Big Meadow to Round Lake

MODERATE 23 reviews
#16 of 70 trails in

Big Meadow to Round Lake is a 5.9 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near South Lake Tahoe, CA that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

5.9 miles 1253 feet Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly

birding

fishing

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

hiking
1 month ago

3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

This trail is short but fairly demanding. It's a constant minor grade for the extent of the rail after you pass through the meadow. That being said, it is entirely worth the effort. The lake is fairly deep and on surrounded by hills and mountains. On one side there is a mountain that looks completely alien to its environment. It's really spectacular. We were able to climb some of the smaller granite hills that surround one side of the lake for some incredible views. Saw a water snake or two by the rocks, and heard plenty of beautiful bird calls. Bring some bug spray as the mosquitos are out in full force from the forest to the water side. My young dog loved the trip but I'd refrain from bringing any old dogs or young children. All in all a trail I'll definitely be visiting again.

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Many types of experiences with forests, plateaus and lake. Amazing. Not very steep but you are going up most of the way. Trail is well travelled and clear. You'll definitely run into other hikers and campers. Make sure you pack insect repellent as once you hit forest you will be swarming with mosquitos. We went for day and took about 4.5 hours rt since we explored lake once there. You can do it in 3-5 depending on shape you are in. Had I known lake was so amazing, I would have camped out.

backpacking
5 months ago

Beautiful hike and perfect for an overnight backpacking trip. The trail is beautifully maintained. We went from Big Meadow to Round Lake, and then made our way to Lake Dardanelles where we set up camp for the night. The only negative is that there are a ton of mosquitoes, so even if you use copious amounts of DEET, you're likely to get bitten up. Other than that, it was such a beautiful hike.

hiking
5 months ago

This is a nice easy walk with great wildflower views. It is always buggy so bring a long sleeve shirt. Popular hike so start early to avoid the crowd.

5 months ago

5 months ago

Loved it bring your bug spray

snowshoeing
7 months ago

We finally made it to round lake. 3.5 hours and 8.4 miles.
The snow is melting fast so we didn't have to use our shoe's much. Great trail!

snowshoeing
11 months ago

I'm only doing a post on this due to the description showing snowshoeing. I did not finish nor get to where I wanted to be. I would advise getting familiar with the trail before snow shoeing. I had never hiked this trail and the 2' of fresh powder we had made it just that much harder to stay on track, plus the GPS fades out in the trees. The snow was deep and I was trail blazing in the fresh powder. The wife was cold; 5deg out when we pulled up. Had to jump down and cross the road with 4' walls of snow on each side. The hike was good until we got to the Big Meadow; fresh powder and 25+mph wind made it fun to cross. This is when she decided she had enough. I guess I'll have to go back next week to give it another shot!

1 year ago

Hike in was not too hard and the lake was perfect. There were only two other campers out there so we had our pick of any place to set up our camp. Fishing was pretty slow but we only fished for a couple of hours. This would be a great place to take the family. I would highly recommend it!

hiking
1 year ago

It was an alright hike. 6+ miles round trip and took approximately 3 hours. Not too difficult or too easy. The view at the end was at par with the efforts required.

hiking
1 year ago

No messing around, switchbacks at the start after you cross 89, but they aren't bad with some nice steps. The reward is a very nice meadow with a creek if you need to filter some water or even camp if you arrived late in the day on an multiday backpacking trip. The meadow leads to a nice forest with a packed, but dusty trail at times. You gain elevation in the forest until you reach the ridge above the lake. A descent down to the lake is a short hop and not bad on the way out if you are doing a out and back. Nice lake with interesting geology in this area.

1 year ago

This was a beautiful hike, albeit a little more difficult than we expected at first. I think it would be safe to say that the first 3 miles are all uphill. Our GPS clocked this at closer to 9 miles. Took us about 3 hours round trip, and we spent an hour at the lake swimming. The water was beautiful and the bottom of the lake was nice and sandy/silty once you got a few feet from shore.
The trailhead/parking area is well marked and easy to find. By the time we got to the lake it was just us and nature. Just stunning.

hiking
1 year ago

This is a great hike - 6.5 miles out and back. I went with my younger dog and left the 10 yo Lab at home since we had done the Big Meadows to Scott Lake 2 days before. I parked on the side of the road and started my gps from the trailhead at that point. Enjoy the walk through Big Meadows cuz it's a fairly consistent uphill incline until the end. There are rock steps and rail steps built into the trail at different points. I went mid day and it wasn't very hot and there is fairly good shade from the trees but the trail is at 8000 feet so I wouldn't use the word "easy" to describe the hike. I'm also 54 but an avid hiker nevertheless, I'd rate this as "moderate". The flora and fauna are fantastic and as a new resident to Tahoe, I look forward to seeing Big Meadows in bloom next spring. Finally, you reach a downhill switchback at about mile 3, as you go down, you remind yourself that it's the only uphill portion on the return. When you get to the bottoms of the hill, stay left and you arrive at around Lake in about 1/4 mile. It is breathtaking! Surrounded by trees and volcanic rock walls, it is something to see. I was doing a day trip but people were hiking in to camp for the weekend. The water is clear and people were swimming - one guy just stripped down "au naturel" and dove in which seemed entirely appropriate given the setting. The were only 2 other people there when I arrived. As I left, I passed about 10 people hiking in to camp for the weekend. There was fishing and I think you could navigate around the entire lake. There were smooth, sandy areas for camping. It was a hike with a huge payoff. I took the hike to Scott Lake 2 days before which is relatively easy - but the lake feels old and dead. Surrounded by broken trunks of trees and dark, dank water. The Round Lake hike is an example of why I hike! Bring lots of water!

hiking
1 year ago

The correct map for this hike is at the following link (remove the spaces). It seems that there are two different entries for this hike.

alltrails .com / trail / us / california / big-meadow-to-round-lake

hiking
1 year ago

The correct map for this hike is at the link below, this hike seems to have two different entries.

hiking
1 year ago

Trailhead at the parking lot says that this is 6 miles out and back, but our GPS and a separate pedometer had this at 7.5, so I'm not sure how mileage is being measured. GPS had the elevation gain at 1,001 feet. It was a little more of a hike than we expected, but we enjoyed it, and had a great time at the lake. Nice that the profile is mostly downhill on the way back :-)

camping
2 years ago

Great hike for kids. A bit tough at times with the initial ascent from Hwy 89 parking lot, but the Big Meadow is a nice break. Still uphill most of the way after that, but with a few breaks my 10 yr old daughter did great. 2 nights at Round Lake (no fish!) and a climb out from the lake then easy cruising downhill all the way to the car. This is WAY easier than when we came here from the Carson Pass side last year!