Tahoe Rim Trail to Meiss Lake

MODERATE 4 reviews
#33 of 74 trails in

Tahoe Rim Trail to Meiss Lake is a 7.8 mile out and back trail located near Markleeville, CA that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and cross country skiing and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

7.8 miles 1020 feet Out & Back

dog friendly



cross country skiing




wild flowers


This is a relatively easy trail from just below Carson Pass on Highway 88 to Meiss Lake. It includes fantastic views of the surrounding peaks, Caples Lake, and Lake Tahoe, and is an excellent swimming destination in the summer, plus a great snow camping destination in the winter. The trail is the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). It is 4 miles from the parking lot to Meiss lake, with an elevation gain of about 300 feet as you climb over the saddle before dropping down to Meiss valley. The trail is well sign-posted and marked. It follows the highway for a little over 1/4 a mile before turning right into a wooded valley. After another 1/4 mile, there is a moderate climb up to the pass, before a gentle slope down to Meiss valley. The remaining 2.5 miles is flat and easy. Shortly after the trail drops into the valley, there is a fork. You will leave the PCT and take the left (eastern) fork, which is an old jeep route. After a short distance you will see Meiss lake to your left (west). It is the warmest lake in the Lake Tahoe region and great for swimming, although it is quite shallow. Return the way you came. In the winter, most people ignore the PCT and simply navigate directly to the saddle. Navigation here is very easy on a clear day as there are few trees 100 feet above the parking lot, and so the visibility is excellent. If you ignore the PCT and take a more direct route, there will be more climbing. Beware the avalanche point on the north of the saddle, on the western side. It creates a terrain trap out of the trail and can be dangerous. As always in the winter, be very careful with navigation, the weather can change fast here.

4 months ago

It was great. Still needs a little more time for flowers to bloom and more snow to melt. I will go back in another month.

1 year ago

Only went to Meiss Cabin, about 3.5 miles from the TH. LOVELY hike and scenery. Late summer, so the meadow wasn't very green and there were very few flowers, but there was still water for the dogs and grand scenery.

3 years ago

Took my daughter to Round Lake in May '13 using the Meiss trail from Hwy 88. About 5 miles each way, the meandering first part of the trail starts a steady climb to amazing views over the pass. Dropping down through plenty of wide snow patches into a flat valley there were a few small river crossings, some with just enough water to make them a bit tricky this time of year. At the end of the valley a well marked trailhead turns right towards Round Lake. A beautiful lake at the end of the trail is a great reward and Round Lake doesn't disappoint. Nice camp sites, and a great day-hike around the perimeter is a nice way to kill some time. No fish caught but we tried a few times and had fun. The trip back to the car after 2 nights started with a bit of drizzle then turned to sleet. After bagging our packs and putting on ponchos, we made it to the valley where there were 40 mph winds and full-on snow storm. With 2.5 miles of climbing over the pass, we kept pushing, trying to keep the trail through the old snow patches that were quickly being covered by fresh powder. With some assurance, my daughter was a super-trooper and we kept a slow, steady pace and made it over the top and back into the rain elevations. The parking lot was a great sight and it only took an extra hour through that storm.

3 years ago

This is a wonderful and easy trail in the winter. It leads right out of the Sno-Park and has fantastic view of the frozen-over Caples Lake to the south and Lake Tahoe to the North.

There is great snow camping in the Meiss valley, and lots of fun little critters that leave tracks all over the place. We saw bobcat and coyote tracks, as well as a whole lot of rabbits.

Highly recommended for an easy day out in the snow. I am sure it is really nice in the summer too.