hikes along the Tahoe Rim Trail so far. We had one vehicle, but doing some research, I found that we can park at Echo Summit (Adventure Mt.) walk a short distance to the Hawley Grade Trail and make our way Upper Trucky Rd and access the Big Meadow Trail-head. It added a good amount of distance on our overnight but it was part of the adventure. Our goal was to make Showers Lake and camp out, but it was fairly crowded by the time we arrived. We pushed a couple more miles and found a clearing and some great solitude at one the higher points of this hike. I could not have asked for a better view to wake up to. There were still some snow patches, but not enough to slow us down and tons of streams, creeks, and lakes to keep us going. Do not miss out on seeing Neiss Cabin and take on all the hike has to offer.