Tamarak Lake

MODERATE 10 reviews
#15 of 74 trails in

Tamarak Lake is a 7.1 mile out and back trail located near South Lake Tahoe, CA and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and horses and is accessible from March until November. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

7.1 miles 770 feet Out & Back

dog friendly


horseback riding

Delightful secluded lake on Tahoe Rim Trail, short, rocky climb - water taxi! Don't let the modest distance/gain to Tamarack fool you. This is such a rocky climb you can wear out just trying to keep your footing, especially if not used to hiking at almost 7,800 ft. Views of Echo lakes and surrounding peaks are incredibly breathtaking, with flowers, aspens, pines, critters. Tamarack Lake is a perfect destination for beginners, small children, or the 1st overnight hike trip. Horses are allowed but trail is very rocky, with large boulders & many smaller, loose rocks covering the trail (hard on dog paws). The water taxi is great fun, but waiting for it may add up to an hour to your hike. Thrilling when the boat slows in narrow channel between upper & lower Echo lakes. Continue on the Tahoe Rim Trail past the signed turn to Tamarack, you'll reach Lake Aloha just past the meadows -- worth the longer, more strenuous hike. Permits are required to hike in the Desolation Wilderness (n/c) & are available at both upper/lower Echo lakes.

19 days ago

It was a good choice for my first backpacking experience. The last up incline was a killer with all the loose shale and uneven terrain. The lake is pretty and not to populated for overnight stays

1 month ago

2 months ago

Great mid-August hike. Beautiful weather, beautiful views. Very little climb, easy on the knees. Lake views for most of the trek. Should wear mid-thick soled shoes. Lots of dogs on the trail :) defs get an early start on weekend days- lots of people want go enjoy this Sierra beauty.

2 months ago

Tamarack and Ralston Lake (just 5 mins beyond) are gorgeous! I took water taxi ($14 one way) to far end of Echo Lake so Tamarack Lake was only 1 mile hike, then went to Ralston Lake and hiked all the way back to parking lot, so about 6 miles total. Hike along ridge above Echo Lake was quite sunny and hot with very little shade so I'm glad I only did it one way. When you arrive at Tamarack Lake, consider leaving something at the trail to mark your return path (like water bottle or jacket) bc it may be hard to find it again, esp if you go on to Ralston Lake. Bring $ for ice cream at Echo Lake Chalet at the conclusion of your hike!

3 months ago

3 months ago

Took the water taxi as we had a first time hiker whom was 7 yrs old. We camped at lake tamarack. Really gorgeous views, can't wait to return abs explore some more!

4 months ago

We took the water taxi to the end of Upper Echo Lake and hiked to the trail for Tamarack Lake. We wanted to see how far we could get before the snow got too deep so we continues towards Lake of the Woods. We made it about another half a mile before we got into snow. So we turned around and took the trail to Tamarack Lake. The lake was still partially frozen over but the ground around it was clear of snow. Took the trail all the way back to the Chalet at Lower Echo Lake. I'd expect to be able to get into Lake of the Woods within another 1-2 weeks at the rate the snow is melting. This was a beautiful hike.

2 years ago

Beautiful hike! Loved it. The only downside are all the people. The rest of Desolation is isolated, or at least gives the impression with few hikers, but this trail to Tamarack was very crowded. Parking was crazy! People were parked way out into the road narrowing it down to a one lane road. We walked down to the Chalet and decided to take the boat taxi because it sounded like a unique start to the day. We then hiked to Tamarack for lunch, and hiked back to the Chalet. Beautiful views and beautiful granite. The trail was marked. It was at the junction of Triangle and the PCT.

3 years ago

Great hiking and ill do it again. <3

4 years ago

There's no water taxi in sept. you must hike around echo lake to get to the unmarked trail head. The directions from this site are very wrong.