Half Moon Lake is a 11 mile out and back trail located near South Lake Tahoe, California that features a great forest setting and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and backpacking and is best used from July until October.
Beautiful beautiful hike, little longer than expected although we did see Grass Lake, Shirley Lake, and others in the distance. Plan your time so your out before dark, the hike down is hard on your knees so be careful and bring a knee brace. Fishing was amazing at Half Moon Lake, we caught one every cast and released it. Next time we want to plan an over night stay because it really is amazing up there.
This quick review is for Half Moon Lake in Desolation Wilderness. However, we normally approach from the Glen Alpine trail head at Fallen Leaf lake and go left at Gilmore lake branch off. You will pick your way along the right edge of a wet marshy area until you reach the base of falls. Lakes are to your left from there. When taking this hike from the Glen Alpine trail head be prepared for pockets of standing water at the beginning of this hike, especially in early spring. If looking for high alpine views this is not your hike. Half Moon Lake is a small shallow lake nestled into a nice secluded pocket of privacy. Not much direct sun either, as it has less southern exposure than normal due to the way it is tucked in along the bottom of the mountains. Attraction here is a nice misty light waterfall cascading from high above. When camping at Half Moon Lake this small cascading sheet of water is what will gently put you to sleep or keep you awake. Some small fish can be coaxed into your frying pan once in a while if late enough in the season. This is an easy to moderate hike of 6 - 7 miles one way. Spend a second night at Gilmore Lake and stand atop Mt.Tallac for a great view of Lake Tahoe, via a fairly easy 1.5 mile saunter from Gilmore Lake up the back side of Mt.Tallac. Elevation and getting back down before dark are only concerns here, aside from the crowds if you are hiking on weekends. Desolation Wilderness is typically busy due to it's proximity to the Tourism crowds and small size. Moderate traffic and crowds should be expected most of the time.