Explore Hard Hikes - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Hard Hikes Map
22 hours ago

A beautiful trail which starts off hard due to incline but easy to follow and the downhill section had a couple of nice little waterfalls/creeks. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

I hiked this trail in January so it had rained recently. There were a few streams cutting through the trail path, most you are able to just go through without a problem, I did get my feet soaked at a couple locations, but other times I had to back track and pick a different path due to the depth of the water. This was not a big deal to me but keep that in mind if you are planning on hiking it during the wet months. Overall, it’s a beautiful and peaceful hike.

14 days ago

Really loved this trail. From the parking lot which is on Cherokee Road, take the left trail of the first fork to follow the trail and follow the stream. You’ll be able to see a first waterfall where you can hike down and take a break if you want. However if you choose to down to the first waterfall, take the same trail back up and look for the other trail that is also close to the stream where you’ll be able to see barbed wire and follow the stream where you’ll be able to see the additional two waterfalls with the last one being the Phantom falls. Just magnificent. I would rate this hike as pretty easy that I’m thinking of taking my dad to this one.

15 days ago

Amazing trail!!

Dewy, but not wet. Road full of cars, but only saw three people.

No matter how many times I do this trail, it still kicks my butt!! Short trail, but the change in elevation gets the heart pumping. I generally follow the trail out towards Cool to get a little more distance in for the day.

And running back down the hill makes the hike up soooooo worth it!

20 days ago

Short but very steep hike. I did the shorter version but next time I'll push myself to go the extra .7 miles. I wouldn't recommend for beginners.

Lots of ups and downs, mountain bikers, and trees. Still gorgeous and not too challenging

Have done this hike quite a few times in every season. Easy hike with nice views of the hills.

Took me about 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete. The view from on top of the ridge was fantastic and there were even a few picnic tables if you wanted to hike up and have lunch. All the people I came across were very friendly, although I didn’t see a soul from mile two on. The trail to get down to the river is marked as emergency access so if you see that sign you’re going the right way! Don’t let the first incline scare you away, there are ups and downs the entire trail so you get breaks

I did the full Olmstead Loop. This is a pretty hike on a beautiful fall day. The trails are mostly flat, with a few uphill climbs around Knickerbocker Creek. Saw a coyote and many birds. I got a tick despite wearing long sleeves and pants, so I’ll wear bugspray next time.

on Training Hill

1 month ago

did this today after some rain. Trail fine with hiking boots though I can see some parts being slippery with other shoes. The first part is still steep (I keep on thinking it's changed) but very doable, just take your time. Not much scenery until the top and on the way back but still very nice.

trail running
1 month ago

Great place for training. Go counter clockwise twice for a good workout.

The parking lot is pretty slippery. I attempted the hike, but had to abort after 1.2 miles in because the snow was falling pretty good and I didn't want my truck to be stuck the next morning. That said, it is a pretty hike in the snow. If you are thinking of accomplishing this hike this time of year, I suggest chains and 4 wheel drive (of which, I have neither (yet)).

It seems like this might be mostly a bike trail - I only saw one other hiker to about 10 bikers. It was a beautiful rainy day hike!

Seemed that the trail is a lot longer than noted on the map so be prepared with extra water and snacks. We hiked during a smokey day from nearby fire so could be it was a bit more difficult to breathe that day. Lake is surrounded by volcanic geology so not the typical sierra granite style lake. Eagles nest in the cliffs so you might get to see them fly over the lake if you are lucky!

Super fun hike with my mom, my 8 year old, and carrying my 4 month old. We went only about 1.8 in before turning back. I didn’t know what to expect with the “falls” and found it to be jaw dropping. Look for trail markers on trees to stay on trail. Beautiful views of lake as well.

Very nice well marked trail. Pretty much all uphill on-way but nothing too hard. Very pleasant scenery. Would be awesome around october because of all the aspen trees. Although I hiked it, it would be a nice beginner MTB trail. Some rocks at the beginning you could walk but a good trail without death cliffs. :)

2 months ago

We had to park about a half mile before the trail head. The gate is closed for the winter. The trail in was pretty nice. The lake was very low and a disappointment.
Some water and Lakes are starting to freeze over so watch the weather.
For some reason my phone decided to stop recording for a period of time.
Time for a new phone!

mountain biking
2 months ago

I've been riding this trail since 1962

Nicely maintained but very rocky. Not difficult. Beautiful surroundings and vistas.

We did this trail mid October and the fall colors were spectacular! There were spots where the trial was not so clear, the sights were surely worth it. The falls and swimming holes looked so inviting and beautiful. I would suggest just keeping your eyes open for rock stacking, ribbon, and tree markers if you choose to do this hike.

2 months ago

Nice trail, steep incline in the beginning but if you’ve been hiking for a while, it wasn’t too bad. Lots of trail runners, watch out, if you get in their way, they get a little grouchy! More moderate than hard.

very hard hike but the feeling of accomplishment I had when I completed it!!! woohoo

2 months ago

I hiked on October 13th, 2018. We just had it right for the treat! Breath taking fall colors and stunning views of Lake Tahoe. I think this is one of the best views I have ever seen.

trail running
3 months ago

First & only trail run in Lake Tahoe and boy did I pick a good one. The first mile is nice little warm up and then it's awn! Get ready for a 1K hill climb for the next 3 miles going from 7200' to 8150'. The view of Marlette Lake at the top is very rewarding and picturesque. When you get to this lake stop to take it in and then get back on the trail with a sharp dog-leg turn on the left. After 6 miles you get to the damn and the trailhead sign for The Flume. Go straight past this sign, curve around to wooden bridge and then the trail spits you out the other side with breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe. Here's where you can get some speed (if you want), but I had to stop a couple times to get some pics. The view is just too good to only look down at the trail the whole time. 8.5 miles in is where they're doing construction on landslide repair (which is supposed to be done), but they let everyone pass once it was clear. At 10.4 miles you come to a junction. Go straight down to arrive at the bike shop & shuttle. Here's where you can turn it on and really crank out some speed. I was hitting low-to-sub 5's and it's some good speed trail running. Stay to the left and keep going down all the way to the parking lot, but when you pass a sign on the left with a left dog-leg turn, STAY STRAIGHT. Don't take that turn. It spits you out about a mile North of the bike shop, which is where you can get a shuttle ride back to your car at Spooner. This turned my 13-mile run into 14 miles, but at least it was flat ;-)

Great trail with good hills, spectacular views, and some good speed work. For an even tougher challenge take the Marlette Lake trail about a mile in on your left to drop you into the trail around Marlet Lake. NOTE: they were doing logging work when I was there and the Spooner trail around Spooner Lake was closed, but the trail to The Flume and Marlette Lake is open. Also remember to have $10 cash for parking at Spooner Lake Campground and $16 for the shuttle ride, but you can use a card at the bike shop for the shuttle. You may want to confirm the shuttle ride too before going to ensure you actually have a ride back b/c that's not always guaranteed.

The views were worth the trek! 4 miles up hill is no joke, but by the end you forget all about it!

6/8/18 - Stunning. Quite lovely trail with so much to see. We did not want to leave Fordyce Falls as it was so pretty and relaxing. Water was far too cold to swim in but our feet enjoyed a dip

Wonderful adventure! Gorgeous views & challenging.

on Training Hill

3 months ago


I’m a beginner hiker this year ramping up to bigger hikes with elevations. That said, I was hiking solo on this trail and after a couple miles I decided to head back due to lack of experience. Will try again when Someone else can join me.

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