Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT): Big Meadow to Echo Summit loop is a 20 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near South Lake Tahoe, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October.
Between Big Meadow and Echo Summit, the trail wanders from meadows to lakes to creeks, and through dense stands of pine, fir and aspen. The trail heads south from Big Meadow trailhead across a gently rolling landscape of grassy meadows and fragrant conifer stands. The shaded shores of Round Lake is nestled beneath high cliffs. Further on, the TRT merges with the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT) and swings north through flower filled Meiss Meadows and alongside the cool head waters of the Upper Truckee River. The trail then climbs past granite lined shores of Showers Lake and through a rocky bowl where seasonal creeks tumble down steep ridges into lush meadows. Further north the landscape becomes more rugged and much drier, and opens into occasional views of Lake Tahoe. The trail drops over a granite ridge in a long steep downhill traverse before leveling off. A small stream outlined with ferns and flowers provides a refreshing respite before the short ascent to the Echo Summit Trailhead.
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.